When the weather outside is frightful, nothing tastes better than a piping hot mug of hot chocolate. Fortunately, Chicago has several must-try spots.
The first on my list is the eponymous Hot Chocolate (1747 North Damen Avenue). Mindy Segal was right to name her restaurant after this delicious drink -- it's hard for me to get past it in and order anything else on the menu. You can customize your hot chocolate with eggnog or cinnamon, with shots of espresso or a hint of caramel, but it's always best with the scrumptious house made marshmallow. I do my best to make the marshmallow last, dipping it slowly into the hot chocolate and sucking the delicious drops of hot chocolate off of it. It may not be the prettiest way to drink a hot chocolate, but it makes me very, very happy! All drinks $6.
Rick Bayless is famous for elevating Mexican cuisine in Chicago, but he's worked his magic on these drinks, too. Stop by Xoco (449 North Clark Street) for a mug of thick, rich Champurrado or the Aztec -- a mix of chile, allspice, water and chocolate. These hot chocolates are as spicy as they are chocolate-y, and easily take the place of dessert. Drinks range from $2.75 to $3.25.
Bleeding Heart Bakery & Cafe(1916 W. Chicago Ave.) is famous for their outstanding baked goods. I like to order a spicy hot chocolate and dip pieces of a scone from their pastry case into it. It's an interesting place to sit and watch the bakers at work, the color-infused cafe, and the customers in line. All hot chocolate drinks are $3.75.
If you feel like making your own at home, you can always pick up drinking chocolate mixes from Vosges Haut Chocolate (520 N. Michigan Avenue) and pass them off as your own -- which may or may not be what I do for parties. It's easier than lugging that tasty goodness home in liquid form, but just as satisfying.
With options like these, heading out into Chicago's Winter doesn't seem so daunting. Enjoy!