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universitylad Jan 29th, 2011 01:46 PM

NYC: Hot chocolate (Thick Mexican/Spanish Style) and Microbrew
I'll be NYC (New York City) next weekend during the Winter and looking for some great places to experience.

I'm thinking it would be great to stop a for thick Spanish/Mexican style hot chocolate and/or a microbrewery for some great microbrew.

I will be staying on the Upper West side, but will be in other areas of Manhattan and would enjoy exploring too.

What are your favourite places for;




I'll there over Sunday night and into Monday morning. What are some great things to do on a Sunday afternoon and Monday morning before flying out of LGA. So far I have dinner on Saturday, Comedy Club Saturday night, Sunday Brunch followed by a broadway Matinee. I enjoy architectural tours, great coffee shops, bookstores, art museums, movies.

ggreen Jan 29th, 2011 02:08 PM

With your interests, you could fill up a lot more than the few days you have in NYC! Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

For amazing hot chocolate, I always recommend Jacques Torres ( He's got two locations, one in DUMBO in Brooklyn - combine with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge - and one on Hudson Street in the West Village. He's especially well-known for his Wicked hot chocolate, nice and spicy!

If you're near NYU during your time in NYC, look for one of the Think coffee shops - but be forewarned that seating is often limited by the laptop crowd! I also really like the coffee and other beverages at Joe the Art of Coffee, with several locations around town including one in Grand Central.

Speaking of GC, for architecture, you can do a self-tour of the beautifully renovated terminal; there's info on their website. The Skyscraper Museum in the financial district is a good one. And I highly recommend Big Onion Walking Tours - maybe they have one specifically related to architecture?

Aduchamp1 Jan 29th, 2011 02:59 PM

Besides Jacques Torres, City Bakery usually has a hot chocolate festival during February. They also make exceptional croissants and other pastries and the place gets quite crowded during the week and weekends.

For brunch-Clinton Street Bakery but it is a zoo on weekends and its scones and biscuits are among the best in the city. Other brunch spots include Five Points and Blue Ribbon Bakery

If you want to bring some coffee home, Porto Rico has an excellent selection. One in the East Village, one in the West.

If you get secure a copy of the AIA Guide to New York, it will provide detailed and interesting information reagrding architecture in NYC. It is a tome however,

Mara Jan 29th, 2011 03:32 PM

Jacques Torres also has a shop in the Chelsea Market (9th Ave. near 15th St.) - went there with a Japanese friend the other day - she was the one showing me around... ;-)
Anyway, the spicy hot chocolate, not sure of the real name, was wonderful....

spring212 Jan 29th, 2011 07:42 PM

Jacques Torres sure gets around. He also has a place on the Upper West Side - Amsterdam Ave. near 73rd St.

ggreen Jan 29th, 2011 11:22 PM

Jacques Torres chocolates are sold in a lot of places, and he has some outpost shops. But the two places where the chocolate is made - and where you can watch the process - are the ones I mentioned on Hudson St and in DUMBO.

universitylad, as for microbrews are you looking for a brew pub, or just a place with a lot of beers on offer? I can help with the latter more than the former! However, IMO the best places are in Brooklyn, which may be a bit of a stretch given where you're staying and the brief length of your stay! Which comedy club will you be going to on Saturday?

Bowsprit Jan 30th, 2011 01:24 AM

It's worth the walk or ride over the bridge to Brooklyn:

Another choice: Not a micro-brewery, but The Blind Tiger in the West Village has some good craft beers.

universitylad Jan 30th, 2011 05:20 AM

@ggreen: Doesn't have to be a brew pub, just looking for some place with a lot of good beers on offer.

On Saturday, I have tickets for the comedy musical "Baby Wants Candy" at the SOHO Playhouse. I was thinking it may be fun to do another comedy club on Sunday, if there is time. Do you have other comedy recs? It may be difficult as the SuperBowl is that Sunday.

Aduchamp1 Jan 30th, 2011 06:17 AM

Do you have other comedy recs? It may be difficult as the SuperBowl is that Sunday.


Why do think there will a chicken wing shortage?

You should check Time Out New York to see who is playing at the comedy clubs because tastes vary dramatically. There are the three people who like Carrottop and those who like Lewis Black.

SakuraSakura Jan 30th, 2011 09:53 AM

Looks like Jacques Torres's coming soon to Rockefeller too, Godiva's gone now. But, we have seen "coming soon" sign for a while so not really sure when. Once opens, right near the entrance of Top of the Rock.

Blind Tiger is a great place! I'm not a beer person but enjoy framboise lambic beer.

For microbrew beers, how about Heartland?

Great bookstore. Definitely go for Mcnally Jackson.

mclaurie Jan 31st, 2011 07:26 AM

For spicy hot chocolate on the UWS, try Bomboloni
If you're willing to travel, I think Mariebelle is the best.

Stand up NY is a comedy club on the UWS.

I think a movie is your best bet during the superbowl or maybe some off broadway. is one website to see what's playing at the movies. For off broadway, you might see if anything at Lincoln Center interests you.

ggreen Feb 2nd, 2011 08:25 AM

Hi ul - I just saw this blog post and thought of your microbrew request. :)

It cites Blind Tiger, as well as Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, rather closer to your UWS lodgings. (Lots of good eats in Hell's Kitchen too, and close to the Theater District.)

If you do want to see any of the Superbowl hoopla, if I get back to the city in time, I'll be at Mercury Bar, also in Hell's Kitchen. (To be honest, I barely know the first thing about the game! But that's not really the point now is it?)

Newsie Feb 2nd, 2011 12:22 PM

I'm a huge Hot Chocolate fan. I could make several suggestions:

For a Mexican hot chocolate, go to Five Points, Cookshop or Hundred Acres -- they're all owned by the same restaurant group and have (more or less) the same brunch menu. Their hot chocolate is Mexican-style (with cinnamon and hot pepper), but a little sweet for my taste.

My favorite hot chocolate in New York is far and away MarieBelle on Broome Street in SoHo, just East of West Broadway. Their dark hot chocolate, when made well, is unbelievable. They also make an "Aztec" hot chocolate, which is spicy and not as dark. It's so rich, I usually just order a demi tasse. And their cafe area, in the back of the store, is pleasant.

Also in SoHo: Vosges on Spring between Greene and Wooster. Vosges specializes in combining unusual flavors with their chocolate, creating exotic contemporary twists on this otherwise classic treat. They, too, have an "Aztec".

As mentioned in earlier posts, Jacques Torres is located on the edge of SoHo. He makes a "Wicked" flavor, which is spicy, although I still prefer his "classic". My wife and I usually split a small between us. Be sure to ask for whipped cream -- it's made fresh, not from a can.

North of SoHo, as mentioned, is City Bakery, on 18th Street just East of Fifth Avenue. Their Hot Chocolate Festival in Frebruary features a different flavor of hot chocolate every day (or, at least, on the weekend). Basically, they just add flavor to their base. Their hot chocolate is made with half and half, so it's very rich and not necessarily a "drinking chocolate".

Better yet is the recently opened Boston-based store, L.A. Burdick, on 20th between Fifth Avenue and Broadway. What I love about this place is that they offer several single source drinking chocolates from places like Columbia, Equador and Guatemala. They also really know their chocolate and the staff is personable and friendly.

The other big foodie trend in New York are the food trucks. Van Leeuwen, which is mostly a home made ice cream truck, also serves a hot chocolate made from Michel Cluizel chocolate. The quality varies, though, based on who is making it. I've had it when it's excellent, and other times when it was almost tasteless. They have a Web site and Twitter feed, both of which tell you where to find the truck on a given day.

There's also a Michel Cluizel store on Fifth Avenue between 47th & 48th Streets that serves a hot chocolate which is good (not great, but good).

Uptown, on the Upper East Side near the Whitney Museum is an Italian cafe/restaurant on 73rd Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue called Via Quadronno. They have an excellent, very rich hot chocolate. I've gone out of my way to stop off here, and highly recommend it. Their food is good, too.

Finally, Financier Patisserie, the cafe chain that began on Stone Street in the Financial District but now has several locations around Manhattan, has a pretty good hot chocolate. Make sure they add enough cocoa.

And so ends my Hot Chocolate tour of Manhattan. Hope this helps!

Aduchamp1 Feb 2nd, 2011 12:53 PM


You certainly a hot chocolate expert. Did you ever have the hot chocolate at Australia, the mini ice cream chain? They would take chocolate ice cream add some milk and melt it with the steam attachment of the cappuccino machine. Silky.

But I think they are closed now.

Newsie Feb 3rd, 2011 09:03 AM

@Aduchamp1 No, I never did, but it sounds dreamy. However, you just reminded me that Grom Gelato, which has several locations in Manhattan (the one I'm most familiar with is at Sixth Avenue and Bleeker Street), makes a hot chocolate by, essentially, melting it's chocolate gelato. I've had their chocolate gelato and it's phenomenal, so the hot chocolate is probably pretty good. Their gelato is flown in from Italy daily (or, so they claim).

Aduchamp1 Feb 3rd, 2011 01:07 PM

Grom is very good and also expenisve, even for gelati. The first one was on the Upper West Side and I think they opened one by Columbus Circle.

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