Where to Find NYC’s Best Hot Chocolate

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Winter has arrived, which means it’s hot chocolate season. But don’t waste your time sipping an inferior cup: head to a place that serves some of NYC’s best hot chocolate. (There are many!) From classic with oversized marshmallows, to thick and rich or flavored, NYC has a hot chocolate for every kind of kid (and adult). Get cozy this winter at one of our many favorite hot cocoa spots in NYC!

La Maison du Chocolat

La Maison du Chocolat isn’t cheap, but if you’re up for a slight splurge this French chocolatier is one of the best. The hot chocolate is everything you hope a cup would be: silky, rich and perfectly sweet. The luxurious taste may not be one to get every day, but for a special occasion with your little ones this is sure to satisfy your wildest hot chocolate dreams.

30 Rockefeller Plaza
Midtown West
212-265-9404
Online: lamaisonduchocolat.us

photo: Serendipity3

Serendipity3

Yes, it's a bit of an oxymoron, but people have been making a pilgrimage to the Upper East Side for Serendipity3's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate for a few decades now. Recently reopened, everything about Serendipity3 is a little extra: the decor (stained-glass lamps, disco balls, puppet of Andy Warhol—a fan—suspended from the ceiling), the menu, giant both literally and figuratively, and the food. Make a reservation before heading over. 

225 E. 60th St. 
Upper East Side
212-838-3531
Online: serendipity3.com

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

Stellar hot chocolate is just one of the reasons to visit this Soho chocolate shop. It's also famous for its handmade chocolate mice and penguins; see how they make them here. Come back in the summer for a rich and refreshing chocolate frappé.

156 Prince St. 
Soho
212-796-0143
Online: burdickchocolate.com

Max Brenner

One of our picks for the best theme restaurants in NYC, Max Brenner is dedicated to all things chocolate, including hot chocolate. (They have a full food menu as well.) Pick from dark, milk, or white hot chocolate, or one of the many flavored options, such as Mexican spicy hot chocolate, Oreo, peanut butter, or the "Italian Thick", melted blocks of chocolate with fresh vanilla cream. You can get all of these to go, but sipping there means you get to experience the signature Max Brenner "hug mug", shown here. Reservations are recommended. 

841 Broadway
Union Square
646-467-8803
Online: maxbrenner.us

720 Seventh Ave.
Times Square 

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

A longtime favorite spot for locals, tourists and film scouts (this place looks like an old school soda fountain and ice cream parlor) Brooklyn Farmacy serves a classic cup of cocoa several ways. Options include oat milk hot chocolate, hot chocolate topped with whipped cream or house-made toasted marshmallow fluff, or the delectable salty caramel hot chocolate. Love it? You can buy a tin of it to bring home and make it yourself. Brooklyn Farmacy is closed Tuesdays. 

513 Henry St. 
Carroll Gardens 
718-522-6260
Online: brooklynfarmacyandsodafountain.com

MarieBelle

It's not cheap and it’s not basic, but for a fancy outing with a child with discriminating tastes, SoHo shop MarieBelle is worth a trip. Antique furnishings and sparkling chandeliers complement fine chocolates of all kinds and a hot chocolate the store describes as "thick and decadent." Choose from a menu with variations such as Aztec (an "Oprah's Favorite Thing"), spicy, Tahitian Vanilla, white chocolate and even hot chocolate with natural banana pulp. A refined menu of cafe bites such as quiche, soup and crepes offers light eating options.

MarieBelle
484 Broome St.
SoHo
212-925-6999
Online: mariebelle.com

Jacques Torres

Before he became a television star alongside Nicole Byer on Nailed It! Jacques Torres was (and still is) “Mr. Chocolate." Unhappy with the quality of chocolate that was available to him while working as a pastry chef, Jacques Torres constructed his own factory so he could make chocolate exactly the way he wanted from scratch. Try a cup of Classic, made from real chocolate, not powder. Or if you're more daring, go for the Wicked, with its extra kick of allspice, cinnamon and ground chili peppers. Both varieties are so thick they might be mistaken for milkshakes. Tip: They’ll let you try a little sample before you choose your cup. And FYI, JT also sells a Hot Chocolate Gift Set.

Jacques Torres Chocolate
66 Water St.
DUMBO
718-875-1269
Online: mrchocolate.com

285 Amsterdam
Upper West Side 
212-787-3256
Online: mrchocolate.com

Grand Central Terminal
Lexington Passageway
107 East 42nd St.
Midtown
929-427-0988
Online: mrchocolate.com

Bibble & Sip

The house-made hot chocolate at Bibble & Sip tastes like something just lifted from your grandmother’s stove. Even the marshmallow floating on top is homemade. This family-run business specializes in gourmet coffee, espresso and pastries, made in the French Confectionery tradition and inspired by Asian flavors. Good to know: the word “bibble” means “to eat indulgently”—so order up some sweet treats with your cocoa and coffee.  

Bibble & Sip
253 West 51st St.
Midtown West
646-649-5116
Online: bibbleandsip.com

The Chocolate Room

The Chocolate Room is known for all of its outstanding chocolate products, but the Dark Hot Cocoa is our favorite. Made with 61% Belgian chocolate, it is one of the cafe's most popular drinks. Obviously, this is a good choice for chocolate-lovers; pair a cup with the brownie sundae or the chocolate pudding. 

The Chocolate Room
269 Court St.
Cobble Hill
718-246-2600
Online: thechocolateroombrooklyn.com

feature photo: Mehkt via Unsplash

—Danielle Krupa & Ilyssa Smith

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Just Opened: Vegan Phenom Next Level Burger

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The new vegan kid on the Brooklyn block is officially open. Welcome, Next Level Burger (NLB), a vegan burger joint that just opened its first east coast location.  With five stores already operating in California, Oregon and Washington, the sixth and newest location touched down in Brooklyn. From fries to shakes, and of course burgers, NLB offers something for everyone. It’s healthy, family-friendly food that you can get in a hurry. What’s not to love about that!? We stopped by for a taste.

photo: Next Level Burger 

Healthy Goodness
Recognized as America’s first 100-percent plant-based burger chain, Next Level Burger really does take it to the next level. We sampled the goods and it’s safe to say this spot is going to be a hit. All 100% vegan, non-GMO, and organic, with plenty of gluten-free options, the food at NLB tastes as good as it is for you.

photo: Next Level Burger

Food for All
NLB prides itself as an all-inclusive atmosphere that offers guests from all walks of life healthy alternatives to the norm. With something for everyone, kids’ menu included, the food is flavor-packed and somewhat guilt-free (we’re looking at you, milkshakes!). Burger standouts are the Signature burger – a mushroom-quinoa patty topped with avocado, cheddar or Swiss style cheese and a garlic thyme mayo, and a Special Sauce burger that is a MUCH healthier spin on the double stacked burger at that place with the yellow arches. Also topping the list are a Chili Chz Hot Dog, fries (sweet or crinkle), tater tots, and a Cobb salad topped with tempeh bacon, herbed tofu and a ‘blue cheese’ dressing. And of course there are those dairy-free milkshakes, from chocolate peanut butter cup to cookies n’ cream to an orange cream, they are so good and so decadent, you will certainly question how they did it.

photo: Next Level Burger 

Where to take it to the Next Level
Taking the kids to a game at Barclays? NLB is just a 2-minute walk away. Part of the new Ashland Place development, NLB is inside Whole Foods Market 365 (an affordable offshoot of Whole Foods). The 35-story tower next to the Brooklyn Academy of Music also houses an Apple store and a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Also close by, Fort Greene Park, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and every major subway line.

Good to know: NLB opens at 11 a.m., 7 days a week and offers a breakfast menu.

Have you tried a Next Level Burger? Tell us what you think in the comments! 

—Danielle Krupa

Next Level Burger
292 Ashland Pl.
Fort Greene
718-290-1010
Online: nextlevelburger.com

Vegans Rejoice: 8 New & Noteworthy Spots to Eat

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It’s a great time to be a vegan in New York City. From restaurants to cafés to food halls, meat-free eateries are popping up everywhere. And long gone are the days of brown rice and steamed vegetables. Today you can get vegan versions of Southern comfort food, traditional Mexican fare and even fast food burgers. Even better? They’ve got your little ones’ taste buds covered. Hello, mac ‘n’ cheese! All vegan, all family-friendly, all delicious. Click through to check out the city’s newest and greatest vegan restaurants and cafés.

Le Botaniste

Le Botaniste is a new project from the owner of the beloved New York City chain Le Pain Quotidien; in fact, the space itself was converted from an LPQ. It has the same elegant and simple feel as its predecessor with an added cool, polished apothecary vibe. In the front room, where you order and pay, there are colorful pots filled with readymade vegan fare. All you have to do is assemble it to your liking - great for kiddos whose likes change daily! Some standouts are the spring rolls, sushi, DIY bowls and noodle soup. Delicious plant-based organic food served in a warm and inviting atmosphere that won’t break the bank. Who doesn’t love that? <strong>Good to know:</strong> Atmosphere is causal and comfortable, no need to dress up here. Le Botaniste 833 Lexington Ave. Upper East Side 917- 262-0766 Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://lebotaniste.us">lebotaniste.us</a&gt; <em>photo: <a target="_blank" href="https://www.facebook.com/LeBotanisteNY/photos/a.818834381614887.1073741832.574856709345990/818834544948204/?type=3&amp;theater">Le Botaniste</a> Facebook page </em>fuck

What’s your favorite family-friendly vegan restaurant in NYC? Let us know in the comments below!

— Danielle Krupa