Best Hot Chocolate - 2011
La Oaxaqueña's hot chocolate is made from blocks of chocolate the owner, Albino Carreno, hauls back from Oaxaca City or Ocotlán on his regular sourcing trips. The 20-pound blocks of cacao de Oaxaca get pulverized in the kitchen, then mixed with ground almonds and cinnamon. The chocolate is dissolved in milk to order, then heated and frothed with the steam wand of the espresso machine — not the brooding, bittersweet sort of chocolate you sip like strong coffee, but something light and milky, all cinnamon perfume and a delicious toffee sweetness we suspect comes from the raw sugar in the cacao block. And for an extra 35 cents, you can get it spiked with guajillo chile powder, invigorating in a way that makes the insides of the lips sting.