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Fireside Hot Chocolate
Tower Cafe is a Land Park landmark known for its dizzying global tour of cuisine styles, as well as its knack for elevating staples—what kidult doesn’t love the restaurant’s signature custard-soaked French toast?—to cult status. With that in mind, cast aside your fondest memories of Nestlé Quik when you sample the Fireside Hot Chocolate, because this smoldering cup of sultry, spicy, velvety liquid is as exotic and elegant an interpretation of the classic beverage as you are likely to encounter this side of 30 going on 13.
Assistant GM Ruben Reveles, whose family hails from Mexico, looked to his own childhood for inspiration, stirring pieces of cinnamon-tinged Ibarra chocolate from Guadalajara into warm milk to give the beverage its distinctly south-of-the-border taste profile. “[In our culture], our moms and grandmas would make Mexican hot chocolate for us in the wintertime,” he says. “We remember that flavor.” But then the recipe takes a turn toward Europe, adding a shot of Salizá amaretto, a uniquely Italian almond liqueur. Afterward, it’s back to Latin America for a thick whipped topping of cinnamon cream and a delicate dusting of scratch-made chili powder. Needless to say, we’re diehard fans of this world cup. $9. 1518 Broadway. 916-441-0222. towercafe.com —C.Y.