the cocoa chronicles chapter three

December 16, 2011  |   column: DELIBERATE POLISH

we’re concluding our sweet series with a trip uptown to our favorite spots on the upper east and west sides.

alice’s tea cup

156 east 64th street

we ordered: hot chocolate

we love it for: the frothy whipped cream star, accented with festive sprinkles (in multi, of course)

this two-story tea shop is a new york institution with “chapters” on the east and west sides. while most famous for their teas and selection of homemade scones, we thought we’d give their hot chocolate a try. rich and creamy, it arrived in an oversized mug (the better to get our money’s worth) and was topped with a tasty whipped cream star, covered in cheerful sprinkles. we noticed the pint-sized guests among us were given wings and “fairy dust” at the door. while this is definitely a shop that caters to the stroller set, we gave their hot chocolate two thumbs up.


jacques torres

285 amsterdam avenue

we ordered: the wicked hot chocolate and the classic hot chocolate with caramel

we love it for: the bevy of cookies, truffles and treats available for purchase

the eponymous shop of chocolatier jacques torres offers handcrafted chocolates of every variety. of particular note is the over-the-top decadent hot cocoa. available in two flavors (traditional classic and spicy wicked), you can customize your drink by adding caramel, peanut butter or orange for an extra kick. this cocoa is not for the faint of heart. we asked for smalls and were unable to finish (to be fair, we also ordered a hot chocolate chip cookie—the perfect cocoa accompaniment). this was probably the richest cocoa we’ve tried. we’d like to meet the person who could finish a full-size cup.


shake shack

366 columbus avenue

we ordered: malted hot chocolate

we love it for: the quick grab-and-go scene, centrally located between the natural history museum and the greenflea market

danny meyer’s modern day “burger stand” made its way to the upper west side a few years ago. we’ve spent many a summer friday at the madison square park outpost, ordering juicy shackburgers and frozen custard—but this was the first time we tried their hot cocoa. we’ll admit to having slightly lowered expectations (it’s a burger joint, after all), but the hot chocolate did not disappoint. the malt powder made for a thick, creamy consistency and the chocolate tasted milky without being oversweet. we took our cups to the museum of natural history across the street and people-watched from a bench in the park. all in all, a cocoa (and an experience) that’s definitely worth repeating.

Filed under: deliberate polish