Cobija—blanket—weather has officially started in Los Angeles and everyone is looking to warm up one way or another. Some warm up by picking up some of their favorite tamales, which serve as a great on-the-go meal and double as hand warmers for those working early in the mornings or late at night. And others are looking for a sweet hot drink that will heat things up with one sip. Drinks like champurrado, atole, and of course, chocolate are not only tasty, warm, and thick, but for many, they are a taste of home.
We rounded up the best places to find your favorite seasonal warm drinks throughout Los Angeles.
Gusto Bread may have been brought to our attention thanks to their invention of a radical sourdough concha that is made from a nearly all-organic base of flours, evaporated cane juice, eggs, and European Plugra butter. The dough is made and pre-fermented two days prior to being baked so at the end you get a perfectly moist concha. But today, the attraction is their frothy Xocolatl, a drinking chocolate with a hint of vanilla that is sure to warm up your days.
La Monarca Bakery is a staple in Los Angeles, and rightfully so: They have 12 different locations in the city. Locations where you can get a variety of handmade Mexican pan dulce, and cakes. They even have Rosca conchas for those who don’t want to wait for the día de Los Reyes festivities. But if you are looking for a velvety chocolate or champurrado to accompany your pan dulce, Monarca is where it’s at, offering their Mexican mocha made with chocolate Mexicano that is ground in-house with organic cacao beans and mixed with their custom blend of sugar and spices or their champurrado. The bakery also has a chocolate-making kit that you can order onlineto make your drink from the comfort of your home. It includes their shortbread cinnamon cookies, their chocolate, and a Molinillo, a traditional wood-turning tool to whisk your chocolate into a creamy consistency.
They also offer their holiday drinks as their Peppermint Mocha, with their house ganache made with bitter-sweet dark chocolate and infused with peppermint. It is served with their espresso, milk of your choice, and garnished with a crushed candy cane for the ultimate comfort treat.
Address: 5629 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Natural. Organic. Vegan. That is the motto of the Oaxacan-owned Grain Cafe. From their pumpkin waffles, wet burritos, or massive fiesta plate, you’ll want to accompany your meal with their unique moringa latte, which combines espresso, an alternative milk, and the medicinal superfood plant moringa.
Address: 4403 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814
Open: Monday through Thursday from 6 A.M. to 10 P.M. Friday & Saturday open till 11 A.M.
Although El Churros Panzón is known for its churro sundaes, which include a bed of freshly fried churros topped with scoops of your favorite flavored ice cream, they also specialize in none other than champurrado. Accompany their champurrado con un putazo, no not an actual smack to the face but more of a punch of flavor; it's a churro Gordo smothered in warm cajeta, a traditional dessert in Jalisco.
Address: 3832 Peck Rd El Monte 91732
Open: Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from 5 P.M. to- 9:30 P.M. and Saturday & Sunday from 4 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.
Guelaguetza has many things to offer, starting with their delicious Oaxacan food, but when the weather is cold you can't go wrong with their famous hot chocolate made with rich chocolate from Oaxaca. If you want something a bit “thicker” you may want to go with their options of atole made with 100% ground corn from Oaxaca, or for a combination of their hot drinks, try their champurrado made with masa and their superlatively frothy Oaxacan chocolate. They have dairy-free options.
Address: 3014 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles 90006
Open: Tuesday through Thursday from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M. and Friday through Saturday from 9 A.M. to 10 P.M. and Sunday from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. (Closed Mondays)
Now, this drink is not warm but will fill your inner child with joy, a chocomil in a bag. Made with milk, ice, cinnamon, galletas Maria, banana, and chocomil, this concoction is blended together into a smooth, and creamy drink served in a clear plastic bag just like they do in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the owners are from. While you are there, you have to try Don Abel’s warm churros, often served the traditional way with just sugar and cinnamon with optional dipping sauces, or maybe you’d like to pair your drink with some plátanos fritos drizzled with caramel. And if you’re lucky and you happen to go on a gloomy day you may find that they’re selling their champurrado de nuez. They do have seven different locations, so make sure to check out their Instagram for all available locations and items.
Open since 1973 El Aguila Bakery is home to some of the best handmade pan dulce in Los Angeles, with it being freshly baked every day. And you know that where there is freshly baked pan dulce not too far away will be a toasty cup of champurrado and El Aguila Bakery is no exception. Their champurrado is creamy and silky and pairs perfectly with their pan or tamales.
Address: 5028 Huntington Dr. S, Los Angeles, CA 90032
Now you may be asking yourself why one of L.A.’s favorite Tijuana-style taco stands is on this list. Well for a good reason; while Ah Carbón Tacos is known for its tacos, during the holiday season, you may be lucky enough to find them serving atole. Atole is a traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage of Mexican origin. In some cases, it’s a lot less sweet and not as thick as your traditional hot chocolate or champurrado. At Ah Carbon Tacos, they serve atole de galletas Maria, coco, and atole de nuez. It’s a treat that is not always found, so make sure to check their Instagram for their availability.
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