Drink of the Week: Hot Chocolate at Bittersweet Bakery, Kakao and Rue Lafayette

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We'd imagined that we would attend the Lafayette Square Holiday Parlour Tour, maybe even take advantage of their carriage rides in the park. We thought Rue Lafayette, the new coffee shop we've been hearing about, would be a lovely place to have a cappuccino and croissant beforehand. That didn't pan out, but we do stop in for a hot chocolate to-go on our way to a post-Christmas family gathering.

Rue Lafayette's version, made with Ghirardelli syrup and steamed milk, looks pretty typical until our barista asks if we want whipped cream. We do indeed. She pulls a plastic-wrapped metal container out of the cooler and plops a spoonful into our drink. We are pleased to see the real deal and not the spray-can stuff. She goes in for a second spoonful, and we are more pleased still. When she drops in a third heaping spoonful, even we are growing concerned that this may be excessive. The result is creamy and sweet, with a frothy texture and a mild chocolaty-ness.

Then we are eastward bound into the belly of this unexpected snowstorm, the hilly, curvy country roads already covered by several inches. Occasionally, we peel one hand from its death grip on the steering wheel long enough to take a soothing sip of our hot chocolate. We are so soothed, in fact, that after piloting our car into a shallow ditch by the side of the road, when one of our passengers points out that we failed to "pump the brakes," we manage to refrain from suggesting that he get out and walk the rest of the way.

Alicia Lohmar is a south-city dweller and accomplished drinker, to which she credits her German ancestry and Catholic upbringing.

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