I have, what some would say, a hot chocolate obsession.
Obsession might be a stretch but let’s just say that if I happen to go out somewhere, I am always checking the menu for hot chocolate.
Year round; not just when it is “acceptable” to drink it.
Trust me, when you order a hot cocoa in July, you get judging stares.
I honestly don’t know when it started.
I loved it as a child but not to the point where I was asking to go somewhere that has it on the menu every time we would go out for a meal.
I do this now all the time. Ask my family.
In fact, my husband and I are going on a day date to the city next week to a … wait for it … hot chocolate restaurant.
Yes, a place like that does exist,Virginia.
So, I figured I was ripe for the picking when it came to writing an article like this.
This was my Michelangelo!
My Jerry Maguire mission statement!
I was born to write this.
Here are 5-ish places to get a stellar cup of hot chocolate in Lake County.
You know, the county up north.
Yes, it is still in Illinois … geez.
If you live in Chicago, you have plenty of options when it comes to hot chocolate, including the aforementioned hot chocolate restaurant.
But not all the good places are saved for the city.
We are very lucky to have some amazing little places tucked in here and there that sell not only hot chocolate but freshly brewed coffee, sandwiches and desserts.
Such as brownies that will make you drool.
Or cookies that will make you throw your scale away.
My first stop on the Hot Cocoa Tour of 2014 is a place that, for years, I only shared with my inner circle.
As not to crowd the joint up a bit, I wanted to keep it my little secret.
But then other people blabbed about it and now it is a raging success with three locations in Grayslake alone.
Somethings Brewing has been a part of the Grayslake landscape for as long as I can remember.
My oldest and I used to go to the old downtown location and get their COLOSSAL cinnamon rolls after church.
Don’t look so surprised. Yes, I go to church.
When I don’t.
Their menu is huge.
Please download the menu before going.
But if you are in the mood for hot cocoa?
This is the place to go.
It’s like they took a chocolate bar and melted it into the cup.
Next time, I will just save them the cup and put my mouth under the machine.
Somethings Brewing has three locations in Grayslake. One at 1126 E. Washington Street across from CLC, another within CLC and one in downtown Grayslake at 82 E. Center Street.
Download their menu or call ahead and ask if there are any specials 847-543-1600.
My next stop on the hot chocolate tour is a little place tucked in next to the Libertyville train station called Mischief’s Cafe.
It used to be another coffee chain that rhymes with Peraboo.
It is a locally owned coffee and snack shop now and the ambiance alone will make you never want to leave.
I kept saying over and over to my teenager who was with me, “I just want to sit here all day and read.”
In fact, the ambiance was so relaxing, there was a man sleeping in the cozy arm chair next to the fire.
I even took a picture of him and my daughter inadvertantly photobombing him and texted it to my mom.
Who then laughed hysterically.
I guess you had to be there.
But the ambiance, THE AMBIANCE.
They offer coffee, a small menu and of course hot chocolate.
The hot chocolate was good but it was the atmosphere that will bring me back.
And I am praying the sleeping guy will be there when we go back, as well.
Let’s make that happen, Mischief Cafe.
Mischief’s Cafe is located at 725 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville, right next to the Metra station. Visit their online store or see if your favorite local musician is performing that week or call the cool chicks who own the store and tell them I am moving in. 847-367-7574.
If the line out the door is any indication, you know you are in for a good cup of something or other at Honey Hill Coffee Co. in Wauconda.
I don’t drink coffee … I know … I see it as a character flaw on my part.
So if I go into a place and the smell alone makes me want to convert?
I know it must be good.
The service is always friendly, which is big on my list because I love a place where I can gab it up with the person in charge of my yummies.
The hot chocolate is amazing here but don’t forget to try the coffee if that is your thang.
They also offer up daily items such as chocolate chip scones or frittata’s.
Check out their Facebook page or call them at 847-487-8484.
They are located at 107 S. Main Street in Wauconda, just down the street from my favorite pie place, so now you HAVE to go.
Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts
Here is why I said “five-ish” in the title.
I am going to get backlash for my last two.
I am prepared.
Changing my email address as I type this … just kidding. Kind of.
Whenever possible, I am all about giving my business to hometown small businesses.
But there are two big box places that do have some good hot chocolate.
Starbucks makes a mean cup of coffee, I am told but the real deal is their hot chocolate.
Get the Salted Caramel during the holidays and you will want to marry me.
Dunkin’ Donuts is another place that I hate to advertise for but love that sweet cup of all things hot and chocolate.
My favorite Starbucks location is in Round Lake Beach. It’s clean, cozy and friendly.
I don’t have a favorite Dunkin’ Donuts location, so hit the drive through.
The next time you are out driving around looking at Christmas lights, definitely stop at one of these great local businesses.
Or on a summer afternoon and you feel like pulling a Kari.
Repeat this: HOT CHOCOLATE CAN BE A YEAR ROUND BEVERAGE.