Saturday, April 9, 2011
4987 Huntington Dr N
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Listing on Yelp
Listing on Urbanspoon
Whenever I read about the history of chocolate and how precious it was to the Mayans (notice the picture in that Wikipedia article of a Mayan chief forbidding a common person from touching a jar of chocolate) and others I often imagine going back in time to imbibe some of it and see if it's better than the hot chocolate I have from time to time in 21st century USA. But short of having a time machine I'm clearly never going to be able to do that.
However, the folks at the newish Xokolatl Cafe bring us the next closest thing: several hot chocolate drinks made with real Mayan cacao beans and spices and sometimes other ingredients such as maca, pinole and aguamiel. Don't worry about the spice in the hot chocolate burning your mouth. All it really does is round out the flavor but you can get it without spices if you choose. With hot chocolate this good I'd fight others away from my jar of it too. Fortunately there's enough to go around. (In the interest of full disclosure they did comp the one cup of hot chocolate I had while there.)
They also have food items such as sandwiches, soups, salads and pastries and will expand their food offerings as the business grows.
Not only does Xokolatl Cafe serve great food but they also support the nearby Semillas School. "As a social enterprise, the mission of Xokolatl Café is to benefit the children of Semillas Community Schools by organizing a venue for community self-reliance, cultural regeneration and community building."
Also according to their site, "Xokolatl Café is a place to learn about indigenous culture and a stimulating international intellectual space." I found that to be true as I talked with one of their employees, Gustavo, who was a great conversationalist and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the business and how what they do relates to the parent culture in Mexico. Other customers found it a great spot to try some of the treats and bust out their laptops and get some homework done.
If Xokolatl Cafe starts expanding I'd say, "Move over, Starbucks." But even if it doesn't expand it still has far more soul than Starbucks.