The joy of being friends with foodies is that you'll never want for recommendations when you're looking for a particular dish. From breakfast tacos to hot pots, when I'm looking for something in particular in the city, I know I can count on my social media circle to point me in the right direction.
But whenever I ask for hot chocolate recommendations, my call goes unanswered. I know the drink isn't as popular as coffee, but it still seems bizarre to me that more people don't have a favorite hot chocolate spot, especially at this time of year. With National Hot Chocolate Day coming up on January 31—not to be confused with National Hot Cocoa Day, which was last month—I am here to share with you one of my favorite accidental discoveries in Houston.
Way down on Memorial, past the Loop, past the Beltway, just off Kirkwood, is a shopping center. Nestled in the middle of one of the buildings is Tree House, a craft coffee and frozen yogurt spot I stumbled upon in search for a place with great hot chocolate and free wifi. The space is cozy, with a mixture of open seating, a few tables and a pair of booths.
Like most coffee shops around town, they've got their takes on coffee, espresso and tea, but I was on a mission, and their artisan hot chocolate was on my radar. I placed my order then settled into one of the booths to work.
What was delivered to my table quickly became my hot chocolate of choice in the city. Made up of Ghana dark chocolate and steamed milk, the first surprise was that it wasn't served just below boiling. It was hot, yes, but I didn't feel like I was going to melt my mouth trying to enjoy it—too many places lean on the "hot" part of the name instead of the "chocolate." The dark chocolate had a rich flavor that was smooth and warm, but not like liquid candy.
I've had it multiple times since, and it always fills me with the warm glow that comes with good hot chocolate. Although my search continues far and wide for other cups to enjoy, for now it's the one I turn to when the temperature drops and the sun goes home early.