With the dreaded winter vortex hastily descending upon New York City, many have sought out warmth and comfort in the forms of a steaming cup of joe, soothing tea or nostalgic hot chocolate – anything to ease the edge that comes with the prospect of an extended frost. Below are two ways to spice or sweeten up those good ol’ classics, courtesy of Ron Prendimano, manager of Odradeks Coffee House in Queens, NY.
Odradeks Coffee House
86-20 Austin Street
Kew Gardens, Queens, NY 11415
Ron Predimano moved to New York City 10 years ago to attend the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). Over the last decade, he’s been pursuing an acting career and has even started performing stand-up comedy throughout the five boroughs. When he’s not hunting down auditions or cracking wise on stage, you can find him slinging the tastiest caffeine beverages east of Manhattan at Odradeks Coffee House in Kew Gardens.
“What makes this place so special, and the reason why I love working here, are the people,” Prendimano says. “I know them. They say hi to me on the streets, and they appreciate what we do here. We really try to use the best ingredients in every drink we make. We have literary readings here [and other events too]. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s a real coffee house.”
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Drop the simple syrup into your mug. In a sauce pan, mix the milk and chocolate and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate melts and the mix is steaming, pour into the mug, and add both the chili powder and salt. Stir once more. Apply an ample amount of whip cream on top and finish off with a dash of cinnamon.
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White Chocolate Gingerbread Latte
Drop the simple syrup into your mug. In a sauce pan, mix the milk and chocolate and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate melts and the mix is steaming, add the shot of espresso/strong coffee to the mix. Stir again, pour the mix into the mug, and stir once more.
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Coffee houses have industry grade steamers at their disposal, which keep the ingredients spinning. If you try to serve up these drinks at home, you’ll have to use a sauce pan to steam the milk and melt the chocolates, which is fine, just remember to keep the flame at a low heat and stir, stir, stir to prevent the ingredients from burning.
Add a little kick
As with the Mexican Hot Chocolate, the combination of hot liquid, chocolate aroma and sweet whip cream followed by a blast of chili powder warm your insides. Ron recommended adding even more chili powder to give the drink an increased bite. The same can be applied to the White Gingerbread Latte: feel free to add a double-shot of espresso or use a stronger coffee.
Matt Thomas has covered Manhattan’s music and arts beat since 2005. His stories and articles have appeared in The Village Voice, The Journal of American Culture, Word Riot, and many others. Read some of his other work on his blog (mattthomastown.wordpress.com) and Examiner.com.