Mindy's Hot Chocolate

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Much-lauded pastry chef Mindy Segal is behind this casual, chocolate-hued cafe in Bucktown where it's as common for folks to come just for dessert as to stop in for dinner. Look for signature creations such as her celebrated Chocolate No. 1, a chocolate-caramel composition completed with a house-made pretzel, as well as seasonal selections. Milkshakes and several varieties of hot chocolate (of course) are available too. The savory side of the menu includes everything from sophisticated small plates to heartier seasonal entrees to a killer burger. Weekend brunch, which features Segal's pastries and sweets (don't miss the house-made doughnuts) alongside savories such as scrambles, quiche and several excellent breakfast sandwiches, is among the most popular in town. Hot Chocolate's bar, which is not a bad seating option if the wait for a table is intimidating, as it often is, serves hand-crafted cocktails, wine and a small but thoughtful beer list.