Chandeliers toss prisms of soft blue and gold about the cocoa-infused room. A red leather chair rests on the warm wooden floor below me, and the murmurs of other guests rise and fall with Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Rows of buttery fresh-made pastries wave from a glass case.
A black-clad waiter sets a tray with six tea cups onto the marble table. Four contain varying shades of thick chocolate, and the other two sit below mountains of whipped cream garnished with nutmeg.
My friends, Lizzie from Oregon, and Fahanny from Ecuador, my mother, Rebecca, and I reach for our orders of hot chocolate, eager to hold the floral cups in our hands after a full afternoon in New York’s January snowfall.