New York, Espresso, Eats, et al

I’ve been absent, lost in New York. No not really, it was Robin’s 27th birthday and we were there for her grandmothers 85th. This was our best trip to New York yet. While we hammed it up on Long Island (Hicksville) with the family half the time, the other half was spent travelling for good espresso, eats, and a show.

_Never leave home with out it_. No not [AMEX](, Coffee. You just never know where you’re gonna get a good cup. We brought a few pounds of [Counter Culture Coffee]( with us to share and live off of. We were all a bit curious if airport security would like it, guess us having it in NY says they didn’t mind. Bill kept it in their studio-hotel room and dished us grounds or brought us coffee to go in the morning. What a guy.

We learned through [Victrola]( that they were supporting a new outfit called [Cafe Grumpy]( that had both their espresso _AND_ was using the second [Synesso Cyncra]( on the East Coast. I had to visit. Had to. I don’t know when I’ll get up to [Murky Coffee]( to hang with Nick and their babies so this was a golden opportunity. When we got there the owners Chris & Caroline, and friends, warmly greeted us and gave us the tour of their growing establishment. They have a very warm long space which will serve their gallery/studio crowd well. Even being admittedly short on experience to coffee they had been trained by some very knowledgeable folk who must have done a great job because the four cappa’s we orderd we’re _faaaaantastic_. They then graciously allowed me behind the counter to monkey around on their cyncra which was a beautiful stainless steel battle tank of a machine. I even got to pull a few shots and build my own cappuccino which to my chagrin was on time and tasted great. I really look forward to having one of these in the shop. Chris and Caroline are great owners. They knew that there wasn’t enough quality coffee and they are bringing it on strong to the Brooklyn area. I look forward to watching them grow and hopefully they’ll come down for the SCAA.

On other coffee fronts we came with the recommendation, and were further encouraged by the Grumpies to visit [9th Street Espresso]( in the Village. After some plotting we found our way there and enjoyed breakfast crossiants as well as a few cappuccino and macchiato. These guys rock it out as well using a pretty red Faema E61 machine. Their espresso was of the darker varietals giving me thoughts of dark brown sugar, molasses, roasty goodness. Trying not to forget to pick up things from places I like, I grabbed a t-shirt and gave many thanks to the barista. I add my voice to those before me; if you are in the area check these guys out as well. You will not be dissapointed.

We had some good eats this round as well. We printed up some lists of places near Time Square & Broadway, as well as a few celebrity chef places to try and check out. We ended up eating at Mama Foo’s, a nice fusion of asian foods. We pigged out with Robin’s sister & husband, Melinda & Jason. Their food was very good. Perfect portions and great ingredients made these dishes stand out. Imbibing a few bottles of sake for winter protection we were out of there right before our tables next reservation was called.

The celebrity restaurant we visited was Mario Battalli’s Casa Mono. A very tiny place near Union Square that served food tapas style. We worked on building a nice little meal out of pumpkin & goatcheese croquets, mussels w/ angelhair & chorizo, skirt steak served on a pimento sauce topped with carmelized red onions and a little plate of roasted artichoke hearts. Absolutly phenomenal. We left with our bellies not overstuffed but our palate sure was. The dancing of flavors brought out by their top-shelf chefs still makes my mouth water. It’s a little pricy but everyone deserves this kind of stuff every once and a while and for Robin’s birthday, fugettaboutit.

Our last thing we booked in advance was Beauty and the Beast. The Ciordia family is very connected to our long time friends the Browns. Their daughter Ashley is currently playing Belle on broadway and we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see someone we knew on stage. She did not dissapoint either. With a voice that makes your skin tingle; she put on a beautiful display. We’ll be seeing a lot out of her I’m sure. The play as a whole was great as well. Somehow I had escaped ever seeing the Disney movie and only really knew the fable.

Walking the streets of New York, riding the train out through the island I am always awestruck by how many souls live in this place. Everyone needs to get to NYC some time to grasp what it is to have so many people so close together. It makes for an amazing dynamic experience.