As a follow-up from yesterday’s heavy post, I did want to thank those of you who reached out. I really appreciate all of the warm thoughts and prayers you guys are offering up on behalf of Kourtney’s family and friends, and know others share that gratitude as well.
Today, I definitely felt the urge to lighten the mood, so I’ll move forward with that coffee shop review I mentioned yesterday… A while back, my friend and I met for espresso at Cafe Grumpy: a local coffee shop in Chelsea that’s been around for a few years. Lena Dunham’s Girls’ character works (did work? I’m not caught up) at the Green Point location. Since I’m nowhere near cool enough for Brooklyn, I decided to see what my work neighborhood’s location had to offer.
I didn’t photograph the latte art or take any fancy shots of the chill ambiance because I am the worst ever, but the feeling of “cool” definitely plagued the air. Maybe that was because we got seats by the ill-shutting door and it was eight degrees outside? I’d settle for an even mix of both.
The latte was strong, the coffee was smooth, and I ordered something titled a “jalapeño cheddar biscuit” that was the size of my extended hand (because how could you not?) that absolutely changed my life. Other than that, I think it’s simultaneously cool and sort of silly that they don’t have wifi. Cool for fostering an un-plugged atmosphere of socialization and relaxation/uncool for the obvious reason that the wiffy (Nick Miller’s pronunciation, heyyyy New Girl fans) being kind of THE thing niche coffee shops have going for them.
I’m kind of a sucker for a fine selection of coffees and freshly baked pastries, so the fact each Cafe Grumpy location offers both is huge. Overall, it was nice experience, and I’d go back for more of those jalapeño cheddar pieces of heaven alone.
Last week, a friend told me about a new-ish donut shop that opened up a few streets over from my apartment. It was allegedly getting rave reviews, and was known for its huge, doughy pastries PLUS it serves the smoothest coffee this side of the Hudson: Blue Bottle. He didn’t have to say much more to convince me to check it out on my day off.
Dough Loco is located in a small hole-in-the-wall hipster shop on Park and 97th. I went in the early afternoon on a Thursday and it was dead — literally zero customers inside — which should have been awesome… except they didn’t have wi-fi and the guy behind the counter was giving off some awkward vibes, so I decided to indulge in my fit of gluttony in Central Park.
The donuts I decided to try were the Maple Miso, per all of awesome the Yelp reviews I read, and the Raspberry Sriracha because HELLO, RASPBERRY SRIRACHA?!?! Also, the Yelp reviews were all “they’re SO big — there’s no way any normal sized person could eat more than one — really even an entire donut!” Needless to say I ate both, fulfilling my need to constantly affirm my impending obesity. They were big, doughy, just the right amount of sweet, and ever so satisfying. The Maple Miso was fine — really just tasted like a regular sweet donut to me. The Raspberry Sriracha, as the name obviously suggests, is where it’s AT. The Yelp reviews also foiled me into thinking it was going to be heavy on the raspberry flavor and light on the spiciness of the hot sauce — not the case. I got a fun little kick with each bite, and wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best donut I’ve ever tasted. [Disclaimer: I’m not a donut enthusiast, so keep it in your pants, Doughnut Plant obsessives.] Regardless, Dough Loco is a great, trendy addition to the UES/East Harlem hoods, and I’ll definitely be back.
Every day calls for coffee, but some days, you just need a latte. And not a fake, sugar-filled, 7-11 style “Skinny Cow Mocha” that comes out of a push-spout on a “coffee” machine, but real espresso poured over steamed and foamed milk. Enter Sullivan Street Bakery.
SSB is actually known for their no-knead bread, from which they make excellent pastries, pizzas, and loaves of all shapes and sizes. I wasn’t very hungry so I stuck with the drink and some fancy-sounding pastry with a name I didn’t know how to correctly pronounce. While the pastry was sweeter and smaller than what I had hoped, the dough didn’t disappoint. Being a former barista myself, I was also able to appreciate the latte art and the over-looked essence of being able to sit down, relax, and slowly sip the steamed beverage.
That snack cost me just under $10, and while I expected to pay more for that than something comparable at Dunkin’ Donuts, I thought it was a little much for such a small lunch. Regardless, the experience of sitting in a corner of a cutesy bakery sipping on an overpriced, frilly drink while reading that morning’s AM New York (something’s gotta give) was just what I needed. I visited the Chelsea location, but Jim Lahey also owns another (the main) SSB location in Hell’s Kitchen and a renowned pizza restaurant, Co., also in Chelsea.