5 Best Things I Ate (Drank?): Manhattan Coffee Shops

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I haven’t a clue how I’m going to make this series work for all of the things there are to eat and drink in New York City, but I’ll try. Starting with the caffeine here of course, because once you go cute coffee shops, you never go back.


Black Cat LES

Where to find: 172 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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Coffee shops are not rare on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This one, however, is home to my favorite iced latte. Black Cat is a funky hole-in-the-wall that sits pretty deep on Rivington Street. It’s a little warm inside, which makes it perfect for a chilly day. If it’s too hot, go in anyway, and check out all of their décor. Look up too- all of the fun quotes and writing reaches the ceiling.


Ground Support

Where to find: 399 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

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Raspberry. Pumpkim. Muffin. Photocredit: My sister 😉

The location is the selling point for Ground Support. It occupies the most precious corner of West Broadway, just steps from Laduree’s Downtown NYC location. It’s always crowded and the line is always out the door. If you catch it at a good time, take your pick, because everything on the menu looks good: breakfast sandwiches, artisan muffins (any of their muffins… seriously, any of them.), coffee creations, the works. There is a nice place to sit if the weather is cooperative next to the Eileen Fisher store.


Birch Coffee

Where to find: My favorite is their 13th Street location in Chelsea, but you can see their other locations here.

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A dinky, very hipster, no seats kind of place. Everyone who works there is cool and wears fedoras or bohemian jewelry unironically. Everyone who stops in is fabulous and probably brilliant and probably works somewhere really trendy. Go if you are fabulous. Go if you are not yet fabulous but are attempting to acquire fabulousness and brilliance by diffusion (Me…).


Ground Central

Where to find: View all Ground Central locations here.

 

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Reusing pictures here, but this never stops being relevant. Photocredit: 9two5 Fit

A different entity from the aforementioned Ground Support, Ground Central is an amped-up version of whatever fast-casual place you get your caffeine fix from every morning. They brew La Colombe coffee, which technically is another NYC coffee shop chain, but is also an outstandingly delicious brand of coffee beans. I’m not expert on different types of coffee beans, but if you asked me what type of coffee I want in my hand right now, it would be La Colombe with almond milk in a Ground Central cup.


Project Cozy

Where to find: 398 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

 

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I love places that make you want to stay forever.

Project Cozy is Soho’s newest coffee spot, having taken over a space just south of Houston St. that has rotated residents for the past year or so. They pride themselves upon being “Cozy as Fck,” which I think is an odd slogan that never stops being amazing. There’s ample seating, nice staff, and a fantastic view down Centre St. that definitely got all my creative gears going… except I totally didn’t have my laptop with me. Note for next time, because there will be a next time.

Bonus: They’re also a juice bar. Get the Kale Yeah smoothie.

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All That & A Breakdancing Bunny

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A New York take on street food and street art from around the world? Sign me up. Immediately.

Vandal New York is the newest addition to Chef Chris Santos’s repertoire of fun restaurants. It exploded onto the scene with a frenzy of media attention, including a star-studded opening party. Naturally that would lead one to believe that the restaurant is geared solely for the pretentious New York partygoer types, but Vandal is so much more of a hidden gem than expected.

Foremost, I would have to say that Vandal’s menu is far tastier than that of its siblings, The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex. All three of the restaurants do some version of the shared tapas-style dishes with a twist, but Vandal’s menu reigns supreme. The clientele, atmosphere, and staff are also incredibly laid back. The servers are wearing Converse and sensible black wedges, and welcome you with a smile instead of scanning your outfit.

Take your pick; everything is great. Vandal is most famous for the Crispy Bao Buns. I say the Knish Reubens should be their claim to fame, because how do you even get corned beef to taste that good? Also the Cacio E Pepe Arancini, because it’s a ball of fried pasta with Parmesan sauce. The skirt steak with spicy chorizo fried rice was the table favorite. Although you might not want to, remember that it’s intended to be shared. Eat the spicy rice last. It burns your tastebuds but it’ll hurt so good.

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Crispy Bao Buns

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Knish Reubens

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Clockwise from the left: Thai Papaya Rolls, Sticky Rice Buns, Fish Tacos, Arancini

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Skirt Steak & Spicy Chorizo Rice

As for dessert: Tell them it’s your birthday because free chocolate cupcake (with delicious pretty icing). Order one of everything, except for the Irish coffee milkshake- order that for yourself and don’t share it with anyone else. Order two because they’re adorable (or I could just take the extra off your hands for you, if that’s cool…).

There really aren’t any drawbacks, except maybe that drinks are expensive. But with all of this other incredible stuff happening, it doesn’t even matter.

And on your way out, take a peek at the infamous Vandal bunny. He’s eleven feet tall and has his own Instagram. Give him a kiss for me and tell him I’ll see him again real soon!


Vandal New York

199 Bowery

New York, NY 10002

http://www.vandalnewyork.com/

 

Brunch Monster

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My first brunch trip to Harry’s last weekend may have created a monster.

I tried another brunch this weekend, but I swear it’s only because my parents and sister came in to visit. My dad is the biggest foodie in the entire world (I wonder where I get it from?), and he picked the place. So, this morning, my family and I headed out to Clinton St. Baking Company in the Lower East Side.

Located right off Bowery, this charming little place opens at 9 AM and is packed from that point forward. We ended up waiting almost two hours to be seated, so we visited a cute, hipster coffee shop around the corner to kill time and stay warm.

The wait is, without a doubt, worth it. Everyone in my family but me drinks coffee, so the first thing I ordered was a hot drink off of the Specials Menu… Hot Buttered Cider, which is hot cider with a layer of foamy maple cinnamon butter on top, with even more cinnamon sprinkled on top of that. It comes in a mug the size of your face. You’re basically drinking an apple fritter. Do not leave Clinton St. Baking Company without getting one.

Hot Buttered Cider

Hot Buttered Cider

Everything just got better from there. I ordered the Spanish Scramble sans tomatoes, because the next word in the description after “Omelette with” was the word “chorizo”, and I was pretty much sold. Though I have to admit it was not the best chorizo I’ve ever had (There’s also a chance it was turkey chorizo, but I’m still not sure), it was all mixed up with scallions, caramelized onions and Monterey Jack cheese, and that made up for it.

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All entrees that aren’t pancakes come with two slices of sourdough toast and that massive hash brown, which smells the way my house smells when we make potato latkes, and tastes just as good as ours do, too.

My dad and I then decided that since this was basically lunch, it was OK to get dessert (Yes, we can rationalize just about anything having to do with food.). We were sitting right under the chalkboard with all of the baked goods listed on it, so I selected the Pumpkin Cheesecake. It might actually have been the best decision I’ve made in a really long time. The little slice was perfectly sized, not too sweet, and, as my sister pointed out, made it totally acceptable for me to be eating pumpkin things in the end of February.

Pumpkin Cheesecake... Dad couldn't wait... :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake… Dad couldn’t wait… 🙂

Definitely a “Don’t Miss” kind of place in New York City. Thank you Mom and Dad for a wonderful Sunday morning treat!


Clinton St. Baking Company

4 Clinton St.

New York, NY 10002

https://clintonstreetbaking.com/