For decades mass-market juices and milk were sold in paper-box cartons, but in recent years all sorts of other juices and beverages have been packaged in new, cleverly designed containers as in the example below of beautifully packaged juices and water (the first time we’ve ever seen water in a box carton) at the Butcher’s Daughter restaurant and cafe in New York’s Lower East Side.
Zebra House Coffee is probably the best place to get an espresso coffee in the surf-mecca Southern California town of San Clemente. It’s a laidback cafe and a fine space to sip on an iced Americano while flipping through back issues of Surfer magazine. In fitting SoCal fashion, Zebra offers a drive-thru service, and it has this cool graffiti-style, street-artsy mural painting for signage pointing customers in the right direction.
Lately we’ve started popping into the recently opened Happy Bones Coffee a lot. (See pix below.) Happy Bones is a
n Aussie Kiwi-staffed espresso cafe in downtown New York City. It’s a tiny place with three tables on an short, less-remarkable stretch of Broome Street in the ill-defined, mashed-up border area where Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo and Nolita all converge at the Lower East Side’s western edge.
Happy Bones serves up a solid menu of third-wave coffee brews and espresso drinks, including an honest “flat white.” Their coffee is roasted and supplied by Counter Culture (its barista training center is a couple of blocks away). But what really strikes us about the cafe is its decor, the clever design and clean style of the small space, which is drenched in a white minimalist color scheme that’s warm and inviting rather than cold and stark. A skylight and floor-to-ceiling glass frontage draw light into the place and give it some comfortable airiness.
The cafe has a legit downtown-culture and art vibe. A playlist of mostly 1980s and ’90s British music invariably is playing over the sound system (tunes by the likes of the Clash, Specials, Blur, etc.) and a collection of coffee-table art and photography books are on sale next to bags of coffee beans.
BTW … what’s with all the Australian expat baristas and bartenders in NYC these days? Seems like an invasion, and we <3 it. (The Kiwi invasion, too.) 😉
We recently popped by Propellor Coffee in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on one of those interminable snowy days during this year’s remarkably harsh winter in New York City. This cafe is a solid, local ‘third-wave” coffee joint with much more generous space than many of the miniscule espresso bars that these days seem to be opening up every five seconds in NYC. The atmosphere is warm, mild, friendly, unobtrusive amid a decor of spare 1960s- and ’70s-era vintage furniture and walls filled with thematic, similarly aged and well-preserved photography of airplanes and airlines, in keeping with the spirit of the cafe’s name. The usual retinue of cafe punters are here, the laptop brigades and freelance designer/scriptwriter/fashion blogger types, and the local hipster coffee nerds. It’s a wonderful place to while away an hour or two on a lazy Saturday afternoon nursing a hot latte while reading an actual printed newspaper copy of the New York Times, checking your Instagram, and staying warm.
Super delicious macarons at Cafe Grumpy, an espresso bar and cafe in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, including the one pictured here with a cute broken heart graphic printed on it. Yummy! Pop-cultural reference: This Cafe Grumpy is used as the location set for the Cafe Grumpy that appears in Lena Dunham’s hit HBO television series Girls.
Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! We’re in NYC this Christmas day and although we don’t usually get caught up in the holiday traditions — it’s just not our thing — it’s nice to see a Christmas tree as we sip a hot Blue Bottle cappuccino on this very cold Christmas afternoon in New York’s Lower East Side. It’s also really nice to see the downtown streets so quiet, as most businesses are closed, except for this recent cafe addition to the LES espresso coffee scene called Whynot on Orchard Street.
The restroom at Miss Lily’s — a Jamaican-and-reggae-themed cafe and shop in downtown New York City — is decorated with the framed record covers of roots reggae and dub music classics from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Our favorite is the cover for Dr. Alimantado’s “Best Dressed Chicken in Town” record pictured above.