Tag Archives: restaurants

Design … Boxes of Juice and Water at Butcher’s Daughter … Nolita, New York 

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.

On the Street … Drive-Thru Coffee Mural at Zebra Coffee

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.

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Cool Spaces … At Happy Bones Coffee NYC

Lately we’ve started popping into the recently opened Happy Bones Coffee a lot. (See pix below.) Happy Bones is an 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.) 😉

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On the Scene … At Propellor Coffee in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

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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.

Cool Spaces … The Interior at Room Service NY

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The main dining space at Room Service in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Room Service is probably the most beautiful, sparkly and glamorous casual-neighborhood-type Thai restaurant in New York City or anywhere.

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Design … Man + Woman Symbols at Ij Kantine Amsterdam

The international symbols for man and woman often used on signage for restrooms at airports, museums, restaurants and public places, etc., throughout the world are sometimes reinterpreted by designers. We noticed a lot of variations on the symbols at various places in Amsterdam on our recent visit there. Pictured here are the even more minimalist and pared down and arm-less versions of these symbols used in signage at Ij Kantine, a massive, beautifully designed restaurant and bar in Amsterdam’s northside across the Ij River. We’ll post images of the restaurant in a separate post soon.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from New York’s Lower East Side!

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.

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Design … Framed Classic Roots Reggae Album Covers at Miss Lily’s

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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.

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In New York … The Postcard-Worthy Interior of Pulino’s

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Pulino’s on the Bowery is our downtown go-to weekend spot for Italian-style brunches in New York City. The food and atmosphere are great. And its location at the corner of Bowery and Houston streets means it’s in a prime spot for taking a break during our usual weekly art circuit and close to the action. The Deitch Wall is across the street. The New Museum is a block away, as is Rag & Bone, Banksy’s recent “Grim Reaper” installation, and a few other often-changing commissioned street art spaces. A dozen or so of the nearly 100 galleries now in the Lower East Side are two or three minutes away on foot. Like so many restaurants these days, Pulinos delivers its check to your table with a postcard, which we love.

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Urban Life … Barzinho, Favela Chic by Night and Day

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One of our favorite local hangouts near Global Graphica HQ in New York City’s Lower East Side is Barzinho, a Brazilian bar and restaurant that has a distinct favela-chic style that feels directly imported from Rio de Janeiro’s many hillside slums. The food here is breat, BTW! Check out these photos of the interior.

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On the Scene … Back at Miss Lily’s NYC

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We’re fans of Jamaican-styled Miss Lily’s, a roots reggae record shop and Internet radio station that’s also a cafe and “juicebox” — a place that makes fresh smoothies and juices — on Houston Street, on the border of SoHo and Greenwich Village, in downtown Manhattan, NYC. The full name is Miss Lily’s & Melvin’s Juicebox and Record Shop. (Melvin makes the smoothies.) Readers of this blog may recall we’ve posted about Miss Lily’s before and published images of the interior. Here are some pix of the exterior and some of the yummy food.

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At Miss Lily’s & Melvin’s Juice Box and Record Shop

We’re taking a break from this steamy hot July 4th weather this afternoon to enjoy a coconut banana smoothie and bask in the atmosphere (live radio-DJ’d dub reggae and Carib decor) of Miss Lily’s & Melvin’s Juice Box, a Jamaican-style cafe, juice bar and record shop in SoHo / Greenwich Village in New York City. One of our favorite places in NYC.

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Favela Chic at Barzinho … New York City

We’re fans of Barzinho, a tiny Brazilian restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side that has the bare-bones, scrappy feel of a Carioca favela and a yummy menu of traditional comfort food. The decor is favela chic. The atmosphere is informal, friendly and super, super laidback. If you’re a downtown Manhattanite and Barzinho sounds familiar, that’s because it used to be in Tribeca, but  closed down and re-opened a few months ago in its new, current location at 48 Hester Street in the LES. Check out these exterior photos of Barzinho.

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Espresso Machine and Cups at Je & Jo NYC

The espresso machine and cute, colorful collection of coffee cups at Je & Jo Comestibles in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. When the espresso machine breaks down at our offices, we head over to Je & Jo for a triple espresso brewed with beans from Cafe Grumpy.

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The Beautiful Space at Mohawk Bend … Los Angeles

We recently stopped by the restaurant Mohawk Bend in the Echo Park neighborhood near Silver Lake in Los Angeles. The restaurant lies at a spot on Sunset Boulevard near Mohawk Street and where Sunset curves or “bends,” hence the name. The space is beautiful, especially the back room, a cavernous space that’s filled with natural light during the day and by night glows with a beautiful fireplace flanked by stacked firewood. The place is a combination of contemporary high design, industrial patination, California beachwoodiness and 1970s-retro vintage modern. The food is pretty damn good, too. Their burgers were super yummy.

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