Recently in USA category

Joe the Art of Coffee

joe

We’ve been doing quite a bit of shopping here in New York. Romain has been here before, but never with an ‘almost’ local. (I grew up next door.) Sure, he’s been all the museums, but he’s never been to places as uniquely American as Bed, Bath & Beyond, TJ Maxx, and Old Navy, where we saw the woman who played Janice on The Sopranos loading up on bargains.

I guess since she’s now unemployed, she’s watching her finances, too.

He was absolutely bewildered that one could buy a shirt for $10 or pay just $25 for a pair of sneakers, which, in euros, cost a third of that. We’ve both been loading up on Levi’s at Dave’s for $32, or €20. And my once-empty suitcases are now bulging at the seams.

Everything is so cheap here, and no tax, either—God bless America!

Oddly, the same jeans I bought in France cost €72 ($100), and that was when they were on sale.(Although I didn’t get the same personal attention that I did in Paris, which, arguably, is worth the extra cost—at least at my age.)

After all that bargain hunting, what could plus obligatoire than a cup of good, strong coffee?

So we stopped in at Joe The Art of Coffee. Although I’ve always found their espresso a bit murky, Romain’s declared his espresso macchiato, “Le meilleur café de ma vie”, the best coffee of his life. I took a sip of his, and indeed, it was amazing.

I don’t quite know what to write about French coffee that I haven’t written about before, but after he was done, he wondered why he couldn’t get coffee like back home. So now he’s hooked, and so am I.

And not just on the coffee, but the bargains. We’re going to need an intervention to get us to leave.

Joe The Art of Coffee
405 West 23rd Street
New York City
(212) 206-0669

(Other locations throughout Manhattan)

Papabubble

candy jar

If there’s anyone out there who likes homemade candy more than I do, I would like to meet that person. I used to have a dream about opening a shop that sold nothing but confections made by my own two hands: chocolate-covered marshmallows, twisty peppermint sticks, naturally-flavored lollypops, sugary orange slices (god, I love those…), and chewy red licorice whips.

I even went so far as to go to take courses in candymaking, which was a lot of fun. But ultimately I decided that candy was too finicky, and that not only would few people buy it, but with my luck, I’d probably get picketed by the local dentists for making all that chewy stuff.

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ubuntu

carrot salad

It’s a very good sign, when I’m handed a menu in a restaurant, and everything on it looks so good to me, I can’t decide what to order. Such was the case with the menu at ubuntu, one of the most highly-lauded restaurants in America, which wasn’t just famous for creating innovative food, but also because it’s entirely vegetarian.

ubuntu

Luckily there were six of us, so we tried almost everything on the menu, which included lots of oddities and items so unusual, we had to ask what they were.

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Dynamo Donuts

two donuts

Donuts! Now there’s a new concept.

Actually there’s nothing new about donuts, and places like Krispy Kreme have come, and (almost) gone. But tucked away in a sunny corner of 24th Street in the Mission is the Dynamo Donut & Coffee shop.

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Citizen Cake Cupcakes

rocky road cupcake

I feel like I deserve a majority of the credit (or blame…depending on how you look at it) for the cupcake craze. I was eating them decades ago, when no one gave them a second thought. And now, as someone who teaches baking told me, making and selling cupcakes in America is like printing money.

I’m not much for trendy foods, but for some reason, mid-day yesterday, right in the middle of my Japanese bento box lunch of chicken katsu and seaweed salad, I was seized with the overwhelming desire for a cupcake.

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Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant

pile of onion rings

Stop the presses!

Although I think in this day and age of online publishing, what do we now say—stop the downloading? Somehow, that doesn’t have the same sense of urgency to it.

Still, this is important.

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but my search for the perfect burger was not to be resolved in Paris.

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Bun Bo at PPQ

ppq

Is PPQ the best Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco?

I used to be in the camp of Vietnam II for the longest time, mainly because when I worked at a Southeast Asian restaurant, that’s where almost all of my co-workers ate.

That is, until I discovered Pho Phú Quôc, otherwise known as PPQ. Which is funny: I always guessed that they had to shorten their name since I’m probably not the only one that doesn’t know how to really pronounce “pho“.

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San Francisco, CA

david

After a couple of too-lengthy flights, I finally landed in San Francisco. I arrived with a full agenda of things to do, and fortunately got all the not-so-fun stuff completely out of the way by the end of Day #2.

So now I have nothing to do for a whole week here—except eat!

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