Results tagged Joe the Art of Coffee from David Lebovitz

A Quick Trip to New York City

La Parisienne

Last week, I had to make an unexpected trip from Paris to New York City. It was kind of a last-minute affair, But I’m always up for a trip to New York, even in the winter, which I remember from my years living on the east coast, how brutal they could be. Fortunately we hit a sweet spot and people were actually wearing t-shirts on the streets – in December!

pastries at Robert

Unlike being able to forget that bitter cold I’d experienced for so many winters in New York, I did forget how civic-minded Americans are and actually saw two people pick up trash on the sidewalk (that wasn’t theirs) and toss it into a nearby garbage can. People are polite, holding doors for one another and excusing themselves when they’re in someone’s way. I also forget how blue the skies are in New York, even when it’s cold, in the middle of December. New York City can be brutally cold, but there’s usually a cheerfulness in the air that’s unmistakably très américain.

blue sky

And I also forget how eager people in stores are to help you, and when I asked at Bergdorf Goodman if they knew where the display of candies from Fouquet in Paris was (the owner asked me to take a picture for him), the person I asked on the ground floor actually took a personal interest helping me, and insisted on taking me up to the top floor and asking everyone up there to find out where they were.

(Interestingly, they said the shipment had arrived a little late and were being put on display the next day, so it’s nice to know that even in America, where Romain marveled a few times, saying “People make sure things work here!” – they still have troubles with deliveries.)

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Why I Don’t Hate Starbucks

David

I remember in the 80s, back in the dark age of coffee, when traveling through the United States, it was impossible to get a decent cup almost anywhere you went. Or heaven’s forbid, something as wildly exotic as a cappuccino or espresso. I wasn’t a coffee snob, but simply discovered good coffee early on when I was in college back in those days, because the restaurant I worked in was one of those rare places that carried coffee from a local roaster. (The owner was of Scandinavian descent and insisted on good, strong, dark coffee. So I got used to drinking that.) I don’t remember if local roasters were all that common back in the 1980s, but I don’t think so. And back then, unless you made coffee at home, you were pretty much not going to find a decent cup of coffee in America unless you went to an Italian café. People pretty much settled for diner-style drip coffee or something brewed up in a broiling-hot urn.

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Dining Around New York

central park

The French have their paradoxes and so do Americans. Which was something I discovered over and over again while I was exploring New York with an especially inquisitive Frenchman in tow. There were lots of questions, like when watching television, it’s tricky to explain why there’s a commercial for people stuffing their faces from all-you-can-eat buffet for $6.99 suddenly followed by an ad pushing low-calorie frozen entrées. Or on that note, why in America, a main course is an entrée – since that means “before” in French?

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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)