Joe Coffee


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 now that the show is over, 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 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 Coffee
405 West 23rd Street
New York City
(212) 206-0669

(Other locations throughout Manhattan)

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  • October 16, 2008 10:43am

    I love Joe’s! You should also try Cafe Grumpy at 20th between 7th and 8th. Also excellent and they have a Clover.

  • October 16, 2008 11:25am

    Just get another bag. Even with the cost of transporting the excess luggage, you will still save a bundle. I remember the good old days when what you are experiencing now was what I used to enjoy while traveling to Europe with my US dollars. But that is a thing of the past. Enjoy the sense of getting a bargain while you have it David. Wish it were the same for us who must live here.

    Never been to Joe’s but I shall have to try a cup when next I’m in New York. If Romain endorses it then it’s good enough for me!

  • October 16, 2008 11:47am

    These days, you needn’t travel from as far as overseas, to enjoy the tanking US dollar, and the incredibly low pricetags! In June, I was in New York for a week, and decided I would break the seal on my promise not to blow cash on crazy purchases…and…went into the Soho Camper flagship store…where I discovered the very same shoes I’d tried on in Toronto a week prior (full price in NYC, not even marked down) for $300 LESS than the Canadian price sticker. Insane!

    Needless to say, after scoring such a great bargain, the only right thing to do was to spend practically the same as I’d saved on the shoes at Vosges, a few blocks away. Oops.

  • amy
    October 16, 2008 12:28pm

    I couldn’t help but note that Amanda mentioned Vosges. : )

    I think I spend more money on good food than clothing as well. *oops*

  • October 16, 2008 4:57pm

    Amy & Amanda: What’s funny is that those Camper shoes are less in NY than they are in Europe, where they’re from! Same with Le Creuset and Staub. But I was saddened to see Malomars cost $4.29, and we had two simple, take-away salad lunches that cost a whopping $38. Good lord!

  • Nancy
    October 16, 2008 5:24pm

    That’s so funny. I always see “Janice” on 18th Street between 6 & 7th Aves. I mean alot. I hope she has a home. It’s sort of weird. Oh, well.

  • October 16, 2008 10:35pm

    I saw the title and thought for SURE you were going to weave a “Joe the Plumber” joke somewhere into this post. Maybe next time…

    That’s one pretty espresso!

  • October 16, 2008 10:45pm

    Nancy: It was a bit strange. But then again, I was shopping there, too! Although I wasn’t on a hit show on HBO…

    Jada: I didn’t watch the debate but only heard the “Joe the plumber” stories third-hand, which was enough. Honestly, if they can’t think of anything better to chat about than tired clichés and 30-year old accusations when we’re in the midst of a war and an economic crisis, I don’t know if I should even be making jokes about it.

    And really, after Tina Fey’s fabulous turn, can anything really top that?

  • October 17, 2008 8:55am

    No matter where in the world you’re traveling, if you can get good coffee *and* bargains, life is good. Glad your suitcases are bulging!

  • October 17, 2008 10:59am

    Don’t you love it when you can show un français that it’s not true that everything about America is bad? They are as arrogant as we are about the superiority of their country, so despite their obvious prominence in certain areas, we still have better coffee and cheaper good stuff. (No wonder they think we’re all rich. They don’t know about clearance sales.)

    I still remember the first thing my hébèrgère said after we were introduced. “But you’re not obese!” And she was a high school English teacher. You’d think she’d be more enlightened…

    Glad you’re having fun, David.

  • October 17, 2008 2:00pm

    I want to go there since all you amazing food bloggers are obsessed with it. Didn’t AG write his entire book there?!

  • Oakjoan
    October 17, 2008 4:27pm

    Janice may have been a real pill on the Sopranos, but she’s related to (a cousin?) of one of my all time faves, John Torturro. Anyway, you better be nice or she’ll drill you.

    Off topic: Has anybody read The Pedant In The Kitchen by Julian Barnes?

  • October 18, 2008 10:00am

    We’re going to NYC next week. I’m taking notes!!

  • October 20, 2008 9:33am

    Good coffee, and cheap jeans? Sounds like a perfect shopping plan for me. Just need Obama to win the elections, as my hubby refuses to put is feet on American land whilst Bush’s in charge… Men!

    Love, LOVE your traveling reports. :)

  • October 20, 2008 2:04pm

    So glad to hear you’re having fun in NYC at the same time that another lovely blogger, Deb @ Smitten Kitchen and her hubby are cavorting around Paris. A coincidence? Perhaps, but I would like to think that the great-wide-world of the blogosphere has facilitated a housing-swap.

  • ellen
    October 25, 2008 9:10am

    i’m a coffee holic, verry interest with your site, excactly about Joe The Art of Coffee. i live at Indonesia. (^_^) nice to meet your blog, David!

  • Sonia
    October 30, 2008 7:41pm

    Hi David,

    I just came across your blog and found it interesting since it is from the perspective of a traveler. I saw the coffee picture and wondered what beverages appeal to the French. Are they into this craz like in the U.S. about Coffee and Energy Drinks?Or are they more interested in natural drinks lilke juices?

    Curious Sonia

  • August 17, 2009 12:01pm

    Sometimes living in New York City can give you the impression that everything is overpriced, but then I forget how much the same thing can cost overseas. And the coffee in New York is very good, but in general, I’ve had better in France.