Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sipping in the City

"Given enough coffee, I could rule the world."
Author Unknown

Believe it or not, I was not always the coffee lover that I am today. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, it was just shy of three years ago that I was turning my nose up at the steaming cups of caffeine, refusing to so much as smell the muddy blend let alone allow it to pass my lips. Even at this stage of the game, as much as I adore a kick of java every few hours, I can’t credit myself with being a coffee connoisseur or aficionado in any way, shape, or form; I’m simply a passionate individual with a desire to sip on something warm and cozy – a beverage synonymous with the comforts of a well-loved knit sweater. The fact that it helps me to get through the day…well, that’s just frosting on the cupcake!

But I digress; admittedly I would never survive without a cup of Joe early in the morning, or a calming cappuccino in the afternoon, or even an invigorating mug of hot chocolate right before bed. How I ever survived without such luxurious concoctions is truly unfathomable.

For me, warm beverages are the equivalent of an old friend re-entering one’s world, or a cute boy doing something unexpectedly romantic just to make you smile. They are a part of the simplicities in life that make one’s existence enchanting, charming, and magnificent with a singular sip. Therefore it is truly no surprise that I have my favorites; Toffee Hot Chocolate, White Chocolate Coffee, and Pumpkin Pie Lattes being amongst my most beloved brews. But I’ve learned over time that savoring such delicacies in the privacy of one’s home can often leave a bitter taste in the drinker’s mouth.

"No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils."
Henry Ward Beecher

It may sound silly. Perhaps a whimsical notion, you might say; but it’s the truth. I feel that ambiance and a charming surrounding truly do play roles in how much or how little an individual enjoys ones warm drink du jour. Cobblestoned patios add character; brick walls provide history; and very light jazz music murmuring in the background establishes old-fashion noir and glamour. Thus, when I find myself navigating the concrete jungle that is New York, I do not seek out, or comb various neighborhoods searching for the most commercialized, well-known coffee shops.

In a city as full of life and personality as New York I see these locations as clichéd. When experiencing a new place, it is best to immerse yourself in the culture and aestheticism that you would be unable to experience anywhere else. Therefore I rummage for regal little gems with the ability to tantalize my taste buds and proffer an ambrosial atmosphere. These are just three of my absolute favorites.

"No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee’s frothy goodness."
Sheikh Abd-al-Kadir

Red Horse Café – Park Slope, Brooklyn. Despite the fact that I think of Park Slope’s Red Horse Café as a blogger’s paradise, I am truly not being biased by stating that this is one of my favorite little places to hide out in whenever I find myself in New York. Located on the corner of 12th Street and 6th Avenue, Red Horse Café is, without a doubt, one of the most darling places I have ever found myself dwelling in. Due to the fact that it’s located in Brooklyn, you have the New York City cultivation and attitude, coupled with the captivating quaintness most often seen in the suburbs – a fact that is pinpointed by the tree-lined streets visible through the windows; hence, you get the best of both worlds.

But outer sights don’t even begin to compare with the beauty found right within Red Horse. The walls are lined with pieces created by the hands of local artists; while overstuffed couches, armchairs, café tables, and window-mounted bars with stools create heavenly seating options for everyone. The true charm of Red Horse, however, comes from the fact that it’s a multifaceted venue that serves yummy iced coffee (with coffee ice cubes as opposed to water-based ones!) and mind-blowing mochas to bloggers, couples, old friends, and families throughout the mornings and afternoons; then transforms into a hipster hangout featuring live musicians, and other special events come nightfall. It’s the type of place one never wants to leave; but since you ultimately have to, don’t do so without grabbing a cupcake or handful of macaroons! 497 6th Ave. (between 11th and 12th St.), Brooklyn, NY 11215.

"I orchestrate my mornings to the tune of coffee."
Harry Mahtar

Financier Patisserie – Stone Street. Please ignore the fact that Brooks Brothers reigns within the four walls of Stone Street’s Financier Patisserie. You really can’t be surprised; after all, it’s located in the heart of the Financial District. At the same time, whenever I so much as glance upon the exterior of this Wall Street wonder, I feel as if I’m transported to picturesque Paris or idyllic Italy. While many cafes embrace dark color schemes, Financier Patisserie sets itself apart by flaunting light and airy hues, outdoor tables, and elegant windows – all of which work as one to create an adorable atmosphere perfect to indulge in two of my favorite things: mochaccinos and madeleines. A word of warning…since Financier Patisserie is known for their scrummy pastries please, please, please do not walk out that door without at least a chocolate croissant or brownie in tow. They are a heavenly complement to any warm drink you happen to order. 62 Stone Street (between Mill Lane and Hanover Square), New York, NY 10004.

B Cup Café – East Village. If given the choice between moving into the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, or residing at the East Village’s B Cup Café for all of eternity, darlings I have no qualms about proclaiming that I would not even hesitate before announcing my decision…the B Cup Café, of course! While the free WiFi, Caramel Café Mocha, White Chocolate Café Mocha, and Hot Chocolate have lured me into the charming hot spot time and time again, these are not the main reasons for my frequent visits. Mais non! The truth of the matter is that I am convinced that one could find love in this enchanting East Village nook.

There’s something about the ambiance found within that makes you feel as if you will meet the cute boy of your dreams while standing in line awaiting your Frozen Vanilla and White Chocolate Café Mocha, or cozily perched upon the olive green couch flipping through the latest issue of ELLE. Perhaps your eyes will lock between sips of splendor, leading the two of you to share a Bagel with Cream Cheese before strolling into the sunset, destined to live happily ever after. It sounds outlandish, but I truly do believe that there is potential for such a tale to take place within the alluring atmosphere. 212 Ave. B. (Corner of E. 13th St.), New York, NY 10009.

"The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

These may be a few of my favorite places to "sip in the city," but there are millions of others out there eagerly awaiting your sip of approval. Find your own or share these saucy little coffee shops with me. Just make sure that you’re getting your twice daily cup of Joe somewhere!

Fashionably yours!

Note: I originally wrote this post for one of my favorite blogs, Olive Writes, back in November 2009; but I loved writing it so much, that I thought I would share it with all of you here, just in case you missed it!

Thanks to We ♥ It, It's Unbeweavable, and vi.sualize for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the Twenties Girl Giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl.

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