photo courtesy of Dough
The collapse of Crumbs Bake Shop signified the cupcake craze may have ended. Not that the love of cupcakes is gone but that the never ending buzz over cupcakes may be over for now…until someone makes some kind of hybrid cupcake.
New Yorkers have stopped waiting in long lines for cupcakes and are now sugar-hungry for the doughnut. It’s almost three years later and a line still forms as early as 4am outside Dominique Ansel Bakery for the Cronut. In October 2014, Dough opened it’s second location in the Flatiron District and found lines around the block during the week of the grand opening.
One morning on my way to work I spotted the Van Leeuwen truck. Now, I know they have great artisan ice cream (Palm Sugar, Red Currant, Roasted Banana, Earl Grey), but I thought it was odd that they were out so early. When I stopped at the truck, it was then that I realized Van Leeuwen is also a bakery. Along with that great ice cream, the truck also had rich ground coffee and a variety of pastries and cookies. I decided to grab an orange muffin and couple of cookies (chocolate and ginger). If you never had their ice cream, it’s truly something special. Their pastries are on a par with the ice cream. The guy working in the truck told me that they have different pastries each day.
Starbucks has built itself up to be a global icon. At one point it seemed like there was one on every block in New York City. I would usually stop in to get a latte, but over the last couple years I’ve become one of those people you see taking up valuable seats working on their laptops – it’s a convenience and a nuisance at the same time.
Starbucks’ coffee is quite bold; it’s an acquired taste that takes some getting used to if you’re accustomed to conventional coffee. It’s best to ask for a sample to figure out which blend you enjoy best. The food has improved over the years. There are more selections and some nutritious options – especially after the calories of all those good treats are now on full display. It was once just coffee cakes and pastries, but now you have your choice of breakfast sandwiches, hot or cold sandwiches, fruit cups and
soda. You don’t have to order coffee drinks either, I’ve noticed more people ordering tea and the ever-popular Frappuccio. There’s a heavy variety of treats to satisfy that sweet tooth, but some have been down graded in calories or have a ‘fat-free’ version. And some treats have been upgraded to boutique-like ‘bites’: cake pops, mini cupcakes and whoopie pies, for example.
I’ve noticed that on a rainy day, it’s easier catching a yellow cab than finding a seat at your local Starbucks. What keeps patrons in these coffee shops for hours at a time is the free Wi-Fi (aided by access to a bathroom).
Starbucks – several locations near you! If you’re a regular customer, it pays to get their reward card and reap the benefits – a free cup of coffee (and the occasional treat) after every 15th coffee purchase.
I was attending a Cigar Tasting at Maraya Cigar recently in the Lower East Side. The cigar shop just happened to be across the street from a coffee shop, 88 Orchard, and since I was a little early and hungry, I checked it out.
88 Orchard is on the corner of Broome and Orchard Streets – it’s a shop with no storefront signage. Despite its lack of markings, it’s a glass-enclosed coffee shop so it’s easy to find. The coffee shop has a few tables and seating along the window – about enough seating for 16 to 18 people. If you want to sit and surf the Web, the coffee shop has free Wi-Fi – when you can get on it, it can take awhile to log on if there’s heavy usage since there’s no access password needed.
88 Orchard isn’t you’re regular coffee shop. There’s a variety of food on the menu. Surprising enough to satisfy any foodie. Along with a good variety of pastries, they have made-to-order sandwiches, omelets and serve a selection of beers and wine. So if you’re not in the mood for coffee or tea, you can have a glass of red wine. The coffee shop even has a ‘happy hour’ featuring some house specials.
Oops! It seems like I left off two doughnut establishments from the November 2011 post, Doughnuts – It’s Not for Breakfast Anymore! And I believe they deserve mentioning. The first is Dough, a new doughnut shop in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn – my old neighborhood. These are not your average-sized doughnuts; they’re about twice the size – but still soft and flaky. These doughnuts all have the same yeast base, but the flavor is brought out through their extraordinary toppings. Some of these flavors include: Hibiscus, Chocolate Chipotle, Passion Fruit, Cheesecake, Lemon Meringue and Blood Orange.