Sorry I have been MIA for a few days but it was my last week in the city and I was busy trying to complete a whirlwind tour of all the things I hadn’t seen yet. Clearly, I didn’t see everything. However, I did stop by a few of the supposedly “best” spots in the city. The battle for the “best” coffee shop is always going to be up in the air, but plenty of coffee fanatics say that these days, Abraco in the LES is king. Being the coffee fiend that I am, I could not leave the city until I tried it. (Even though I was fairly certain that nothing would top my daily favorite, Greydogs).
Abraco is not the place to sit, swoon, and sip coffee all day. In fact, there is hardly anywhere to sit. Abraco is not about the ambience, it’s about what’s inside your coffee cup. As I stopped to enjoy an almost unbeatable latte, I overheard coffee brewing terms I had never even heard before. They talked about coffee and coffee beans like sommeliers talk about wine. Everyone that walked in seemed to know the barista and he knew what each of the customers wanted. My latte answered any questions I might have had about why these people trek all the way to Abraco on a daily basis.
I am not sure how one would summarize it in coffee speak, but in my language, my latte was simply delicious. Abraco also has a small, but intriguing menu of sweet/savory pastries (like the lemon olive oil loaf and the rose tea cookie) a few daily sandwiches and salads. The barista insisted that I sample the cured olive cookie (it sounds kind of gross, I know). I like olive bread, but olives, in a cookie? He proved me wrong. It was the perfect solution to sweet and salty cravings.
Also, you might recall that I sampled cupcakes from the infamous and highly overrated Magnolia Bakery about a month ago. Apparently, you are not a real New Yorker until you have tried the cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery in LES. I found this out one day when I was in the elevator and somehow, a bunch of girls got into a cupcake debate. Yes, I said it, a cupcake debate. After everyone started ranting about the “best” cupcake spot in the city, one girl (who was from the city) waited for silence and then said in a matter-of-fact tone, “You haven’t tried a cupcake until you have been to Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I promise.”
Since then, I have been wondering how she could be so sure that it was the “best”. Yesterday, my curiosity (and let’s be honest, my sweet tooth), led me to Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Kind of like Abraco, it is a fairly no-frills little bakery. The most unique flavor was the pistachio but Louise and I concluded that the chocolate chocolate cupcake was the best. (However, we didn’t try all of them because then we would be in a sugar coma so who really knows which one is the best). In case you were wondering, it was SO much better than anything from Magnolia. The girl in the elevator was entirely correct.
Now, it is time to leave the city before sampling the “bests” gets the best of my waistline! -KTS
–> Check back in a few days for a list of my favorites and “bests” of restaurants and bars in the city!