Could Olive really begin her quest for a bracing bit of winter refreshment anywhere but in New York City? Hardly. And could she have found a more agreeable guide than Erika of Cafe Fashionista? Not likely. A required stop on Olive's daily tour of the blogging world, Cafe Fashionista is spot-on fashion and the most charming writing this side of the library stacks! For the next two days, she shall indulge us with her favourite N.Y.C coffee haunts, as well as some truly delectable recipes to try yourself. And so, to New York...
“Given enough coffee, I could rule the world.”
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.
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.”
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.”
-3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
-2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
-2 cups hot freshly brewed coffee
-Whipped cream and chocolate curls
Microwave the chocolate and half-and-half in a medium microwavable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the coffee. Pour into large cups or mugs. Top each serving with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Cafe Fashionista will return tomorrow with two more cafes and two more recipes to tempt you with. In the meantime, read her post on three of San Diego's best coffee shops. Olive is sorely tempted to hop the next flight to California just to visit these little gems!