Wednesday, May 4, 2016

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday

This has been the weather in New York for the last few days, cold, rainy and dreary. I'm wearing corduroy and a wool sweater and I'm not too hot. The calendar says May, but the weather says November. Happily, the next month is June and not December.

I've been remiss, actually very remiss. On the last day of March I posted a Surprise Giveaway from Peru. I got very caught up in my coffee reveling and alas, didn't post the winner. Bad Buttercup! I'm going to send this handmade change purse -- my photography doesn't do the colors of the weaving justice -- to Mimi of The Grandmother Gig.  I always enjoy my visits there and especially like her recipes. Today's post is about homemade jam and I'm all set to run out for strawberries.

Hoping there's sunshine where you are. As ever thanks for visiting and take good care!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

While I Was Drinking Coffee Pink Saturday

It seems odd to be writing a post that isn't about coffee. Though drinking coffee was my focus in April it wasn't my only focus. I went to the gym, I grocery shopped and I cleaned the kitchen.
I also welcomed and sadly, said goodbye to Spring. Though it was May 1 it was in the forties today and I wore my winter jacket. I didn't have my gloves, but they would have been a good idea.
These beauties bloomed on Broadway across the street from my gym.   

The first blooms at Grace Church, founded in 1808. It's around the corner from my new favorite coffee at City of Saints.

I heard one of my favorite actors, Helen Mirren, interviewed at one of my favorite places, the New York Public Library.

A moment during the program. There wasn't an empty seat in the house. 

I started thinking about doing some kitchen renovations and went on, what will be the first, of many expeditions to look at tile for a backsplash and new lighting. I'm still in very preliminary stages and I'm already overwhelmed by the wealth of choices. 
During a shopping trip to Macy's, another April activity, I found these perfect for  Pink Saturday piggies.

What were your April highlights? May will include more kitchen research, several theater evenings, dinner with college friends, a trip to Chicago, books and more books and lots of coffee.  I hope that spring decides to make a return engagement and I will be able to give my winter jacket a well deserved vacation at the back of the closet. 

So much coffee and so little time. As ever thanks for visiting and have a great week!  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z Is for Zaro's

Two weeks ago I took the train from Grand Central Station to New Haven Connecticut. I was meeting my friend Lonni. We were planning to spend the day in Saybrook, Connecticut, down the Connecticut coast from New Haven. In order to get to New Haven and have enough time for the things we wanted to do I took the 8:02 a.m. train. During the week the Station would be crowded with commuters arriving at 7:50 and the expanse of concourse would be filled. But it was Sunday and the lone pigeon could stroll in peace.

I had another coffee place in mind, but their doors were closed and the staff waved me away. The only place open that I could find before 8:00 on a Sunday was Zaro's. Though the coffee wasn't great -- maybe a B- --, Zaro's gets an A for availability. I was so grateful to have a cup of coffee to take on the train with me and watch the Bronx become Westchester, which then became Connecticut.  One item at Zaro's I highly recommend is the black and white cookie, center top. I am an enormous fan of them and Zaro's makes great "black and whites."

If I were doing A to Z for bread, I would put Zaro's on the list. I'm a fan of the raisin walnut.  

This was the scene in Saybrook waiting for Lonni and me. Definitely worth getting up early, taking a subway and a train and drinking less than perfect coffee. Definitely. Lonni's daughter will be getting married here in July and yes, the excitement is building. Please pray for a day as clear and beautiful as this one was.

As Shakespeare wrote, "Our revels now are ended..." But, even with the end of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, our coffee drinking throughout New York City isn't over. I've had the best time and I've had the good fortune to share my coffee revels -- great name for a blog! -- with friends new and long-standing. By popular demand and personal pleasure The Coffee Revels will continue. As long as there's a new place to try, an interesting bean to sample, the Coffee Reveler will return. It may only be once or twice a month, but I'll be reveling and writing about coffee. In the interim regularly scheduled programing will resume. There are books to chat about, events to write about and I need to get back to Coffee Light and Mysteries (Mostly) Noir, which has been very sadly neglected.

With a little over two hours until the Challenge is over, I pass the finish line. I appreciate everyone who joined me in this endeavor, either in person or with your thoughtful comments.

So much coffee to drink, so many mysteries to read and so little time! Thanks for revelling with me. 

Y Is for Yorkville

When I first moved to New York in 1975 I lived around the corner from Two Little Red Hens. The space then was occupied by a very good German Deli, which I often frequented as I walked home from the subway. Yorkville, the neighborhood that I moved to had long been a German neighborhood, and there were still a number of German restaurants and food stores. There are now two left in the area, Schaller and Weber on the left of this picture and the Old Heidelberg, which is to the right of the bakery. If this were 1975 I would have gone to the long departed Viennese restaurant on East 86th Street to sample their coffee with whipped cream.

But it's 2016 and I chose Two Little Red Hens, and stopped in for a cup of coffee. I didn't sample the baked goods which looked fabulous, and in an effort to stay pastry abstinent, I didn't even photograph them. I had a cup of very good coffee, made by Irving Farms, our choice for "I."

I moved from this neighborhood twenty-five years ago this summer and haven't been back very much, although it's a bus ride across town. The window of Schaller & Weber has changed very little, but the neighborhood has changed a lot.   

After decades of discussion the Second Avenue Subway is finally scheduled to open at the end of this year. It will be several more decades -- in my opinion -- until it runs from the Upper East Side to Coney Island. When that glorious day arrives it will make traveling from this neighborhood and all sections closer to the East River in Manhattan much easier.
One of the things I've especially enjoyed about my coffee project is learning more about New York City. Two blocks east of Second Avenue is York Avenue, named for Sgt. Alvin York, one of the most decorated American soldiers of World War I. York Avenue led to the description of the neighborhood as Yorkville. Though fewer and fewer people remember Sgt. York and the wonderful movie with Gary Cooper, the name of the neighborhood stands as a reminder.   
We're off to "Z." So much coffee, so much enjoyment! Thanks for visiting.

X = Cost

This writer/journalist/blogger appreciates questions and this post is an answer to a question posed by Susie at She Junks. Susie, who lives in Indiana -- and writes a great blog about her life there -- asked about the price of a cup of coffee in New York City. During my travels around the city I took a few pictures to answer this question.

Life in New York City, especially Manhattan and Brownstone Brooklyn, is expensive. No question. A cup of hot coffee at my local cart is a dollar and the iced coffee is two dollars. Zaro's -- which will be our stop for "Z" was pricier than I expected when I looked at the prices. At my local spot, Tal's, where I am a regular, the price of iced coffee is two dollars and seventy five cents.
I passed a very upscale Starbuck's near Penn Station this week and got a picture of the prices of their single source brands. The places the coffee is imported from include East Timor, Malawi and Burundi and a cup of hot coffee starts at three dollars and fifty cents. Pricy, yes, but not totally out of the norm for single source. Though I'm not keen on "S" coffee I'd like to return to try one of these Reserve Coffees.

My friend Deborah was visiting from North Carolina and we went to  Gregory's, both for location and my desire to try the San Fernando coffee from Peru, one of their single origin coffees. My cup of San Fernando, ordered as an iced Americano was three dollars and ninety five cents. I think this may have been my most expensive coffee of the month.  

I was fascinated by the process. It took at least five minutes for the coffee to be made and it was worth it. It was not a big glass, but what it lacked in size it made up in flavor. I am giving my San Fernando an A-. It was a terrific glass of iced coffee.  

It's practically winter again in New York, and despite the cold I'm off to an outdoors craft fair. I'll be back later for our visits to Yorkville and a return to Zaro's.

So much coffee and just ten hours to go for the Challenge.  As ever, thanks for visiting and keep sipping.

Friday, April 29, 2016

W Is for Williamsburg

We're now sipping in Williamsburg. We've may have gone across the Williamsburg Bridge (built in 1903) in the background or taken the subway, but we are now in Brooklyn. The settlement of Williamsburg began in 1638 when the Dutch West India Company bough land from the local Native Americans. Williamsburg was primarily a farming area until the middle Nineteenth Century, when it was rapidly industrialized. This was a center of manufacturing, including Domino Sugar. It was also a center of immigration. By the 1960's the manufacturing had gone into a significant decline and Williamsburg fell on tough times. It was "rediscovered" about twenty five years ago, but it's in the last ten years that the neighborhood has seen tremendous gentrification.   

I like exploring Williamsburg and have several places I enjoy. One is the 12 Chairs Cafe. There are several in New York City, serving Middle Eastern and Eastern European food. I especially like their lamb kabobs. The name comes from their origin as a small café with literally twelve chairs.
But I'm not here for a restaurant review. I'm here for coffee. When I'm at 12 Chairs, I order a cappuccino and I haven't been disappointed. It's neither watery nor bitter, the disastrous extremes of cappuccino. It's a tad on the strong side, which most people prefer, and I'm giving it a solid B+. 

We finish up tomorrow with a discussion of the cost of a cup of coffee in New York City, a visit to Yorkville and our final cup in Grand Central Station. I've loved our adventures and I hope you have, too.

So, so much coffee and so little time! As ever, thanks for joining me on our coffee adventure.

V Is for Veselka

Most of my A to Z blog friends are done, but I've gotten behind and it's a dash to the finish tomorrow. Get ready for a flurry of blog posts from Manhattan and Brooklyn as we come to Z in our search for the best coffee in New York City. 

V brings us back to the East Village -- also the site of City of Saints -- for a visit to the Ukrainian restaurant, Veselka. The East Village has had a fascinating history and has been home to Little Germany, Yiddish Theatre and the Beat movement. It also experienced significant Ukrainian immigration after World War II. Veselka, founded in 1954, is one of the last of the many Ukrainian restaurants that were found in this neighborhood. 

Truth in blogging, I didn't come here for the coffee. It is a great place for breakfast -- I need to come back later in the day and try some of the other Ukrainian specialties -- and the coffee is fine, but it's not a coffee site. I had an enjoyable breakfast and had a good time exploring the streets in the area -- lots of fun new stores.
I'm a pierogi fan and have been thinking about what I would enter in this contest, but haven't come up with anything yet. What would you put together if you designed your own pierogi?

On my way to Veselka I passed St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery,  the oldest site of continuous religious practice in New York City. It goes back to 1660, when Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Amsterdam purchased land for a farm and built a family chapel here. Throughout the centuries the church has been at the center of writing and theater in the neighborhood. There is still artistic activity in the East Village, but there is a lot of it has gone to other neighborhoods. One of them is Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Through no special planning that is our next stop on the coffee express.

So much coffee and so little time! Let's keep sipping.