NEW YORK, New York - I decided to spend my Sunday morning having a few espressos in Brooklyn. I avoided the places I have visited repeatedly in the past (Gimme Coffee! and Gorilla) in favor of some first-time visits.
My first visit was to a month-old spot featuring Stumptown beans in Cobble Hill. The place may be called Cafe Pedlar or Coffee Pedlar - as you can see in the photo, there's no identification on the outside of the building, no sandwich board, nothing. Some sources say "Peddlar" but I did see it spelled with one "D" inside.
Judging from internet postings this charming-turned-hip-turned-gentrified 'hood needed good espresso, so good for them. They need a couple more tables so I could not photograph the espresso, but it was better than adequate. They use a La Marzocco machine - come on, that's a 2nd string machine nowadays.
I then decided to lose my virginity on a few matters - making my first visit to the Greenpoint neighborhood and riding the G train. The G is the one line that does not enter Manhattan, and when I've spotted it in the past it had like 4 cars instead of 10, and nobody was on it, so I was worried. I figured that G might stand for "gangsta" and that my life might be on the line.
Similarly, I had barely heard of Greenpoint and didn't know if it was a decent 'hood or a shooting gallery. Turns out, it's just another bland Brooklyn far outpost - similar to Red Hook but without an Ikea to create buzz. It's also a Polish enclave - they had Polish bakeries, Polish restaurants, even a Polish credit union!
My espresso hit in Greenpoint was Café Grumpy. They offer products from a variety of roasters and use a Synesso machine. They offered the regular espresso and a "guest" espresso (pile on a few more and they'll be up to the four different espressos offered at Caffé del Doge in Palo Alto).
I went with a regular espresso and it was the best one of the day. Nice and short, dark crema, no bitterness, no aftertaste. Grumpy has a Chelsea location so perhaps I'll incorporate it into my Manhattan trips going forward.
Also of note at Grumpy is the bathroom - they have dozens of Polaroids of people on the walls, a few of which have captions and a few of which have cryptic numbers. There may be some sort of logic to it but I wasn't in the mood to decipher anything.
From Grumpy I strolled in the rain towards Williamsburg. (I seem to be the only person in New York with rain hat and slicker). I stopped for breakfast at Mugs Alehouse on the way, eggs Benedict and an Anchor Steam beer (which the waitress kept referring to as "Anchor Steamer" beer). The bar, of course, had a television with a distorted picture.
I made my way down Bedford Avenue, the hip heart of Williamsburg, passing a Japanese-Malay fusion restaurant and similar atrocities, before arriving at Oslo Coffee Company on Roebling St. I didn't recognize their coffee beans but they did have a Synesso machine.
The demitasse was from Caffé Vita, and it was not the only sign of Seattle in the room; the sink had a bunch of stickers from Seattle affixed. Vita, Bauhaus, Top Pot, a few Ballard stickers, even some less-prominent joints like Herkimer and Tougo were represented.
Seattle beans, Seattle stickers, rain, Seattle espresso machines - I decided to call it a day.