Category Archives: Food

Daily Prompt for Pound of Coffee

Photo of McNulty's Tea and Coffee Co.

Storefront of McNulty’s Tea and Coffee on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, NYC. ©2014 David Altman

The Daily Prompt from The Daily Post
Today’s Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy by Michelle W.
“What does “happiness” look like to you?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us HAPPY.”

HAPPINESS looks like McNulty’s Tea and Coffee shop in the heart of Greenwich Village.
HAPPINESS looks like an old,  authentic New York store that has been around since 1895.
HAPPINESS looks like the cohesive layout of the store when I step inside.
And HAPPINESS looks like the gesture of the proprietors welcoming me to their establishment.

“How can I help you?”
“Is there anything particular you are looking for?”
“What can we get for you?”

The image of happiness that is conjured up when I think about McNulty’s is multifaceted. Details. Down. Wood floor. Slats. Worn and wrinkled. West wall. Shelves. Shelves of containers holding rare teas. Glass containers. Good teas. Great teas. Tin and paper boxes of well-known brands from different countries. Scales. Metal. How many pounds of tea have those scales weighed over one hundred plus years? East wall. Behind the counter. Bins of beans. Canisters. Scoops and scales. Grinders and bags.

Now how can I explain what the happiness of the fragrant, roasted coffee beans looks like?

Friday Lunch at Barney Greengrass

After having a final meal at Popover Cafe before it closes this Sunday Jan.  5, 2014, I had a craving for some other comfort food at Barney Greengrass which is right next door to Popover’s. It was a mid-afternoon lunch for two and it was delicious.

[Please note: The food photos have captions and little blurbs that can be read when viewing the shots in slide show “carousel” mode. If you are reading this on a small screen, be sure to scroll down a bit to read them.]

Popover Cafe To Close

Another independent restaurant in NYC will be closing in a few days.  This time, it’s the Popover Cafe on Amsterdam Avenue between 86th and 87th Streets in Manhattan.  They lost their lease and will shut down on Jan. 5 in a couple of days.  Whether or not they will reopen elsewhere remains to be seen.  They opened for business in 1981 and became known for their gigantic popovers that are crispy on the outside and eggy and cavernous on the inside.

I stopped by the cafe this past evening to have one last meal.   I opted to have brunch for dinner and ordered the Aegian Scramble.  The accompanying popover,  shmeered with the homemade  strawberry butter, was delicious.  Only now do I realize that I could have done without the scramble and instead devoured two or three more popovers.  That would have been a fine meal.  For anyone who doesn’t know,  a Popover Cafe popover is special.  Compare the popovers in this wikipedia article to the photos of the one that I had at the Popover Cafe.  The difference is (ahem) huge.

Some people might find it a bit odd that I am writing about the closing of a restaurant that I had only dined at two times prior to this last meal.  But it’s the Popover Cafe and there is no other place like it in NYC!  When the voice of a unique business, especially a restaurant, is silenced in NYC (let alone any city or town), the vibrancy of the metropolis diminishes.  Yes, the closing of Popover Cafe will provide an opportunity for another business to grow and possibly become beloved by customers.  Unfortunately, businesses that closed in the Upper West Side of Manhattan over the past eight or so years have been replaced by banal brands.

So, thank you Popover Cafe.  Hopefully you’ll find new life and a better lease somewhere in the neighborhood.  In the mean time, I’ll pop over next door to Barney Greengrass (the sturgeon king) and get a shmeer of a different kind.