QC Loves: Hi-Collar

09/11/2014 § 1 Comment

QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-CollarQC Loves: Hi-Collar

Admittedly, this was a discovery I made some time ago, but with the return of the polar vortex next week, it seems like the perfect time to share.  Hi-Collar in the East Village is a darling of a tiny kissaten — a Western-inspired Japanese coffee house — by day and a sake bar by night.  Siphon coffee, tea and small bites, both savory and sweet, are served with a precision and ritual you won’t find at any of those other coffee shops around the city.  It’s the perfect place for a meandering late afternoon — and if you can stretch your visit into the evening changeover, even better.

Hi-Collar
214 East 10th St.
New York, NY 10003

Disappearing Acts

08/08/2014 § 1 Comment

Porto RicoEvery morning on my way to the train at the West 4th Street station, I pass the Porto Rico Importing Co. at 201 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.  More of a coffee and tea store than a true coffee bar, it’s where I buy the coffee I use at home (try it out: Monsoon Malabar is my favorite).  It’s usually full of bench sitters and the usual bunch of parked cars, but today I happened upon a rare moment of quiet and a break in the traffic so that I could take the shot above.

As I took the picture, an eccentric-looking older gentleman ambled by and gruffly offered his two cents: “You know, places like that are disappearing around here.”  He then proceeded to point out the growing vacancies around Porto Rico, both new and old. I readily agreed with him and he eventually set off on his way down Bleecker, satisfied.

Vaguely familiar that Porto Rico has been around for some time — it does mention something about 1907 on the awning, at least — I did a bit of research and discovered that the ground floor of 201 Bleecker has been operated by the Longo family since the early 1900s, initially as a bakery and then later as the coffee and tea store we know today.  The current owner-operator, Peter Longo, is the third generation to run the store, the building having been bought by his grandfather in 1905 for $5,000.  Peter was born in the building, as well as his father before him.

For someone who’s only lived in the neighborhood for just over a year, it’s always exciting to learn more about longtime residents and businesses, but also to hear how the streets have changed.  The next time you find yourself on Bleecker, I definitely recommend that you stop by for a pound of coffee or perhaps a new tea — because it’s true, places like this are rapidly disappearing these days.

For a fuller story on Porto Rico, Alex Witchel at the NY Times wrote a great article on Peter and the store that you should also read.

Have a lovely (caffeinated) weekend!
M. xx

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Look at Life: The London Coffee Bar

01/02/2012 § 2 Comments

A charming British short tries to understand the London coffee bar craze, which started in 1952, when an espresso machine was set up in London Soho.  And of course now I’m searching for as many of the Look at Life clips as I can find…

Sidenote: Man, I wish I could’ve hung out with Iron Foot Jack

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