I’m away from home a lot, not always able to start my day in my favorite way: making my own coffee. While other road warriors jot reminders of go-to bars and hotels away from home, my ever-growing list is of cafes that get it just right. Here are five such “diary entries,” starting with one from my NYC home base. Stay tuned for more cities and more cafes!
1. New York City, 2Beans
100 Park Ave, NYC
This place really gets it about providing a total sensorial experience. The look is elegant, contemporary Italian (they had me right there), with an expertly curated coffee and chocolate (the two beans!) shop that will blow you away. Chat with the friendly, expert staff, order a master crafted espresso or specialty coffee drink, and choose from the vast selection of high quality chocolates: ideal partners for fine coffee. Relax in the comfy upstairs lounge while that coffee and chocolate work their special magic on your palate, brain and soul. You’ll find a good selection of savory items for lunching or snacking.
2. San Francisco, Prima Cosa Caffe
One Embarcadero Center (street level), SF
This is a beautiful, traditional Italian café right in the heart of SF, with expertly crafted espresso and espresso-based drinks. The knowledgeable and friendly staff understand how a smile is part of great coffee experience. A full menu of savory foods and pastries adds to the experience, as does the nice outdoor seating, ideal for relaxing solo, meeting a friend, having a business meeting, or my favorite past time…people watching!
3. Miami, Intermezzo Café
1109 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL
This is a case of follow the crowds, as in the big ones that congregate at this Downtown café gem mornings and lunch times. The big brother of the Intermezzo Café at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel (just a five-minute stroll away), this beautiful Italian like café (OK, so I love my country!) seamlessly integrates a great American food concept, delighting hotel guests and passersby alike at the JW Marriott Hotel.
4. Long Beach, Portfolio Coffeehouse
2300 East 4th Street, Long Beach, CA
Awesome coffee and even more awesome food! This is the place for an outstanding breakfast or a delicious lunch or snack. Uber-talented baristas and chefs work hand in hand here to perfection, entertaining and engaging you with conversations about coffee (if they’re are not too busy!). Nice and cozy seating area, nice fellow customers. Come for the food, stay for the coffee…or vice versa!
5. Chicago, Bar Toma
110 E Pearson Street, Chicago, IL
Looking for that place with great food, fine wine and an ideal coffee experience all under one roof? The Windy City’s Bar TOMA is the place to go. The vision of famed chef/owner Tony Mantuano of restaurant Spiaggia, Bar TOMA is an awesome pizzeria (one of the best pizza in US…trust me, I know the real thing!), an excellent restaurant and wine bar with fresh, house made products (mozzarella, for example) and café serving the highest quality coffee. The espresso is one of the best in town, very well executed by knowledgeable barista.
And I couldn’t help but sneak one more on my list…
6. DC, Artisti del Gusto illy Caffé
1143 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC
This little café connected to the Renaissance Hotel in Dupont Circle is recognized as the finest Artisti del Gusto illy coffee and tea service retailer in the area. A major part of this high-quality experience is the staff. The baristas who work there are fabulous; always ensuring that your coffee is perfectly crafted and an experience rather than just a cup of Joe. It’s no surprise that people will walk miles to experience the beautiful atmosphere and top-notch quality of coffee!