destination: verve coffee roasters, |33 grand street pop up| williamsburg, brooklyn
mileage: 4 miles on foot (…+ 6 miles pedal pushing)
musical inspiration: winter mix
saturday’s december heat wave (reaching 55 degrees) along with me not wanting to waste precious daylight underground led to a six mile pre/post-run bike ride to “pick up” my weekend running buddy for our destination to williamsburg. i haven’t moved my two wheeler from it’s comfy nook in oh, i dunno, maybe since summer time. (yes, i’m ashamed). thankfully i wasn’t too rusty, though the tires on the other hand were lacking a little more air than i had hoped, they still got me to my destination in one piece.
the run wasn’t much to write home about. we got a wonderful view of…industrial brooklyn. us gals held a steady pace and breezed right through the four miles with a little energy to spare. it feels good to know i can take a few days (…or a week) off and bounce right back to pounding the pavement.
a fellow coffee admirer recently recommended i take the opportunity to destination to verve coffee roasters, who recently set up a little holiday pop-up cafe (teaming up with rudy’s barbershop and polar clothing company) in williamsburg. being a pop-up and all, they aren’t planning on getting too comfy in brooklyn, which i find to be rather unfortunate.
this isn’t rudy’s first rodeo with the espresso + trim marriage - last holiday season they teamed up with stumptown coffee. the barber shop slash espresso bar tag team seems to be a trendy new wave washing over brooklyn at the moment (parlor coffee at persons of interest is still on the DR list). will it last? who knows, but i dig the collaborations.
verve shares a decent sized space with rudy’s barbershop and portland based clothier poler (rumor has it, they might be more of a permanent fixture). they occupy the front area of the store with a bit of counter space, a La Marzocco Strada EP and Chemex brew bar, a dedicated grinder for single origin espresso, and a little wooden coffee rail accompanied by a few sturdy stools. a cozy, sink-right-in-when-you-sit kinda couch comfortably welcomes a group of three, four if you’re not opposed to being nice and snug. this perfect trio evokes a very north eastern winter meets airy west coast charm; everyone working radiates a sort of warm, neighborly, altruistic san francisco vibe. it’s charming.
now, i’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means. i just happen to be a gal with a soft spot for coffee who needed a motivation to run and desires to share her adventures, all in hopes to inspire you to get out there and explore brooklyn’s coffee culture (and to get your body in motion). so what i may fancy, you may not. such is life, right? oh, and of course experience and company plays a huge role as well, am i wrong?
that being said lets get back to the coffee.
i doubled up on the street level espresso - well aware that my source knows his coffee, i figured i shouldn’t mess around.
i’ve been very hesitant to order an espresso lately. honestly, i’ve got a special place in my heart for the espresso blend we serve up at my home base in tribeca. i ordered it anyway. i figured, if anything, i’ll just order something else afterward. here’s one for the record: caffé vita has some competition. it’s not an espresso i usually favor; street level (which i was told is a blend of two beans from guatemala) finishes with a little after bite of citrus, which you must know by now i’m not a huge fan of. but i’m telling you, they’ve created a fantastic balance; the citrus doesn’t over power and make your tastebuds freak out.
and just because i’m a sucker for a cup of black coffee, i got one for the road. (health coach or not, coffee is my vice). today’s easy going barista said she was brewing kochere from ethiopia. why not try it out? at first sniff, kochere had a lingering aroma of blueberry pancakes (instantly made me hungry) and notes i couldn’t quite put my finger on until reading up on it: meyer lemon. that lemony, slightly sweet, not overly acidic lingering mouthfeel. didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. drank the whole cup and was completely content besides having a slight case of the caffeine shakes.
if you live in the neighborhood, stop by. if you don’t, run your butt over there and show your support (maybe bribe them to stay a little longer). they’ll be doling out coffee and camp//hipster gear through the end of january.
east coast love,
destination: el rey, lower east side, new york
mileage: 6 miles
musical inspiration: the xx
i’ve crossed the williamsburg bridge before with the same bridge runner i mentioned in the previous post, but there’s nothing quite like defeating a bridge on your own accord.
most people want to tell you it’s not about the destination, but the journey. i get it. this six mile journey over the desolate bridge was pretty remarkable and inspiring. but that doesn’t mean the destination (this time around consisting of coffee + life talks with a dear friend) doesn’t have to be put into consideration.
i’ve stopped looking at which roaster cafés serve prior to running there. for instance, say by chance they offer stumptown and for some oddball reason i think their coffee is over roasted (ehem…just sayin’), the cafe already has a strike before i even get there. it’s just not right, plus, i am a gal that loves surprises anyway.
i’ve passed el rey a handful of times on my stroll down stanton street to yoga. if you blink, you’ll miss it. there is a painted sign on a sort of pillar outside the door that whispers it’s name. inside, however, a cursive, neon, turquoise sign screams: el rey.
my old destination partner in crime would appreciate this place. for starters they are playing cold play (her favorite), but mostly because of the lighting. i’m sure i’ve mentioned this before, but sarah taught me a lot about atmosphere and lighting in my own space and i’ve come to notice it much more intensely in places i venture to on my destinations. it’s soft, yet still bright; a bit like a brisk winter morning on a snowy day.
the menu is written on a large mirror lining the wall behind the baristas. it is true, mirrors do make a place appear and feel much more vast than they are. there are three high top tables and a drink rail lining the window (both inside and outside).
as i held my breath to see their roaster of choice, i quietly let out a sigh of relief when i noticed the big five pound bags of counter culture. honestly, you’d be shocked to know i’m not a complete coffee snob, but after a brisk december run, all i ever really crave is a delicious, warm cup of coffee and maybe some oj.
the heavenly looking baked goods are done in house. an assortment of cakes: carrot cake, coconut honey, and banana sesame lined the middle shelf. not sure what was up with me this week, but i just wasn’t feeling like my coffee needed a sweet treat companion. guess i’ll have to retrace my steps ;)
back to the coffee. counter culture is a great go to; it’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely right up there. personally, i feel like their rustico roast of choice is a pretty forgiving one (in the absolute best way possible). it offers a good cushion for baristas, especially those in training. i feel like most cafes that offer counter culture serve rustico for espresso. it’s a bit complex, but i appreciate the challenge it gives me to pick up on a flavor profile. it’s the same profile i get from most espresso i fall passionately in love with: chocolate and stone fruit, maybe a hint of sugar…brown sugar. that molasses note that sneaks up at the end tastes a bit like brown sugar. it’s no vita. honestly though, i don’t envy any cafe that has to follow that destination run, but someone has to.
can’t make it in for a morning pick me up? that’s alright. stop by after work for a craft beer on tap. i know if i ever get to opening a place it would be quality coffee during the day and local craft beer on tap in the evening (…or afternoon).
doing good el rey, doing good.
the only thing between my new nikes and caffé vita was the ultimate tourist trap: the brooklyn bridge. and who better to defeat that iron and steel beast on a windy, thirty degree morning with than the bridge runner herself, miss sal morrone. i wouldn’t say bridges are my strength (unless we are starting at the middle of the bridge and going down) but they are without a doubt empowering. hello runners high! another bridge bites the dust. (clap, clap).
squeezed into a 120(ish) square foot space on ludlow (a street more known for their whiskey shots than espresso shots) you will find THE caffé vita.
on my first adventure to this coffee shack a few months past, i went a little out of my comfort zone and opted for the kyoto (an eighteen hour slow drip that packs a powerful punch). for a gal that can barely handle a double espresso without getting the shakes, i clearly had no idea what this liquid gold was capable of. i’m only slightly exaggerating when i say you could see my heart beat through my shirt when i stumbled out. this time around, i was a bit wiser. while scoping out the menu, the barista made it known he was eager to get our order and get on with his tasks (in the friendliest way possible mind you). after cautioning sal about the kyoto, we opted to play it safe with PacNors (yes, this is yet another name for the cortado//gibraltar).
while the coffee master was busy executing the order, i eyed the pastries. “ceci cela?” check. i’m not sure if i should be proud or not to know that i can now tell which bakery the pastries are coming from. either way, no harm done with a little pat on the ol’ back. after clearly being indecisive, i could feel sal glaring at me with the “let’s not be ridiculous, we both know damn well what you are going to order,” look. sometimes i surprise myself, but nah, not today. pain au chocolat it is. trés bon, ceci cela.
as for the PacNors? utter perfection. the corners of my mouth delightfully turned up and were pinned into dimples for the time being. yes, a perfect cup of coffee can tickle me pink. (i know i’m not the only one with a coffee vice). caffe del sol is their signature espresso blend. although rich and complex, it remains soft and smooth with a sweet caramel finish. sigh.
it’s tough to describe this pocket sized roastaria. if it wasn’t for the enormous neon punchinello sign glaring at you as your turn off rivington, i’d say it would be quick to miss. dark, but not too dark. busy, but not too busy. intimate, but not too intimate. fitted with just enough room for counter space (equipped with a la Marzocco GS2 espresso machine) and a slender drink rail, it’s not particularly conducive for sipping on premisses, which i kind of loved. oh, they did, however, thankfully manage to make room for their small century old probot and gothot roaster near the back. priorities first people.
a few interesting tidbits…
pioneers of the farm direct movement, this independent, locally owned eight years young company was born in seattle. they are constantly traveling the globe in pursuit of exceptional coffees that meet high standards of environmental and social sustainability.
it’s not very often that you stumble upon a company that insists each and every coffee they purchase have a fully traceable path from farm to roaster. that’s not just love. that, my fellow coffee admirers, is passion.
these in-house roasters take pride in what they do. using vintage probat and gothot roasters allows them full manual control over the process and the ability to monitor and adjust every stage of flavor development. sadly, each time i’ve wandered in it just so happens to be on a non- roasting day.
i am smitten. Vita, if i may, you have easily stolen my coffee loving heart and i hands down deem you unrivaled. (at least in manhattan; brooklyn, we should agree, is on a whole different playing field).
destination: ap cafe, bushwick, brooklyn
mileage: 5 miles
musical inspiration: fall mix
much to my luck, on my first destination run to bushwick, i’ve stumbled upon a diamond in the rough.
a co-worker of mine, who is quite the coffee snob (really, aren’t all us baristas?), has mentioned this place to me a handful of times over the past couple of months. his girlfriend lives close by and apparently it’s all the rage (yeah, i know, an outdated term, but it’s fitting).
after losing my sense of direction a few times (blaming it on all the construction going on), zig-zagging from what felt like one end of brooklyn to the next (thank god for google maps), i stumbled upon ap cafe. an open, airy, divinely minimalist espresso bar that has generously opened its floor to ceiling glass doors not too long ago to the lucky coffee-addicts and freelance crowd of bushwick. owners and designers, brothers Netic Rebel & Ryan Grant, along with friends Wes Mapes and Hugo McCloud, “wanted to take on something completely different and challenging” and went on to renovate their workspace by hand in just over six months; apparently all of them have scars to prove it.
a large, open, concrete place that you wouldn’t think twice about considering comforting on a thirty degree november morning, was a prefect escape from the brisk brooklyn air. thankfully, they aren’t shy about blasting the heat in order to keep their customers warm and cozy. i could spend hours there. modern white chairs are lined up against hand crafted wood tables. a few grey stone benches pop against the radiant white walls. and the only things adding a subtle hint of color are a few succulents here and some wispy grass there. it’s noticeable that customers were easily mesmerized by the indoor waterfall; watching water streaming effortlessly, silently, into a floor of smooth stones. it brings an ironic zen vibe into a place most will go to perk up.
to my surprise, (or maybe not, i’m in bushwick i keep forgetting) customers are still ordering ice cold coffee through their chattering teeth. the baristas on the clock were warm, calming, and lovingly chill. if you walked in tense from the brisk air, you will soon be loosened up and later depart with a “have a warm day” farewell.
then you add la colombe coffee to the mix, and i’m home. although the coffee menu offers up your classic espresso concoctions (with a couple odd ball, more exotic drinks), the infamous cortado was MIA. not too worry, because the macchiato, served up in a glass, was just the right amount in all aspects. i’ve raved about la colombe’s signature espresso blend (nizza) before, but i must say, it’s hard to find a cafe outside nizza’s home base that gives the bean the love it deserves. ap really nailed this one, at least today’s barista did. a slight touch of milk always seems to enhance the blends’ fragrant, caramel and nutty notes.
psst! added bonus: they have almond milk!
as far as pastries are concerned, they carry your typical espresso bar baked goods (shout out to choice bakery). oh, and dough donuts. unfortunately (or not) the first time around i always have to go for the ritual: pain au chocolat. every bite of choice’s over sized croissant was perfect and flakey.
apparently they have a frequent visitors card. i’ll be back for that.
…and maybe a dough donut.
peace + love bushwick,
destination: konditori, cobble hill, brooklyn
mileage: 4 miles
musical inspiration: lumineers
it’s no secret by now that i have a weakness for a charming cafe, but a charming cafe on the weekend can have me loitering around for a bit longer than usual. most individuals that aren’t tagging along with their children get annoyed with the quick pattering of footsteps and the minnie mouse voices, but honestly, i adore it. like today, there was nothing more darling than this little blonde hair three year old bundled up sipping a big girl hot cocoa and picking at a shared bagel all while hosting a squeaky conversation with her dad; just the two of them. makes my heart melt.
at first sight konditori is bright, but still warm and comforting. the open area sits quite a few, but either way everyone seems to be content with pushing over to make room for more. there are six raw wooden tables surrounding the entrance area and a bar at each of the front windows with leggy metal chairs that look as though that same three year old might have assisted in painting. but i dig the brush stroke look. as you move toward the back past the coffee bar and beyond the juice bar there sits a foosball table which, to be honest, is looking a little dusty.
"unforgettable" is playing & grandpa sweaters are surrounding me. aw, yes, here we go. ‘tis the season; my favorite season. autumn typically has a life span of about three, maybe four weeks (that might be pushing it). then, before halloween has it’s chance to spook us and the post thanksgiving sandwiches are assembled, we find ourselves firing up the christmas records and humming jingles on our way to work. (i’ll let you in on a little secret, i’m that barista who doesn’t get sick of Christmas music [ever], but promises to not be an ear soar until at least the day after thanksgiving).
new guy on the menu (at least to this new gal): maple sap drinks - description came with a bit of a “uh, chick, you just answered your own question” look. whatever smiley, just trying to make conversation here, and you know what they say when you ASSume. just so i don’t leave you hanging, it’s basically any drink with maple syrup added. don’t worry, you didn’t scare me off, i’m now even more determined to make you smile.
well, i’m back on my cortado kick (acting as if i ever really fell off that band wagon). konditori works with a brooklyn roaster to formulate an exclusive process for roasting their beans. they should really stop being so exclusive and let us all in on their secret because it’s pretty damn good, at least their espresso is. (shhh…their sweedish roast drip is a bit watered down). not only are they good at keeping a straight face, the coffee slingers are fantastic at creating cortados. i’m not as desperate for coffee art work as i am for flavor, so when i didn’t receive a heart decal i wasn’t too upset about it. the rich, smooth almost chocolate-like espresso married well with the creaminess of the milk. and with that, i was more than satisfied.
so, not only is this joint a sweedish coffee house built for gatherings or where one goes for coffee breaks:
KONDITORI (noun) \Khan- da- tor- ree\:
1: Traditional Swedish gathering place to enjoy friends over great coffee, fine baked goods and confections.
2: Where one goes for a coffee break
…it’s also a juice bar! i know what you’re thinking: “two of my favorite things in one spot?” yup. haven’t lied to you yet, i’m not going to start now.
färsk (sweedish for fresh, incase you haven’t been brushing up lately), is the name of the juice area. i’ve been here twice and each time there is a new, engaging,spunky mixologist manning the juice counter. the baristas could use a little bit of whatever they are juicing up; it seems like what they are grinding over in their neck of the woods could be to blame for their slight pretentiousness. ironically though i get it, i’ve been there. maybe more baristas should join me on destination run, it’s quite the eye opener.
oh, and the pastries? heavenly. (none of which are over $3 by the way). more gluten free options than i’ve yet to lay eyes on in a single establishment, and they don’t look dried out either. i opted for the cheddar and chive biscuit (no, it was not gluten free). they also have about 20 glass jars housing an assortment of novelty cookies and a small selection of hand rolled kettle boiled bagels lining the back wall of the coffee bar. amongst all the typical pastries are the sweedish: cardamon bread (coffee bread with almond filling) and homemade coco balls.
update: we got a giggle out of the barista! woohoo! (oh man, i’m really glad I’m doing the blogging and it’s not the other way around).
konditori, we welcome you to cobble hill. i know it is your mission to aspire to combine the hominess of sweedish coffee culture with the edginess of brooklyn, and from these coffee infused brown eyes i’d say you’re doing a fine job at it.
with love + jitters,
destination: coffee mob, ditmas park, brooklyn
mileage: 3 miles
musical inspiration: avicii radio
at last…coffee mob! i’ve heard about this little treasure in ditmas park quite frequently lately and finally was able to cross it off the destination running list.
seating is rather intimate, maybe enough for ten if you can get creative. there is some room to cozy up near the large front window, and three tables attached along the side wall with just enough for two at each. i’d say they’ve done pretty well with the size of the space they have. the lighting is what really strikes me first; the sun is angled perfectly through the window and the lights are dimmed, if they are even on at all, through large red globes on the ceiling.
currently spinning on the vynl: “when you’re strange, no one remembers your name…” - the doors
the record player adds a classic touch; knowing that you’re being serenaded by hand picked vynl rather than a ‘thumbed-up’ pandora station or a barista’s thrown together playlist is, in a way, humbling.
prior to ordering i decided to again polish up my question asking skills. there were a couple random coffee items that provoked my interest that i needed deciphered:
one. lil cutie: besides your favorite customer (eh, maybe that would be lil hottie?), it’s otherwise known as the perfect name for a macchiato that comes in the tiniest, “cutest” rather, glass mug you’ve ever seen.
two. mojado: (yes, i googled it, and there are many meanings…) described by the CM baristas as a short americano or what will soon be known in tribeca as a “babycano”
stylish touch: water served in a tall glass with a stone coaster. classy.
i was well aware that they carried baked goods from ceci cela, but was pleasantly surprised when above the pastry case there sat a wooden sign that read: clementine bakery. bonus points. of course though i went on to ask about them. (figured i was letting the dudes behind me off the hook with all my questions)…
"they all look pretty delicious, but what’s your favorite?" numero uno: apple turnover. i’m going to assume that the look on my face wasn’t loving his suggestion (i’m not a HUGE fruit pie fan nor very good at hiding my expressions). he quickly recommended i try his second favorite which is the chocolate almond croissant. ahhh…now you’re speaking my language! i’m pretty picky when it comes to my croissants (shocker, i know). a simple, buttery, flakey croissant is usually my go-to, but sprinkle on some sliced almonds and layer some chocolate in the middle and i’m sold.
toby’s estate has been their go-to. today though, they decided to switch things up a bit, at least with their espresso. lucky me! panther coffee from miami is the new guy around coffee mob and quite possibly in brooklyn in general. they started off using panther’s east coast blend. it tastes like a rather light roast, but still quite creamy with a little hint of chocolate in there. it’s a blend that i will be sure to try sans the milky addition, which means i’ll have to forfeit my cortado next time around.
over heard: (barista to customer as they walked in as the sun was shining through)…”you just brought the sun…you lit up.”
a couple jugs of seemingly delicious cold brew find a home on the counter. the thick, dense, liquid gold looks serious. i wasn’t looking to sprint home so i opted to leave that taste test for the next time around.
the guys are mellow, good natured, knowledgable and down to earth; this all seemed second nature to them. obnoxious customers are handled effortlessly. patience truly is a virtue. you, dear barista in the purple sweater, are a customer service saint to put up with the sugar fiend you handled so well. as a barista myself, who will be headed to fuel tribeca’s coffee addicts shortly after this post, i will try my damnest to keep in mind your calm, good humored composure.
until we meet again,
destination: milk and honey, flatbush, brooklyn
mileage: 3 miles
musical inspiration: avicii radio
instant thoughts upon sweaty arrival: ‘it’s in my honey, it’s in my milk.” - sorrow, the nationals. (instantly download if you have no idea what i’m talking about - also, shame on you).
to be quite honest, i did not expect the homey, comforting ambiance that this cafe had to offer: soft lighting, industrial design, handmade wooden tables accompanied by metal chairs (sans cushions - that’s one way to keep the wifi thieves at bay), a bit of jazz playing from a distant speaker and, one of my favorites, counter culture coffee. you might just be as perfect as they come milk and honey.
i’ve learned from a dear friend of mine that i need to start asking more questions. today is one of those days i decided to work on it…poor barista. after asking him which muffins were in the case, he kindly list the varieties (i’m sorry, but if there aren’t name tags sir i just can’t assume what i’m getting is going to be a carrot bran muffin, am i wrong?). i then followed up with my least favorite barista question “what’s your favorite?” like i said, i’m working on it. with a slightly humbled, slightly irked smile he shrugged “eh…i like the blueberry one.” guess what? i like the blueberry, too! though the muffin was delicous with just the right amount of sweetness crownded with a slightly crunchy top, i favored the fact that it wasn’t an american sized muffin (aka. the size of my hand, spread out) it was a ‘normal’ or what some would call a ‘mini’ muffin.
like i mentioned before, counter culture are their beans of choice at milk and honey. funny thing is, i was talking with that same dear friend i mentioned earlier who is currently in charelston, and as we were chatting about our cafe experiences this morning and sending photos from across the states, we realized we were both sipping on the same thing: counter culture made cortados. i’ve come to understand the beans a little better; I always let my drink sit a bit before drinking, it seems to somehow cut down on the acidity that i notice at first sip, why? maybe you can answer that for me? as far as the cortado is concerned, the drink isn’t always the same experience everywhere you go. let’s be honest, when it comes to cortados, size does matter and today it was a perfect size glass; equal ratio of rich espresso and creamy milk.
as the crowd started to pack in for an early brunch (11am on a saturday is early in brooklyn), i decided to ship out.
oh, yes, and when things are overheard that i find charming, i simply have no other choice but to share them with you:
"i turned you back into a man, oh, and i turned your sword into a fairy wand." - ah, to be 5 again…
tally-ho milk & honey,
destination: patisserie florentine, englewood, new jersey
mileage: 3.4 miles, Flat Rock Brook “Run in the Wild,” 5k Trail Run
musical inspiration: michelle, moby & sarah, thievery corporation
a year ago today, michelle and i completed our first ever 5k, only a couple of months after we started running altogether. after moving upstate a few months back i have been missing my dear friend michelle and our memorable runs. so when i found out that the same race was being held again this year i was 100% in.
i had been sick for 2 full weeks before the run and i must admit it was one of the hardest races i have done. my legs felt like jelly and the hills were dreadful however having michelle by my side (or in my front) was so sincerely comforting and motivating that i probably could have ran 10 miles more.
we laughed from morning till night and had the chance to rehydrate or dehydrate with a lovely coffee and pastry in the town of englewood, nj. company trumped the coffee however the delicate european ambiance was flawless. the almond croissant was just how i like it, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. the pastry chef was assembling fruit tartlets in plain view and i have to say that she sure looked like she knew what she was doing.
all in all, it was such an amazing day. being reminded of how lucky you are to have a beautiful, loyal and heartwarming friend was worth the tough climb through the woods. where michelle runs, i will follow.
so long for now!
up until recently, sarah and i have been running together, consistently motivating one another to wake up at the crack of dawn to get each others feet on the floor and heart rates rising. after packing up and venturing upstate for the summer we don’t get the chance to run together much anymore, so what better way to reunite than our one year race anniversary? together we conquered the woodsy path for the second year in a row, dodging it’s natural hurdles (rocks, roots, and defeated trees). races like this are exhilarating; there’s nothing like running wild through the calmness of the woods. add your bestie to the mix and you’ve got yourself a running party!
unlike the previous year, this year we were in search of a destination to share with you all. englewood only has a few coffee houses to pick from, prime retail seemed to have been snatched up by the green mermaid. luckily we stumbled upon a charming little place with a french flair, parisian music, and a bit of hebrew dialect accenting the background noise.
behind the rows (i’m not even kidding, there were rows) of baked goods sat a stunning, silver, piston operated Astoria espresso machine - not something you typically see in cafes, especially outside the city. while the barista created our coffees, we gladly snatched up our croissants and parked it by the window.
our macchiatos were served in petit glass flutes, accompanied of course by a house-made macaroon. as far as the coffee is concerned, i regret to say i’m not even sure on the type they use, maybe because it wasn’t one in particular i’d travel back for. it had a slight citrus note to it - we decided on hint of lemon peel at the finish. though the espresso wasn’t our preferred type, the croissants (the most important part of a patisserie, mind you) were definitely worth another trip. not until leaving did we realize they actually have a full breakfast menu, but next time we’ll be sure to take full advantage.
as we sit basking at the sunlit table awaiting our macchiatos and enjoying our well deserved pastries, i am reminded again why we started this whole thing; simply to have ‘an excuse’ to get in a bit of exercise, laugh, chat, listen, motivate and, most importantly, to inspire each other to be the best possible versions of ourselves we can be and that’s exactly how it went.
sarah sue - a constant reminder that soul friends exist.
destination: tip of the tongue, baked and brewed - prospect park, brooklyn
mileage: 6 miles
musical inspiration: bahamas
perfectly situated next to the prospect park q/b/s lines - these guys have a genius spot for a cafe as the morning commuters hustle towards the metro and runners saunter back from the prospect park 5k loop to refuel.
i’m going to go ahead and say i consider myself a regular there now; mostly stopping by to grab a coffee after my morning run but i’ve also had a couple meetings there because not only is the coffee exceptional, the atmosphere is ideal. a rustic look done right with the ‘bar’ area and walls made out of a paint chipped wall trim (or what looks to be wall trimming, correct me if i’m wrong), surrounded by a couple gorgeous high top wooden tables and swivel bar stools. each table is garnished with delicate flowers in miniature vases.
forty weight is their roaster of choice here and Tip of The Tongue and it’s the first time i’ve ever tasted it - to say i’m obsessed would only be a slight exaggeration. their espresso roast at TOTT has a citrusy bite (which i’m normally not a fan of) but then it follows up with a sweet chocolatey finish. simply perfection. i’ve indulged in a macchiato, gibralter (iced and hot), iced tea, iced coffee (cold brew style. done and done.) as well as their lemonade. i’ve yet to be disappointed.
not a coffee drinker? first off, thank you for being a non-coffee devoted destination running reader! thankfully though for your type they also offer coffee alternatives: fresh brewed iced tea and a daily lemonade - trust me, i’ve had both and they’re worth the trip. iced tea is far from being over brewed and bitter and the lemonade is a perfect combination of sweet and sour.
along with a slew of pastries, cakes and cookies they offer up a few breakfast items to the morning crowd and some daily specials to the lunch crew. recently they’ve had a baked blueberry french toast that looked absolutely divine. they always offer up an assortment of individual quiche or some scrambled eggs paired with fruit and a house-baked croissant. the lunch menu typically offers up a few daily sandwich options or you can be adventerous and opt for the cheese plate paired with a ginger tomato chutney! last weeks salad options were a watermelon and blue cheese salad or a ‘crazy caprese’ assembled with green zebra tomatoes, purple basil and a balsamic, black raspberry vinaigrette - both looked as beautiful as they sound.
typically i’m there in the mornings and of course that’s when the attached bakery is cooking up homemade pastries - imagine saying no to a homemade croissant fresh out of the oven. yeah, not happening. the aroma in this intimate 30ish person cafe engulfs each and every stomach that wanders through the door. the scones literally melt in your mouth, in particular the ginger scone that has little bits of candied ginger through out.
genius idea: a to-go window. i’ve seen this a couple of times in brooklyn now and i think it’s ideal for the rushed morning customer. though i’m not quite sure how it works at this cafe - who gets served first? the customer daring to face the pastries or the not so rebellious one idling outside not wishing to fall victim to the array of baked goods on the other side of the window?
to top it off, the owner is a real people person and the staff is super friendly (and apparently neighborhood locals)- keeping their cool even as pushy customers feel they’re entitled to talk down to the one in charge of creating their drink - tsk tsk.
well done Tip of The Tongue. we definitely needed a gem like you to call home on this side of the park. welcome to the neighborhood!
destination: roogla, cobble hill, brooklyn
musical inspiration: great gatsby soundtrack (it’s pretty good…)
i’ve been here a handful of times now, a few runs and a few meetings, and each time has been a completely different but wonderfully pleasant experience. i actually came opening day for a meeting and we were gifted free coffee in hopes of getting us to return - although the baristas were rather suave, i assure you it was for no other reason than to keep business steady in the days ahead. the baristas are extremely knowledgable about what it is they are serving up. one in particular this weekend mentioned about how she used to work with a handful of local roasters one being forty weight, which, by the way, is a roaster that has quickly become my new obsession. roogla will be featuring forty weight coffee this coming week so make sure to stop by! on non-special occasions they stick with intelligentsia beans, which seem to be doing a fine job at bringing them their repeat customers. to be honest, intelligentsia slipped my mind for a bit. not many cafes i’ve been to recently feature them so it’s become a nice treat whenever they pop up unexpectedly.
cortados, as you must know by now, are my go to when destinationing, but with new york’s summer being right on par with the unmentionable heat and humidity, iced is my new go to. the roast of choice for iced coffees changes weekly (possibly daily?). the barista warned me it’s a double strength coffee straight from the steampunk (oh yeah, they have a steampunk!) which is graciously poured over ice. the blend i had was a single origin from intelligentsia: los inmortales el salvador, for a mere three bucks! the single origin was a bit creamy, with hints of cherry and vanilla to it - let’s just say no additives were needed. i’ve also had their cortado made with almond milk both hot and over ice with the intelligentsia analog espresso blend; it’s rich, chocolatey smoothness each time leaves me craving more.
another thing they have going for them? these mini croissant type pastries they call rugelach. either savory or sweet, be it chocolate, caramel, feta or garlic, I promise you, you can’t go wrong. oh, and they’re baked in house! imagine: the aromas of fresh baked bread intertwined with coffee beans. light bulb: a perfect bouquet of scents to bottle up in candle form!
it’s quiet inside roogla, apart from the baristas chatting about the company and the business of coffee. around four on a blistering hot sunday afternoon the place is home to myself and a few who roam in, grab their coffee and quickly saunter back out into the heat (or coffee less if there were hunting down a bathroom - they are toilet less). there are stools against the window which over looks smith street wanderers. on the other side of the cafe are a couple unique tables, one with bike parts strategically placed under glass. i’m not quite sure if they were created by “the artist at work: khalil chistee, who is creating furniture for roogla that you won’t see anywhere else in the world,” or if this is temporary and there is more stuff on it’s way. either way, i dig it.
as i mentioned a bit earlier, they are owners of a steampunk. they are actually the second place that decided to offer up the steampunk option, first was the philly based la colombe at their lafayette and east fourth street location. rumor has it, kaffe 1668 is changing over from pour over to steampunk. hmmmm…looks like we’ve spotted the next trend to hit the coffee world.
all-in-all roogla, you’re a lovely one! you might not be my ideal atmosphere to sit and make myself at home, but if you keep making coffee like you do i’ll certainly be happy to make myself a regular.