22 June 2007

Expresso Love

I am incredibly jittery but have had an excellent first full day in La Pomme Grande. This is, in part, due to some great coffee moments. The aforementioned 24-hour cappuccino maker at the hotel is amazing - it grinds the beans to-order and makes one of the best coffees I've had in America, all at the touch of a button. I would love one of my own but a) they're a bit out of my budget and b) it's so easy to make the coffee that I would probably have about 20 cups a day and would be even more shaky than I am now.

Great Coffee Moment #2 was my obligatory trip to Jack's Stir Brew, in the Village, which is by far my favourite coffee house in the city (not least because the coffee tastes great). It is tiny inside with only about 4 tables and I was lucky today because Jack, the owner, was there. Jack is incredibly good-looking and incredibly friendly. We had a good chat about the difficulty of finding decent coffee in New York (and in America more generally) before I sat down with my iced espresso macchiato and poppy seed bagel. Before too long, another incredibly gorgeous guy entered and as there were no free tables, he sat at mine (quel dommage). We ended up chatting for about two hours about all sorts of random things, from Texan country music to why Americans are so much friendlier than English people. He was from Texas but studying at NYU and hoping to be an actor one day (isn't everyone in New York?). He'd also spent his junior year of college in Oxford so we reminisced a bit about my hometown. Before I left to continue shopping, he gave me his Gmail address and told me to get in touch should I ever find myself in Austin and he would take me two-stepping (complete with cowboy hat and boots!). I'm sure the whole exchange would never had happened had we been in England. This is why I love America!

In non-coffee news, after a Shoreham Happy martini (melon vodka, pineapple, etc.) in the hotel's turquoise bar, we dined last night at P.J. Clarke's which is in the running for best burger in New York. They also have a decent wine list and the atmosphere is perfect: there is a lively crowd with a mixture of age-groups and great background music. I couldn't manage a pudding but the burger was great. We also amused ourselves by playing the girlfriend/daughter? game: 50-something guy with 25-ish girl at the table next door. I was leaning towards "daughter" until an even younger (20-ish) blonde showed up and I decided that she was the daughter and the older chick was her step-mom. Harsh but sometimes necessary. It was then getting on for 10 p.m. so having been up for over 20 hours, I called it a night.

This morning, I took my cappuccino for a walk in Central Park and then walked the 60 blocks down to Greenwich Village for assorted wandering, coffee-drinking, shopping and flirting opportunities. Then walked all the way back up, via Bloomies. Tonight, we're off to see some off-Broadway show and then the brother and I will hopefully hit the town with his NY friend. This certainly is the life...

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