Sometime’s we get into a rut when it comes to places to eat. We get used to what’s in the neighborhood and we forget what “great” is. I am somewhat of a coffee nut because I love excellent coffee.
Last year we considered running a “best of OG” coffee contest, but, to be honest, there is no superior coffee in the Grove (except at my house where I make it myself using a careful multi-step method.) The locals need to try harder if they want four coffee stars.
We didn’t do the contest because we didn’t want to offend those merchants in town who sell coffee. But now that we have broken the ice with our restaurant survey, feel free to comment below and tell us where the best coffee around here is–and that includes the towns nearby.
Meanwhile, if you are a foodie, sometimes you have to “go to the mountain.” I would suggest Italy or France, but that would be a dream. In the days when Little Italy was, well, Little Italy, you could go there and find great espresso and pastries.
But if we confine our quest to coffee and a croissant, I know a place near Greenwich Village—-It’s the Bruno Bakery at 506 LaGuardia Place. It is about two blocks from Washington Square Park, between Bleeker and Houston. You can sit outside, but first you go inside to make your selection. The display of baked goods was outrageous—I couldn’t decide, so I made an obvious choice—an almond croissant and a cup of the house coffee.
Then I went outside and waited—for about 3 minutes. The waitress smiled as she set in front of me a croissant from the gods—with a side of home made preserves. The outside was crunchy, but the inside was flaky and buttery with a kind of almond paste interspersed between the leaves of the pastry. The coffee was steamy hot and delicious. People walking by on the sidewalk glanced sideways to stare at my treat. I didn’t read my paper because I wanted a total experience.
I can’t share that treat with you, but at least I brought a picture. I texted Eileen with the photo, and even though she is on a diet, she confessed that she would have fallen off the wagon for that snack.
SOUNDTRACK: This food requires music that is soft and Italian (like the girl I took to the prom) that doesn’t detract from the goodies. So that lets Louie Prima out. But here is Ocean Grove’s own Ronald Naldi who creates just the right mood with “Santa Lucia.”