...by Gina DePalma
Undoubtedly, one of my very favorite things to do when I am in Italy is indulge in caffé, as often as I can, morning, noon and night. There is something about the ceremony of it all; ordering the coffee first from the cashier, waiting at the bar as my saucer and a spoon are placed carefully before me, the seemingly effortless moves of the barista and then, finally, the glorious cup itself, with creamy milk spiraled with shades of gold and deep brown, the thick and heady crema that teases you, hinting at the rich flavor contained below it. Nobody does coffee like the Italians.
The problem is, I can’t be in Italy all the time. Thank goodness, here in New York I can find an authentic Italian coffee experience uptown, downtown, and even in Brooklyn.
It is hard to find a better Italian-style cappuccino than the cup served at Sant Ambroeus. There are two fabulous locations to choose from, on West 4 th Street in the heart of the West Village, and on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. Their New York restaurants are modeled after the original Sant Ambroeus, opened in Milan in 1936; in keeping with that tradition they offer wonderful pastries or a perfectly prepared breakfast to go with your morning caffé indulgence. To be truly transported, stop at a newsstand that sells La Reppublica first, and you just might convince yourself that you are in Bella Italia.
1000 Madison Avenue , btw. 77 th and 78 th Streets, 212-570-2211
259 West Fourth Street , btw. Charles and Perry Streets, 212-604-9254
Next on my list is Via Quadronno, another Upper East side spot. Here, expert baristas dazzle you with their speed and their perfectly pulled shots of espresso and a beautifully presented cappuccino. I have a hard time drinking my cappuccino here, not wanting my spoon to disturb the lovely artwork made from foamed milk in the form of flowers, hearts and leaves. Try an Affogato al Caffé, a scoop of their wonderful vanilla gelato drowned in hot espresso.
25 E. 73 rd Street , btw. 5 th and Madison Aves., 212-650-9880
I am a Brooklyn girl myself, and one of my favorite spots to visit near home is D’Amico Foods. Not only do they sell their perfectly house-roasted beans (try the House Blend Dark Espresso Roast), but they can help you find the perfect machine, stovetop or electric, to help you brew fantastic espresso at home, Italian style. Need a milk frother? They’ve got that too. How about a professional grinder? No problem. Just walk in, put yourself in their expert hands, and you will walk out with everything you need to become your own favorite barista.
309 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-875-5043