In the early '90s, when I first started to visit New York on a more or less regular basis, I had a difficult time finding good coffee to drink. That was just about the time I was discovering what good coffee was, of course, it being a specialty of — forgive me for being something of a geographical snob here — the Pacific Northwest.
And Italy, too, but that's a whole other story.
In any event, when I began visiting friends who lived in Manhattan — near the south end of Central Park — I had to look around for something than diner coffee. And, usually, I had to give the servers — I won't even call them baristas — directions on how to fix what I wanted (few, if any, seemed to understand the concept of an americano).
Over the years, things changed. The coffee got better, my friends moved out of the City, but my daughter went off to attend Fordham University, and she never moved back to Spokane. So, since 1997, my visits have gotten even more regular. And these days, decent coffee is easy to find, as my most recent visit to Brooklyn has once again proven.
Today, after indulging in my regular morning stop at Red Lantern Bicycles (see below), I took a long walk in search of what I thought was a bookstore I had located through Yelp. Turns out the store no longer exists (to which my daughter said in response to my questioning text, "Yelp schmelp"), so after a 20-plus-block march, I stopped by Bittersweet, a teensy coffer shop located nearly kitty corner from Fort Greene Park. And never has $2.75 bought me a more rewarding brew.
Not that you'll ever have the need to act the tourist in this part of the world. But if you do, Bittersweet can provide caffeine charge that will make the difference in your day — even one that Yelp threatens to spoil.