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Archive for the ‘new york: tea & coffee’ Category

 

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[pink, frothy, savory]
New Naimat Kada
124 Lexington Ave (between 28th and 29th streets)
New York, NY
212-400-1166

In the belly: Vegetarian Samosa and Kashmiri Chai
Rating: Chai is very lickable.

If only the samosas at New Naimat Kada were a little bit tastier. A small Pakistani joint in Murray Hill, New Naimat Kada proudly displays platters of masala-ed fish and chicken, kababs, and two to three vegetarian items under a glass counter that greets customers. I’ve heard most of this food is quite good. The other night, I got a sizable, hot samosa from NNK, along with a cup of salty Kashmiri chai. For just $2.50, this could be the perfect hold-me-over snack, or a very cheap, very tasty breakfast/lunch/dinner. Sadly, other than the fried pastry, there is nothing enjoyable about these samosas- the potato filling has no seasoning or spice, and the filling is generally what differentiates good samosas from the rest. These were boring samosas.

The Kashmiri Chai, on the other hand, is fantastic. It is a luxurious drink: coral-pink, lightly salty, and scented with ground pistachios, almonds, and cardamom. It’s always hot, thick, and delicious- and after the first cup, most people tend to get over their hesitation regarding salty tea. I’m excited for the evenings to become brisk and cool, and the leaves to turn crispy and red. I’ll be walking down 28th street, a steaming cup of Kashmiri chai warming my hands.

Veg Samosa: $1; Kashmiri Chai: $1.50

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At Alice’s Tea Cup, an Alice in Wonderland inspired tea shop, you can pretend you’re in a fairy-tale. Let’s say my tea-palette isn’t the most discerning- I don’t pretend to know teas well, and I generally like most that I’ve tried. But, I am well-acquainted with playing make-believe, and that, I believe, is what this sweet, girly shop is all about. Scenes from the book adorn the walls, and tea is served from a teapot into mismatching cups and saucers. And the food is also excellent, and if you ever, as a child, wished you were English so you could partake in afternoon tea- a frequent wish of mine, since I read so many Enid Blyton books, where the kids gorged themselves every afternoon on warm scones and jam, and small sandwiches and mini pies– this is the place to fulfill that fantasy. The food, if you order enough, comes on a tiered stand, the abundance and selection prominently displayed.

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We didn’t order enough for the tiered stand- just a couple o’ scones and one sandwich. The scones- pumpkin, and banana chocolate chip, accompanied by cups of thick sweet cream and scarlet jams, were big and soft. The pumpkin scone -I love most pumpkin-flavored foods- was warm and spicy with a dusting of cinnamon and the faint taste of sugar. Spread with the sweet cream and tart, fruity jam, it tasted just as I had imagined teatime scones to taste like, as a child devouring Enid Blyton books.

We also ordered a sandwich to share- the Roasted Cumin Carrots with Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese on Semolina with Black Sesame Seeds. A mouthful of a name, and a mouthful of flavors, too. Filled with sweet, slivered carrots roasted with sharp-smelling cumin and placed against the smooth goat cheese, it was an unusual vegetarian find. However, it comes with a side salad, and vegetarians, beware: I have a terrible suspicion that the dressing that topped the salad has chicken stock? broth? or something non-veg in it. Besides that small, maybe imagined, snag, the tea experience was near-perfect.

Two scones with preserves and jam: $5; sandwich: $8

Alice’s Teacup has a bunch of locations (it’s a chain…), but I went to the one on 102 West 73rd Street, New York, NY.

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I had lunch at Hoomoos Asli the other day. It’s right next door to work, and although I rarely go there, it’s nice to know that there’s a good, cheap falafel place nearby. It’s a kosher place so they have no dairy products, and the people who work there insist (an order is written on the menu) that customers pronounce hoomoos phonetically as hooo-moos, not hummus. It gets busy at lunch time, especially for take-out, but we went a little early, and were seated right away.

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I ordered falafel and an Asli coffee, and my dining partner ordered a feast: lentil soup, chopped tomato salad, and a platter of hoomoos and tahini. We also got a side of a dark green spicy topping, made of what we believe to be parsley.

It was all great and fairly cheap- not the $2 falafel of Ali Baba’s, but $4.50 is a good price for a lunch sandwich in Soho. The falafel was hot and garlicky, but the real standout item here is the hoomoos. Once, I ate a plain hoomoos sandwich, with chopped tomatoes and fresh Israeli salad on top. So much hoomoos wasn’t overwhelming, like I thought it would be, because it was so darn delicious, and creamy but not heavy. The pitas are warm and fluffy like pillows in a hotel room – not the usual dry thin pitas that simply function as a way to keep the sandwich together but instead an integral part of the sandwich’s appeal. Later, I realized I could have gotten fries in my falafel- a Middle-Eastern vegetarian hoagie sounds so awesome. But, a good thing about Hoomoos Asli is that I always feel as though I’ve eaten a healthy meal after one of the falafel sandwiches- probably because everything is so super fresh.

My coffee was a complex delight, with the ground spices at the bottom that made it much more exciting than a regular coffee. My colleague said her soup was really tasty and I tried some of the tomato salad- lightly dressed in oil and garlic, it was juicy and addictive.

Hoomoos Asli is at 100 Kenmare Street, New York, NY. Tel: 212-966-0022.

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We went to Sympathy for the Kettle last night, to kill some time over tea. Really very cute inside, with lavender walls, flowers, and shelves full of teas, tea sets, and tea accessories. It’s a tiny place that reminded of of Sofi’s Crepes, where I used to work. A trillion teas on the menu. We ordered the White Needle tea (pot for 2) and a piece of red velvet cake. Both delicious and both pricey: the bill was $15. And we couldn’t finish the tea, though we sure did try, but after 3 cups each, we were too full of liquid (and I think there were about 3 cups still left in the pot). The cake was wonderful, with hints of mocha and a cream cheese dressing, but we couldn’t finish that either. Still… maybe nice for a girly date or something. Or in the winter.

Sympathy for the Kettle is at 109 St. Marks Place, New York, NY.

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A while ago, I spent a rainy morning in Queens at Omonia Cafe sipping a luxurious coffee mixed with mysterious spirits. The cafe is being renovated, so while there are numerous chairs outside, there is no indoor seating, and the waitress comes out from the depths of construction to take orders. I ordered the house coffee- the Cafe Omonia- and shortly after, a fierce rain fell out of the sky.

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For forty-five minutes, I watched drenched people running for safety, while I sat outside, dry under the cover of Omonia’s roof, warmed by the mysterious concoction in my hands.

Omonia Cafe also serves cake, which I didn’t really like, but it looks pretty good (the Napoleon is pictured above). It is at 32-20 Broadway, Astoria, NY.

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After work on Friday, Susan, Allison and I went to Ceci-Cela Patisserie for some cake and coffee. It was kind of a miserable Friday… ice poop was pouring from the sky and hitting our faces and it was windy and unfriendly. Susan and Allison were going to see The Namesake and needed to kill some time, and I just wanted some cake (I saw The Namesake last week and was highly disappointed…sorry Kal, it’s over now). I’ve always seen this French bakery…it’s right near the 6 train and sometimes I’ve stood outside, gazing in at the sweet tarts in the display window. But I never knew there was a seating area…which there is, if you squeeze through the narrow, tiny space where people line up to order their pastries to go, the store opens into a small little cafe with books lining the walls and apparently, cute boys everywhere (I missed them all, but Allison saw a bunch of them).
I got the Chocolate Raspberry Cake- a little pricey ($6.50) but whatever, it was a one-time, miserable Friday kind of thing:
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My cake was really good but also really heavy. It was also more “mousse-y” than cake…I don’t know if I liked that.

Allison got the Black Forest Cake, with brandy-soaked cherries (super soaked, I must say):
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And Susan got the “Financier,” a small, fruit-filled tart for only $2.50, which she said was delicious:
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