I’m reaching the point in my New York coffee searches where I need to travel further and become more intrepid in order to find a (new) good cup of coffee. I’m really meaning to trek over to the Lower East Side soon to try Cafè Grumpy and I know that I still need to give Ninth Street Espresso a shot (hehe), but they’re a bit out of my way. And I have so many good places already, I just need to find the motivation and then I will be on my way, I promise.
Luckily, there have been some new cafes opening up (and, unfortunately, some gems like RBC NYC closing. you will be missed) that are in the neighborhoods I spend the most time in. Cafe Integral is one of those places.
When I’m home, I’m constantly checking where new cafes are, which cafe I should go to next and which place is getting the most news. It’s interesting, it’s fun. When at uni, however, these things barely enter my radar. But, this one did. I was checking my ipod as I was waiting for a hob to heat up. Flicking through new cafes I saw this one. It was in Soho. On Grand Street no less. I was practically there ordering my cappuccino before my plane took off.
But then I didn’t go for nearly a month. There were a variety of reasons and none of them, I’ll admit, were particularly any good. And now I’m kicking myself for waiting this long.
This was one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had in New York. Wait, scratch that, it was the best. Hands down. Better than Gimme! and better than Abraço and better than Cafe Grumpy.
Cafe Integral shares space with hip-hip clothing store American Two Shot. You wouldn’t know there was a cafe inside to pass by, unless they had the sandwich board up. It’s sort of nestled in, more so than Saturdays Surf. You have to walk through an interesting collection of neon striped socks to get to the coffee.
The counter is manned by Cesar Vega, the owner/barista of Cafe Integral. He stands behind his strada, calmly pulling shots and talking to customers. It all seems so casual, this guy is meant to be doing this.
And he makes espresso well, nay, brilliantly. The cappuccino I ordered came in the perfect 4 oz paper cup. It was strong, foamy and milky. It was thick, rich, smooth and chocolatey. You could taste the espresso, you taste the milk, you could taste the full experience. This, I thought, is what all cappuccini should be like.
I could go on, but I’d be distracting you from going there right now. A word of warning, they don’t serve decaf and the drinks are smaller than average. That means if you want a milky cappuccino (I wouldn’t blame you, I understand) you’d do best to order either a latte or flat white.
I’ll certainly be back, eager to try my way around the menu. I’m just thankful that I discovered this cafe so early on. And that it’s so centrally located in my little New York universe.
Do you look for new cafes/restaurants/book stores/whatever to try? Or do you prefer to stick with your tried-and-true?