I have often said, half-jokingly, that I would go anywhere for coffee. This sentiment refers to drives through the very Jewish section of Williamsburg to get Gimme Coffee on Roebling street, walks along Eastern Parkway into could-be Crown Heights and into the Bearpit of Bristol. While I’m never actually venturing anywhere dangerous, I was reminded in a surprising way of that joke.
I took the metro to the beautifully named Chateau Rogue, envisioning walking into an arrondisment that was adorned like Versailles, or something of that ilk. Instead, I exited onto the colorfully named Rue du Poulet, Chicken Street. Maybe it was the people who were trying to outdo each other on umbrella sales, the fact that they seemed very scared and began running when a police car drove by or the generally dilapidated state of the buildings, but I soon realized I didn’t stumble into an idyllic countryside palace. Fortunately, the street was short and, once past it, I was back into a regular Williamsburg-of Paris neighborhood.
When I was planning my trip to Paris in January, I read about Black Market and put on my must-go list. I didn’t make it that trip — it was too far — but when I saw that I would be staying nearby on my most recent stay, I immediately knew that my trip would include a coffee at Black Market.
And, my goodness, am I glad it did.
Like in many European cities, most stores shut down on Sunday in Paris, leaving you to really examine your life or hang out with friends over brunch (an increasing possibility). While I wasn’t feeling much like brooding or brunching, an excellent cup of coffee did sound quite nice. Even with most of the city closed, Black Market was crowded with customers. I sat down at the end of the communal table, glanced at the menu and quickly ordered my noisette when the waiter/barista popped on over.
The pace was slow, fittingly so for Sunday. By the time my coffee and a little glass of water arrived, I was ready to start sipping it. It was fantastic, one of the best coffees I’ve had not in Paris, but anywhere. It was rich and nutty with a pleasing tongue-coating chocolate taste. I wanted the cup to go on and on, but I managed to finish it too quickly.
Unlike other Parisian coffee shops, which seem surprisingly curated in their disarray, Black Market had a pleasing messiness that I normally associate with New York coffee shops. It was cozy and an easy place in which to hang out. The food there, which many people around me had ordered, looked delicious. American coffee shops need to take a cue from their European cousins and bump up their food offerings. Of course, the meal that’s awaiting me at Black Market will have to wait for another trip.
Is there anything you’ll travel far and wide for? Strangest place to which it has brought you?