Thursday, May 13, 2010

New York coffee break: Cafe Pedlar

For most of its history, the Lower East Side has been a poor, working-class neighbourhood, providing the first home in the United States for generations of immigrants.

But in the past 10 years, the Lower East Side, like many inner-urban areas of major cities around the world, has undergone gentrification. And with gentrification comes coffee.

Cafe Pedlar's Manhattan outpost is in Clinton St, which is sandwiched between Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. Clinton St itself is well-known for its dining establishments (including Clinton St Baking Co, famous for its pancakes). The street (which is easily reached by catching the F subway line to East Broadway) has a nice neighbourhood feel to it and there's an eclectic mix of shops. The street hasn't been taken over entirely by stylish cafes: little neighbourhood shops, such as a dry-cleaner, a newsagent and a hairdresser (advertising for braiders with experience) still fulfill the needs of local residents.

Cafe Pedlar has a very Melbourne feel. It is long and narrow, with exposed brick walls, but it's not dark, as light streams in from the large front windows. Shelves holding bottles of wine speak of its other life as a wine bar.

The cafe uses coffee beans from Stumptown (an independent coffee roaster and retailer based in Portland, Oregon) and all drinks are made with double shots - which is just as well, as the cups are twice the size of a standard Australian cup.

Intricate double rosettas on the cafe lattes make a pretty touch. The latte is quite milky but there is a strong, dark cocoa undertone that rounds out the creamy milk nicely.

Danishes, rolls, pretzels, tarts, muffins, cookies and cakes feature on the simple pastry-based menu. This is a great neighbourhood cafe, perfect for locals, but well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Cafe Pedlar
17 Clinton St (East Houston St), Lower East Side
210 Court St (Warren St), Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

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