Tag Archives: coffee


Cloud is a new Vietnamese place in the lower east side. After some drinks and snacks nearby, my wife and I decided to pop in to give a few items a try, particularly their coffee selections and their avocado shake.

We started with their non-traditional take on banh xeo, which was more like a pita bread cone with all the flavors of banh xeo inside. It wasn’t bad!

Then, we tried a soup called banh canh, which was almost like a cross between pho flavors and some Chinese noodle soups we used to get up in Hell’s Kitchen. I enjoyed it.

On the flip side, we didn’t like the egg coffee because it was laden with cooked egg particles. It wasn’t mixed in properly to make for smooth texture. I actually asked them for something to strain it with. After that, it was better.

Their peanut butter coffee was delicious, however.

The avocado shake needed some more sweetened condensed milk, but otherwise was nice.

I’m sure eventually I’ll try the banh mi and pho to fill out this review a bit more.

79 Clinton St
New York, NY 10002

Cubaton Sandwich Shop

Our best bite in Miami was the cubano sandwich from a small, relatively new shop called Cubaton. It was incredible!

Had I known it was this good, I would have went twice. We were leaving for home the same day we went here.

The frozen drinks were great too.

413 15th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Stan’s Donuts & Coffee

Stan’s is a donut and coffee shop that we hit a couple of times during our trip to Chicago. The turnover here is so frequent that you’re almost always guaranteed a warm, fresh donut. We tried the apple fritter and the blueberry cream cheese filled.

Here, the blueberry was the winner.

This joint is definitely worth hitting for interesting on-tap coffees (like barrel aged cold brew, or nitro) and fresh, uniquely flavored donuts.

181 Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60601

Pho Tau Bay

After two previous visits to New Orleans I was dead-set on finally trying some Vietnamese food. This town has a large Vietnamese community, so I know the food will be good.

My wife and I picked this joint because it was the closest to our hotel that was actually open on New Year’s Day. It had nice ratings to boot. We started with a pair of Vietnamese drip coffees, which were excellent.

Next, we shared a banh mi sandwich – their signature “dac biet” special sandwich.

This was great. Just the right amount of filling, nice fresh French bread that didn’t rip my mouth apart from being too hard or crispy.

Then we had some soup. I had the large “dac biet” special bowl of beef pho. This was great for the price tag. It easily surpassed most of the pho I have access to here in NYC (obviously there are some big exceptions since NYC is finally getting some good Vietnamese food).

My wife had the bun bo hue, which I thought was a bit too pungent and overly fishy for my taste, but it was still good as far as this dish goes. Especially impressive were the noodles. The round, “thick spaghetti” style rice noodles typically used in this soup will often get overcooked and become mushy. Then they break easily when you grab them with chopsticks, which is a pain in the ass. But these were perfect.

Give this place a shot when you’re down here.

1565 Tulane Ave
New Orleans, LA 70112

Death Wish Coffee

I’m not a huge coffee drinker. I prefer espresso when I look for my coffee fix – typically in the morning after a run. Death Wish, claiming to be the strongest whole bean coffee on the market, seemed like a natural segway for me from the strength of espresso.

I liked it. My wife’s uncle made it for me in a French press, and it was nice. Not over-the-top strong just for the sake of caffeine, not bitter, and it had a nice flavor that wasn’t overwhelming. I’d love to try it in a ristretto form as a shot of thick, potent espresso.

Cafe Du Monde

A must-do thing in New Orleans is to have a beignet (or three) at Cafe Du Monde. There’s always a massive line, so go later at night, after dinner (make this your dessert), and you should have no trouble seating yourself. Order three, have a chicory coffee and dig in. But don’t spill any of that sugar cocaine on your pants!

So delicious. Basically, these are French zeppole.

800 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

Via Quadronno

This joint is known for its incredible panini sandwiches and fresh Italian menu selections. I’m gonna get right down to business here, because me and a group of Instagram influencers tried a ton of items.

My favorite sandwich: La Madunina. This has prosciutto, fresh mozz, olive tapenade and tomato. Very simple but incredibly delicious.

Tentazione: prosciutto, smoked mozz, arugula, shrimp and sauce.

Americano: brie, fresh mozz, corn, arugula and tomatoes.

Bip-Bip: bresaola, goat cheese, shrimp, arugula and sauce.

Il Toast: boiled ham and melted fontina cheese.

Lo Spazzino: roast pork, arugula, provolone, red onion and capers.

They also do some open faced toast style brunch sandwiches as well. We tried the smoked salmon and crab meat, fresh mozz and tomato, and asparagus with cheese.

Speaking of asparagus, they also offer it in a salad form with lots of crab meat on top. Wow! That’s a serious portion.

And this veggie salad with tuna was so fresh and tasty.

The mussels were really nice too, served in a light but spicy tomato broth. Nicely executed.

The pesto pasta had a great flavor and was perfectly cooked.

As did the lasagna. I’m usually very hard on lasagne, because my mom made a killer lasagna. This was fantastic. The photo doesn’t do it justice. You need to see the layering.

I also had a steak. Surprise! The meat quality was indeed good (DeBragga), and the peppercorn sauce for the top was delicious. It’s also served on a bed of broccoli rabe, and with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes.

Enough photos of that? I think so. We also had dessert. Several tart pies, a wonderful tiramisu, some gelato and sorbets, and an assortment of Italian cookies.

And we tasted several coffee and hot chocolate selections that had awesome designs in the foam.

And a drink made with Prosecco, raspberry jam and St. Germain.

Definitely give this place a try. There’s also another location about 10 streets down from this one.

1228 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10128


A while back, it somehow became a thing that me, my wife (who was at the time still my girlfriend), my brother and some friends and cousins would go to our local Starbucks in Sayville, Long Island and sit out front, smoke tobacco pipes, play the ancient game of Go, talk about cool shit, and occasionally drink coffee.

I was never a coffee guy, so I typically got snacks or other drinks. But we were ritually going every Tuesday. As a result, birthday and holiday gifts starting coming in the form of Starbucks gift cards. Eventually my wife and I had more money in Starbucks gift cards than we knew what to do with, so we consolidated them all onto one card and put the money towards an espresso machine that Starbucks sold in-house.



We had that machine in a box for about 8 years and never touched it. I think we maybe tried to use it once but it seemed too confusing. We rarely ever drank coffee, so why bother anyway?

Espresso, though, is really the only coffee that we DO have on occasion. Usually when we were tired after a meal and still needed to be awake to get to the train for the hellish commute back home.

Fast-forward to my insane running regimen. Suddenly now I’m really tired some mornings after running several miles before 9am. “Hey we still have that espresso machine… let me try to figure it out now.” I pulled it out of retirement and figured out how to use it for those tired mornings.

But I quickly started to pass on the entire effort. First, it was a learning curve to figure out just how to get the machine to produce exactly the kind of coffee that I like. Second, it was a hassle to always have to grind, scoop, pack, fiddle with the machine to get it going, rinse, clean, etc. It was a 20 minute ordeal every time. Just when I started to get it down to a science I was starting to give up on it.

Enter Nespresso. My brother has had one for a while and I was always interested in it. Eventually I cracked and purchased one, the Inissia model.


Quick, clean, convenient and cheap, since I was able to apply some credit via Groupon Goods. I paid $62. Pods aren’t cheap, ranging from $0.70 to $0.77 a pop, but they’re worth it when you factor in the quality of the coffee and time saved in making it. Plus, from what I hear, they are much better than the Nespresso-compatible capsules by Bestpresso and Gourmesso. Since Nespresso’s capsule patent expired, others have started making them as competition. So far I’ve only had the real-deal pods:




The great part is the variety of flavors, styles and roasts. I tend to favor strong espresso, no cream but with a little bit of brown sugar.