07 February 2019


As y'all now by now, my sister Bonnie lives in Texas.  Surprisingly (to me, anyway) there are many, many coffee destinations, which also tends to translate to tea destinations.  That's because these places likely carry decent brands of tea, so although they may focus on the coffee, you can be like me and get a nice herbal blend, or even a decent Breakfast blend, and a pastry, and curl up with a book to pass the time. 

My sister knows how much I love this, and even more so, she knows how much I love places that aren't overwhelming.  So when she texted me about a new spot she visited, she said "they have a good tea selection too and some real cozy nooks", I nearly booked a ticket right then and there.

She's not the only one who knows how to lure me.  My good friend in Florida shared a picture from Instagram of a cafe with walls full of books.    That and being tired of the winter sorely tempted me to check my miles (which are much lower than they should be.)

I'm not really in the mood for travel at the moment, though.  I've had some changes at work recently, which I haven't come to terms with mentally.  Did I mention I don't like change?  The cats at home are still not best friends, so I don't want anyone else to have to deal with them yet.  My finances are pretty sad, and though a No-Spend month/year has proven difficult to carry out, I've cut down on quite a lot of unnecessary shopping.  Food and cat items are enough to knock my budget senseless!  Even so, I'm desperate for warm, cozy, snug, relaxed moments, and though I get a few of these at home when the kitties are both napping, I find a decided lack outdoors.

I get that I live in one of the busiest cities in the world.  It doesn't make for easy locating of snug hole-in-the-wall cafes.  I keep looking.  Note I said snug, not smug.  That I can find in spades.

Madame Sou Sou is not a bad choice.  It's a little pastry cafe two blocks from the Astoria Bookshop, but each time I've stopped by, despite it nearly always being the weekend, I manage to find a nice table in the corner.  Even when there are plenty of people there, it doesn't feel oppressive.  And so far I've liked everything I ordered from there.  I'm afraid to devote a whole post on this cafe, because if it catches on too much it'll become...the dreaded word...packed.

So I'll whine on.

Some people love a bustling cafe.  Lots of chatter, people to and fro, and caffeine!  For me, this is the recipe for a panic attack.  I hate loud voices, chewing noises, and blaring music.  I firmly dislike being brushed against as I'm trying to read or write.  It's bad enough I have to deal with this on my commute.  The problem is that this is almost inescapable in New York.  If you've found a quiet table, someone will want to share the table with you.  If you're reading, the guy at the next table will want to talk about what you're reading.  Though I can't say I've never initiated a conversation out of doors, it's often not what I'm after when I'm on my own.

Of course, some of this problem is down to real estate, because what else is new?  It is difficult to open and maintain a business profitably because most businesses rent, and rent in New York is ridiculously high, both for residences and shops.  So a cafe, for example, can't always offer the luxury of opening a place full of tables with their own elbow space, and cozy enclaves.  I get that.  I don't like it, but I get it.  Recently I tried out Ateaz in the Upper East Side.  Its widest appeal for me was that it had a decent amount of stretching room, and tables by the window where you could both people watch and be away from actual people.  I visited in the evening, which means it may be more populated at different times, but this at least was a plus for them.  I didn't care for their spinach pie, but I'm from Astoria, so the bar is set high for me (spanakopita!)

This is not something affecting my daily quality of life, but it would be just fantastic if I could map out more tea/coffee spots that are friendly to my senses.  Bonnie has done this for me in San Antonio - everything is bigger in Texas, but in spacing things out you end up finding privacy - but the struggle continues in New York.   It's not always easy in London, either, and I wouldn't mind having ample opportunity to find some real cozy nooks there!  Alas, the budget.

Suggestions are welcome.

The big advantage of San Antonio is bigness.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

My suggestion is move here :-) miss you!