West-Bourne is the newest all day cafe to grace Soho. The venue was opened by total girl boss Camilla Marcus who is an LA transplant with a serious resume of going to the French Culinary Institute and working for Union Square Hospitality Group. Her mission is rooted in wholistic hospitality: to take care of her neighborhood. The interior has a definitive casual, laid back Cali feel. Menu items are mainly vegan or vegetarian but done with so much mindfulness & creativity that you don't miss the meat. You'll find bowls, salads and sandwiches like an insanely satisfying "mushreuben" made with roasted maitake mushrooms, sauerkraut, peppadew peppers, swiss & special sauce on toasted caraway rye bread. Another stunner is "the bounty" which arrives overflowing with raw and cooked vegetables, house made beet chips, shallot labneh & walnut bagna cauda. The place is a perfect neighborhood addition.
Blank Slate is tucked away in an inconspicuous pocket of Madison Ave but that doesn't seem to stop hoards of people from finding this all day coffee shop. Patrons can grab-n-go with juices and coffee or stay & relax in the space that has 7 tables and several communal seating areas. The cafe menu is excellent, offering large portions of all day breakfast, sandwiches and salads. Small plates include fun snacks like truffle popcorn, goat cheese dip and deviled eggs. Worth checking out for a lively afternoon of work or breakfast/lunch on the go. They have recently opened a gourmet market next door offering grocery items and a fun list of build your own avocado toast & Black Seed bagels
I love this place. No really, I fucking love it. Reunion is a corner café is located in Williamburg. The floor to ceiling windows flood the space with light so that it feels relaxed and airy. You can choose to grab a coffee from the counter or be seated at the casual wooden round top tables. The inviting space is great for brunch or working on your computer for the afternoon. The owner hails from Israel and his menu is charmingly Mediterranean. The colorful dishes are flanked with flavors of sumac, tahini, halva & spices. Their sabich bowl with fried eggplant made me die all over myself. The mixture of soft and crunchy textures with deep rich flavors of tahini made it one of the best brunch dishes I’ve ever experienced. I cannot wait to go back.
Breads Bakery is the carb epicenter that I always dreamed of as a child, and now a fat adult. This really has to be one of the greatest bakeries in American. There are several locations the largest of which is in Union Square. They bake everything on premise so that all the offerings are artisanal and hand-made with love. You'll find every type of carb designed to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings. I'll go ahead and say they have the best rugelach and babka in America. On the savory side there are freshly baked breads, assorted rolls, and challah. You can order shakshuka bread, with an egg baked in it (just let that sink in). If you want to hang out for the day on your computer they have salad, soups, sandwiches, and the nicest staff passing out samples. Keep in mind that Breads offers fantastic options for catering, baking classes, delivery, and holiday specials of every variety.
Being that I work for myself, it is safe to say that I have spent many moons working in coffee shops. All too often I find them painfully dimly lit and devout of any culinary sustenance. You can imagine my joy when I found the antithesis of this at El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette
For a shoebox sized shop, the space feels open and airy. Wall-to-wall windows lining the front provide tons of natural sunlight. The design is clean, hip, and minimalistic. By day El Rey is a barista-manned coffee bar but in the evening the lights dim and it takes on the feeling of a fully fledged cafe.
You can certain get a decent beverage at El Rey ranging from Parlor coffee, to beer & wine. However what makes this place special is the wildly creative, frequently changing food menu. They have a surprisingly large number of sweet and savory offerings and said offerings are packed with nuts, grains and vegetables. I'm talking chia seed pudding heaped with pomegranate seeds and coconut flakes. They easily have the best kale salad in New York and that's coming from someone who hates kale (gasp, I know I'm a monster). Have you ever seen avocado gazpacho, squid poké, or ceviche at a coffee bar? Me either. It easy to see why they have received countless accolades from press like NY Times, Food & Wine, and Bon Appetite. Here's what we had:
KALE SALAD - almond vinaigrette