Even though we all know that the best things in life cannot be duplicated, there is always the temptation to try. After delighting in the taste of apricots picked straight off the tree in Port Lincoln, I couldn’t resist a tub of like lineage calling to me from the shelves of Trader Joe’s last week. These apricots had more food miles than I will ever have frequent fliers and it showed in the eating. Similarly, my attempt to find a typically Australian caffeine fix since returning to the Big Apple has been challenging. But with so many entrepreneurial Aussies in town, and news that even Hugh Jackman had opened a cafe downtown, I started a new search for the much needed flat white.
Culture Express on West 38th was first on the hit list. From the outside it looked ‘Brooklyn’ enough – the barista was wearing a geeky hat typical of his trade, trending with a code of coolness that I haven’t quite deciphered yet. But inside there was deafening head banging music, and the flat whites were so strong and bitter that Sean likened the whole experience to water boarding. And that was before he tasted the blood orange donut.
Fortunately not far away on West 37th lies a much better option. Ramini was set up by a Greek fellow with an international audience in mind. He offers flat whites which are much closer to home in terms of taste and strength, as well as Japanese teas and fresh homemade savoury pastries. Service is happy and hat worthy, and I learnt something. ‘Pour over’s’ are the name given to the design poured on the top of the coffee, and are becoming a new benchmark for coffee houses. In lieu of the upcoming Academy Awards, I wonder what Hugh Jackman will have on his…?