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Alasdair’s April Johnson Shows Us The Gowanus

AP-April5April Johnson is the founder of super cool New York line Alasdair NY.  A former stylist, April’s Alasdair line captures that perfect balance of being the kind of wardrobe staples you can’t live without while being super fashion at the same time.  It’s fitting that April lives in one of New York’s coolest neighborhoods, the Gowanus, a part of Brooklyn that has fast become the stomping ground for many of New York’s most design savvy creative types.

We love the photo above of April strolling along Caroll Street on the Gowanus. It perfectly sums up how effortlessly cool Alasdair is and the neighborhood all in one shot.

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April Johnson’s Guide To The Gowanus

 

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Cafe Martin
My neighbor asked me if I had ever gone to Cafe Martin to get a coffee and I had not so I made my way there finally and now I’m a regular.  Martin doesn’t say much but he makes the best cappuccino in Brooklyn.  It’s a quiet little spot always full of characters.

Cafe Martin. 355 5th Avenue. Brooklyn, NY. 11215. Tel:

AP-April2Bird
What can I say about BIRD?  Well I have always loved this store for it’s eclectic mix of my favorite designers.  We have been selling Alasdair there since the first season.  Jen is special.  You can really feel the hand picked pieces are so carefully gathered to tell the story of the season.
Bird. 316 5th Avenue (between 2nd & 3rd Streets). Brooklyn. NY. Tel: 718 768 4940
AP-April4Nightingale 9
I am a huge fan of Vietnamese and when Kerry Diamond and her boyfriend Rob opened this spot I couldn’t have been more delighted.  The pho is some of the best I’ve ever eaten.  The salads are the perfect lunch.  It’s making me hungry just writing about it.  Let’s go now!
Nightingale 9. 345 Smith Street. Brooklyn, New York. 11231. Tel: 347 689 4699
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Photo credit – Annelise Phillips

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All Good Things

DSC_0039Trust TriBeCa to make the ultimate in urban food markets.  All Good Things is a perfect market in every way. First off it’s tiny, which means none of the overwhelming crowds that many of New York’s food markets have.  Housed in a beautiful old floor through store, the airy, light-filled market offers separate counters for different artisanal vendors.

If you’re shopping for dinner there’s Dickson’s Farmstand Meat’s, serving local grass-fed meat.  There’s a produce and seafood stand and the wonderful baker Orwasher’s for bread.  If you’re simply looking for something little and yummy, there’s Brooklyn’s Nunu Chocolates, Blue Marble Ice Cream and for a perfect cup of coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee.   If eating out is more your speed, there’s a casual cafe in the back, and for a true foodie experience you can head downstairs to Le Restaurant where chef Ryan Tate (formerly of Savoy and Cookshop) creates a $100 six-course menu.

At the front of the market is our favorite counter, Polux Fleuriste.  This is no ordinary run of the mill florist, here they create whimsical, show stopping floral displays that will transform your meal or your home in to a romantic floral wonderland.

All Good Things. 102 Franklin Street. New York. 10013. Tel: 212 966 3663

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Time To Get Grumpy

IMG_4970We admit it, we’re terrible coffee snobs and few places meet our high standards.  Hidden away in an old New York storefront on West 20th Street is Cafe Grumpy, one of our favorite coffee haunts. It’s easy to miss it as there’s no sign out front, just a discreetly drawn grumpy face on the window.

They make a perfect cup of coffee using beans that they hand roast in small batches at their Greenpoint location (which we have to mention was featured in HBO show GIRLS last season).  Naturally the baristas take their brewing mighty seriously and carefully make each cup with intense precision.  We love the relaxed vibe at Cafe Grumpys with its big airy windows, the front being the best spot to grab for a sun filled seat to watch the world walk by.  There’s no cash register here, just a high-tech ordering system via i-pad which works incredibly efficiently. It wouldn’t be a good coffee joint without a few delectable baked goods.  They serve an array of tempting fresh-baked goodies like cookies and scones.

Two wooden benches sit out front and we love to perch here on this quiet leafy street, outback there’s a great garden too, open only when the weather is good.

Cafe Grumpy. 224 West 20th Street. Between 7th and 8th Avenue. New York. 10011. Tel: 212 255 5511

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Simply Good Coffee

IMG_07429th Street Espresso is one of the best coffee spots in the City.  The baristas are coffee purists, you won’t find a vanilla shot or hazelnut latte here.  It’s pure coffee excellence through and through.

Having spent 10 years perfecting their coffee brew their menu is simple. Recently they changed the way their menu works and now refuse to have names for their espresso drinks, so don’t even think of asking for a latte.

Apart from brewed or urn coffee, they offer only espresso or espresso with milk, it’s that simple. They believe there is no difference between a cappuccino or a latte, it’s all espresso and the amount of milk you like varies with the style you order.  Therefore, at 9th Street Espresso, you simply choose the amount of milk you require with your espresso from 4 sizes.  There’s a 3 oz (macchiato), a 6 oz (cappuccino) and two other larger sizes and that’s it.

They won’t deviate from their pure and simple menu. If you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter to them as the coffee is so perfectly good, the line is always super long.

They have three locations, all downtown, and we’ll happily trek miles to any of them for our daily coffee fix.

9th Street Espresso.
Locations: Tompkins Square Park. 341 East 10th Street . New York. NY. Tel: 212 777 3508
Alphabet City. NY. Tel: 212 358 9225
Chelsea Market. 75 9th Avenue. NY. NY.  10011. Tel: 212 228 2930
 
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Smile Please

Soho has so many cafes, sometimes it’s hard to know where to go that’s truly authentic.  One of our favorite places in the neighborhood to nip in to is The Smile.

A few blocks from Soho, hidden away downstairs on stylish Bond Street, it’s very easy to miss.  That’s of course exactly why it’s cool.  Attracting creative types from the neighborhood, film and fashion people, it’s very much a groovy local hangout for coffee or a laid back yummy casual bite.

If you’re still in the mood to shop, they sell lovely things to buy like Wool And The Gang Knitting Kits and beautiful bath products by Santa Maria Novella giving The Smile a bit of a general store meets coffee shop vibe.

The space is super rustic and woody but the staff is anything but.  Owned by hip, bearded and flannel shirted New Yorker, Carlos Quirarte who conceived the Ernest Cut & Sewn brand and worked at Freemans, he brings a staff of gorgeous groovy staff who add to the overall artsy cool ambience of the place.

Open for breakfast until late at night, we like to pop in here after a gruelling Soho shopping session to refuel with an espresso and munch on a pastry.  Originally just a coffee shop, it’s now open for dinner and has a wine and beer license so in the evenings the lights are low, candles flicker and it’s another well kept secret.  Intimate and charming, it attracts a very local crowd and is far from the day time coffee menu, with a lovely wine list, yummy salads and innovative tasty dishes all served by friendly hip servers.

The Smile. 26 Bond Street. NY 10014. Tel: 646 329 5836

Surfing on Saturdays

Soho can be such a crowded crazed part of town some days, but we love that you only need to walk one street east of Broadway and suddenly you are back in groovy New York.  A perfect example of this is Saturdays Surf.  Tucked away quietly on cobblestoned lower Crosby Street, is this totally hip, coffee shop surf shop.

At the front of the tiny store is a beautiful espresso bar, where cute young surfer types pull serious espresso drinks.  You can either sit out front of the store and watch the world go by or even better, head out back to their large outside fully planted, wood decked yard to drink your coffee and talk about the waves you’re hoping to catch next time you hit the coast.  It’s worth visiting simply to gaze upon the beautiful urban kids sitting in the back, chatting and hanging ten New York style with coffee in hand.

They have a nice range of surf boards and wetsuits, board shorts and their own line of hip men’s clothing to compliment the lifestyle of the cool Manhattan surfer type.  Sexy little surfer girl bikinis hang next to oversized sweatshirts.

Trendy men’s grooming products by Baxter and right on waterproof sunblocks by Waterman’s Applied Science are displayed beside a wall of gorgeous surf books and board waxes. Salt Sunglasses, styling sneakers and a fantastic array of cool backpacks make this a perfect little one stop shop to get your hip surf look on for the summer.  It’s also a perfect escape from the madness of Soho, where you can take a breath of almost salt air with your perfectly brewed La Colombe coffee.

SATURDAYS Surf NYC.  31 Crosby Street. New York. 10013. Tel: 212 966 7875