There are some terrific crepe places scattered around Manhattan, however, Jean Christophe brings a whole new meaning to this delectable pancake. From Brittany, France, Jean told me that his recipe is hundreds of years old, as this area is where the crepe had its origins and continues to be made on every street corner throughout the territory. Jean shared with me that most people make either a buckwheat or a white flour crepe, causing them to be a bit heavy, but with his secret recipe, he combines both flours together to make the absolute thinnest crepe imaginable.
Beginning with a melted cheese and homemade tomato puree crepe, I was convinced that this was among the best savory crepes I had tried, however, Jean then insisted on having me sample the one made very simply with sugar and butter. So flaky are the crepes that he makes, that they can fall apart - but not to worry, he serves them in a paper cone. Jean will then explain exactly how to eat his creations - "You must bite into the multiple, crispy layers at once as this is how one experiences the ethereal, flakiness of my dessert."
When I declared that I could not eat another bite, Jean then brought me little dollops of the fillings to try - the blueberry and whipped cream crepe, "done the French way," Jean said, so as not to be too sweet and made with fresh berries - then the strawberry with a hint of black pepper and vanilla, and the last one, rosemary caramelized apple. All sinfully delicious and combinations that I will dream about until I can return for more.
Attached to the William Barnacle Tavern, Jean stands inside his little booth at Crepes Canaveral every evening (except Tuesdays) until all hours of the night chatting with people as they pass by. He is incredibly quick at turning these treats out so that people can grab one on the go or step inside the bar and sit down and savor every bite while having a drink. Either way, they are not to be missed.
What a find...down a flight of stairs from street level on 8th Street, Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor is the "antithesis of a sports bar." Artisan and craft beer are brought together in a friendly environment that certainly had us feeling like we were right at home. The Parlor is also named for the Arts and Crafts movement, “a cultural revolt against the ideals of industrialization.”When we visited, we spoke to Robert, one of the two owners, with whom we thoroughly enjoyed chatting. Robert is an internationally recognized speaker and writer on dining out and traveling with special diets (he co-authored the series Let’s Eat Out!), and he also has a background in acting and producing on Broadway. He told us that the other owner, Don, has an impressive resume working with the FBI and counterterrorism efforts both in New York and around the world - which left us wondering what brought this dynamic duo together as friends and eventually co-owners. Robert informed us it was a love of American Craft Beer and the visual and performing arts...and that they actually met enjoying a pint of beer in Manhattan.Just as intriguing as its owners, the interior of Arts and Crafts is beautifully designed; the sophisticated wallpaper is custom made by Bradbury and Bradbury, and the soft green and beige pattern was Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite, supposedly. The constantly changing art is displayed along the wall opposite the bar, and an exposed brick wall and fireplace give the parlor a true “extension of your living room” feel. Described by Robert, as the “Bugatti of beer systems,” the twenty plus beers the Parlor keeps on tap rotate monthly and are kept by this state of the art system at a refreshing 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Robert also astounded us with how small the carbon footprint of the Parlor is — he told us they are very conscious of keeping things compostable and earth-friendly. In addition to their rotating display of art from both established and up-and-coming artists, the Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor also hosts a monthly lecture series on the subjects of art as well as culinary topics. We could not get enough of how interesting this place is — both the concept of art and beer coming together and the two fascinating minds behind it.
Warhammer is the retail branch of an online British company that has been providing its unique gaming service for thirty years. The 8th Street location is New York's hotspot for miniature table-top war gaming. Eager workers will walk customers through every step - how to assemble the models, paint the pieces, and how to play the game itself. It takes a certain kind of patience and skill set to contract one's army and may appeal to a customer who enjoys strategy games such as chess. While it is recommended that kids begin learning the game at age twelve, we met a half a dozen men from ages eighteen to fifty who were sitting around the large table, chatting and toiling away on their magnificently detailed pieces.
Over many months, we had the pleasure of observing the construction of Amelie through each stage of its creation. To experience the ambience of this spectacular bar and restaurant alone is worth the visit...but then there is also the impressive wine list and a full French menu. The award-winning team behind Amelie in San Francisco opened their east coast wine bar in early 2012 and all we can say is tres delicieux.
Coffee tends to be a grab-and-go phenomenon here in Manhattan – the coffee break does not generally get its due respect. Here to change that completely, Stumptown’s 8th Street location elevates the coffee shop experience to a level unseen by most caffeine-addicted New Yorkers. I only know this because Jared, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, is one of them. The double-height ceilings, large windows, and carved wood façade of the corner store actually used to house the historic 8th Street Books. The interior of the building has been meticulously and beautifully renovated to include an enormous wooden bar, coffered ceiling, warm herringbone floors, exposed brick walls and numerous small clusters of tables, chairs and benches. The store is divided between the intimate café area and a brew bar - a coffee exposition/educational space where baristas can engage customers in learning about different methods of making coffee and the various types of coffee beans. The brew bar has at least five different types of machines and manual brewers running at the same time with a lovely, knowledgable staff orchestrating all of it. Stumptown endeavors to build a community out of our many, rushed coffee drinkers, creating a perfect setting for relaxing and reading, or for someone to simply become better educated about coffee.