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Archive for the month “May, 2019”

Panclog #45: NYC’s Caffe Reggio

April 22nd, 2019
Manhattan, NY
Capturing Cappuccinos

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Caffe Reggio is in the Greenwich Village which makes us diners the Village People.

Caffe Reggio stakes the claim to bringing the first cappuccino to the United States. The Panclog Pals decided we must try this historic cafe that opened its doors in 1927.

Location/Environment: Caffe Reggio is located in Greenwich Village steps away from where the folk supercenter, Gaslight Cafe, once sat.  It is down the block from the famous Comedy Cellar.  What a lovely night that would be, comedy and cappuccinos.

The environment is akin to your favorite museums’ room of renaissance paintings. Dark and intimate and filled with gorgeous artwork. And speaking of artwork, the original cappuccino machine is in the corner of the cafe. Here is that beautifully delicious piece of art:

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Service: I think good old Robb said it best when it comes to the service.  It isn’t the fastest service or best, but nor should it be. The Caffe Reggio takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to run from errand to errand but could spend time savoring and taking in art at the same time. Our cappuccinos were out quickly enough for us to enjoy a beverage while waiting for our food. Here is a nice picture of all of our cappuccinos conversing with each other:
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Menu/Selection: Caffe Reggio has a non traditional breakfast menu. From a simple fruit cup to eggs over the unusual breakfast vegetable, asparagus, Caffe Reggio has menu items that not many other restaurants carry.  It seems to be a testament to how Caffe Reggio views themselves.  They know who they are and won’t be adding menu items to simply cater to the masses.

What do the dudes think? Let’s see:

Jared! Canarino Voltaire with a Hazelnut Cappuccino

When Robb told me about a super old cafe that serves good food but also brought the cappuccino to the United States.  I thought back on all of the times my little sister, Mikayla, and I went cafe hopping in the afternoon.  (I think our personal best was 3 coffee shops in a couple hours.)  I stared into Robb’s beautiful brown eyes and said, “I’m in!”

Caffe Reggio offers their classic cappuccino in three varieties, original, hazelnut, and almond. When it was time to order, I witnessed Robb and Stephen order the original. Knowing that those dudes are sweeties and they will let me try their beverages, I ordered a hazelnut cappuccino.  The flavoring wasn’t a faint whisper of hazelnut.  It presented nicely enough, yet still allowed the espresso and steamed milk do their magic.

I have one piece of advice when it comes to the cappy. Be patient. As a man with a large mouth. I tend to drink too quickly.  This is a mistake when dealing with the beverages that take time and caution making.  So when it comes to cappuccinos, sip and savor.

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Caffe Reggio offered me with the chance to take a risk in the breakfast world.  I ordered the Canarino Voltaire which was described as “Poached eggs on a bed of yellow rice with a blend of three European cheeses.” My first thought was a pure judgement of rice for breakfast.  But fear not, this yellow rice was a delicious vessel for the eggs and cheese.  After this dish, I must say that rice is an underutilized grain in the modern american breakfast.

The poached eggs were just right. Some firmness to them, but still as runny as you need them to add that yolky goodness to the rice below.  The cheese on the dish is subtle.  The cheese acts as the most talented background singers. Making everything better.

The server brought some Louisiana hot sauce to finish the dish.  I would say the dish did not need the hot sauce. Although I am a fan of the heat, in my food and on the basketball court. So I sprinkled some of the fiery goodness and enjoyed the explosion.

The prices were New York fancy standard.  The Cappuccino was $5.50 and the Canarino Voltaire was a solid $10.00.  I believe it was a worthwhile experience. Especially one where I enjoyed it with 2 of my favorite people in the world.


Stephen! French Toast with a Cappuccino

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I’m typically a black coffee or Americano kind of person, but when you go to Caffè Reggio for the first time how can you not get a classic Cappuccino? It was an incredibly balanced beverage – beautiful, strong espresso notes that were made rich yet not diluted by the milk. In addition to this, I had an order of traditional French toast which was topped with fresh fruit. It was a good-to-great execution, but certainly the highlight of the meal was the cappuccino, and the experience of visiting Caffè Reggio itself.

 

Robb!

In today’s ever-evolving and modern NYC sleek restaurants with hipster light fixtures, reclaimed wood tables and front of houses that look like upscale condo lounges are more of the norm. It’s harder and harder to step foot into any establishment in the ever-changing city and step back in time to another era. One in which Instagram-ing your food didn’t exist and where the lack of the shrinking world meant it was harder to find experiences outside of your own heritage. To step into Café Reggio is to step into an NYC long since passed, it is a beacon of what once was OHH and the cappuccino is unlike anything you’ll ever taste.

When you step into Café Reggio you can’t but help notice how it hasn’t changed since its opening in 1927. The tables, chairs, art windows and even the 19th-century espresso machine all sit there untouched by the ever-changing world around it. The history goes that Café Reggio was the first place in America to bring the now popular cappuccino to America, well before soldiers from both great wars brought back the “fancy drink” with them. To taste the Café Reggio cappuccino is to experience first hand with your taste buds a different NYC too, one before hipsters from Indiana claimed to make the best Mexican food in the world, but one in where immigrants stepped off of Ellis Island and into lower Manhattan to share with this melting pot their traditions through food and drink.

The cappuccino is unlike any coffee you can have in NYC or anywhere in the country (IMO). The foam is like a cloud and as you sip through it your tongue tastes an equal mix of well-balanced espresso, chocolate, cinnamon, and almost caramel. Sprinkled on top with Nutmeg this huge cup (for only $3) will make you never want to leave this sunnier and calmer slice of old NYC you never knew you missed.

While the food is exquisite too, the coffee is what is to die for here (though the food isn’t messing around either). Of course, not all progress in restaurant culture is bad though, while the drink, eats and atmosphere conjure of a time gone by so does the slow service, we’re talking roasting the beans by hand in the back slow. While that is quite an annoyance of this place, the challenge for a normal rushed New Yorker/American who can’t handle sitting down and relaxing for a bit at a café is quite the opportunity to challenge oneself. If you ever get the chance to head to MacDougal street in the west village on a beautiful and sunny day, make sure to take a few moments and step back into an NYC that has long been gone and sip on some espresso while you sit and think about all that is changing and moving around you.

Overall: Caffe Reggio is a place of New York City past but done well in the present.  We recommend the cappuccino.  It is as good as the day they brought it over to America.  Be patient and enjoy your time.

Grade:
Jared: B++

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared, Robb and Stephen

Panclog #44: NYC’s Bagel Pub

April 21st, 2019
Brooklyn, NY
Begging 4 Bagels in Brooklyn

The three best friends that anybody could have took New York City by storm.

Robb, Stephen and I are taking over the Panclog feed for the next three weeks. We will be discussing the three breakfast spots that we were lucky enough to try.  The trip started out as a boy’s baseball trip that I easily turned into a Panclog pal’s trip.  Although baseball is the communal sport that can bring the country together after wars, it is also very well known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Therefore, breakfast and baseball go very well together. Let’s make a team have a brunch game. I’m the most into this idea.

Location/Environment: Bagel Pub has 2 locations, Park Slope and Crown Heights.  The Crown Heights location was beautifully close to where we were staying.  The décor was in an old wooden fashion. There are tables but the star of the pub is a long bar with windows that show off different types of cream cheese.  On the wall behind the cream cheese there are many different types of bagels,  Baked to perfection, begging to be selected.

Service: We first went to Bagel Pub on Easter morning.  This led to a larger crowd than usual.  This was not a negative, in fact it showed how a place like this can handle large crowds with ease and precision.  When walking in, you walk straight to the back of the restaurant. You find yourself in the line, wondering which bagel/cream cheese combination will cause the emptiness in your stomach to subside for awhile.  You place your bagel order and walk to the register where you can add a drink to the order. You pay and wait for one of your many aliases to be called.

Menu/Selection: The menu at Bagel Pub was much more extensive than I expected.  They had breakfast sandwiches, dessert cream cheese, and a large array of juice and smoothies. But we didn’t really come for fancy juices. We came for NYC’s breakfast staple, Bagel with cream cheese.  Bagel Pub has an extensive selection of different bagels and cream cheeses. If you don’t find something that strikes your fancy, then you are doing it wrong.

What do the dudes think? Let’s see:

Jared!

The bagel above is mine.  It is a garlic bagel with zaatar cream cheese.  The night before I ordered this majesty I tried zaatar for the first time.  It was in some hummus.  Here is a very accurate Wikipedia article about what Zaatar actually is. If I am remembering correctly, zaatar is a popular blend of herbs and spices in the middle east.  It is yummy, savory, and very hard to find in Kansas City.  In fact, I haven’t found it yet.

I got a garlic bagel because the Easter crowd depleted bagel pub of regular everything bagels.  They did have whole wheat everything and egg everything but I wanted my breath to be stinky.  That’s why garlic was my choice.  This bagel was just lovely. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. My favorite part of NYC bagels is the fact that they really slather on the cream cheese.  I also enjoy the sliced in half nature that they do post cream cheesing.  I want to go back now and try more bagels and even taste the Oreo cream cheese.  Who is with me?


Stephen!

Let’s just put this out on front street: I love carbs. My nickname in high school was carburetor, not because of my love of American muscle cars, but because I could inhale some pasta if you know what I’m talking about. As such, one of the things I was most looking forward to in NYC was a classic New York bagel. They say it’s ALL IN THE WATER OHHHHHHHH (Andrew Dice Clay hands). As a non-New Yorker, I would say Bagel Pub executes an excellent, classic NYC bagel experience. The sheer (or schmear?) variety in bagel and schmear options is stellar. I ordered a poppy seed bagel (as they were out of my first option of everything) with a plain schmear. The bagel was cut in half horizontally as well as vertically, with a healthy helping of cream cheese in between. Soft and chewy, the bagel delivered on everything I could want from a good quality bakery bagel. Paired with a black coffee, it was a delicious combo which certainly gave me horrible breath for the rest of the morning.

Robb!

The Italians and their pasta, the Japanese and their Raman, the French and their wine some places just do it different and better than anywhere else in the world. These places bring hundreds of years of politics and culture with them into their kitchens and out comes a dish(s) that can’t be recreated anywhere else. The big apple, itself has many of these dishes to speak for it but NONE of them stack up to the 500-year-old polish circular bread with a hole in the middle commonly known as “The Bagel”.

Is it the NYC water (as the myth goes), the cooking traditions passed down from generation to generation or simply a good set of fresh ingredients that makes the NYC bagel? We may never know but what we do know is that no place on earth can recreate this soft on the inside, think flaky crust on the outside, perfectly seasoned piece of bread like NYC. Going into Bagel Pub (a newer entry into the Brooklyn Bagel scene) you are greeted with everything of old NYC. The lines of cream cheeses, from your classic to garlic dill, lox spread, bacon and cheddar, zaatar or you name it. Then you walk past the cold cuts and old Jewish deli traditions like black and whites, white fish and herring, chicken salad and the bagels cousin the bialy. All up at the counter where when you get that bagel and bit into your VERY affordable slice of heaven (this bagel is twice the size of those in the Midwest, like two dollars cheaper and much better) you feel like your experiencing a food you’ve known for quite some time but never like this.

Overall: Bagel Pub showed how even when busy, bagels are only a few moments away. Affordable, Cream Cheesy, and Delicious.  GO TREAT YOURSELF

Grade:
Panclog: A+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared, Robb and Stephen

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