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cafe to sit and read for an hour near Columbia U?

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adorno Feb 17, 2012 04:52 AM

I have an hour before a talk I'm going to at Columbia. I'm looking for a place to sit and read while sipping espresso and perhaps munching a nice pastry. I don't know the area at all. Any recommendations?

Thanks!

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    americanafan RE: adorno Feb 17, 2012 06:25 AM

    Max Caffe, 1262 Amsterdam at 122nd St., is probably the best bet. Pastries aren't their strong suit, but the atmosphere is very comfortable.

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    Max Caffe
    1262 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027

    1. DaveCook RE: adorno Feb 17, 2012 09:45 AM

      La Toulousaine, 942 Amsterdam near 107th St., has fewer seats than Max Caffe (or the Hungarian Pastry Shop, 1030 Amsterdam), but the pastries at this new bakery are very good.

      Dave Cook

      www.EatingInTranslation.com

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      La Toulousaine
      946 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

      1 Reply
      1. re: DaveCook
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        uwsgrazer RE: DaveCook Feb 20, 2012 09:07 AM

        The pastries are indeed very good at La Toulousaine. We went yesterday afternoon and each got a coffee and croissant (one plain, one almond). Both were really well done. The coffee was fine, though nothing particularly special.

        We also took out a small lemon meringue tart and a napoleon for dessert that evening. Both were delicious and really nicely prepared. While we wouldn't have really wanted to eat them in the same seating as our croissants, the pastries didn't hold up particularly well for the few hours they were out of the pastry case. If we return, we will probably just try to buy enough to eat at the shop. That leads me to the one drawback we experienced. It's not that the shop isn't fancy or anything, but it just doesn't have a great vibe. Nothing awful but also not a place that lends itself to leisurely relaxing over a cup of coffee and pastry. But for outstanding pastries, it's definitely worth a visit.

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        La Toulousaine
        946 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

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        whitneybee RE: adorno Feb 17, 2012 11:35 AM

        Hungarian Pastry Shop on on 111th and Amsterdam woudl be my bet. I can't personally speak to the pastries, but my friends rave about them, and they'll let you sit as long as you like.

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        Hungarian Pastry Shop
        1030 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

        1 Reply
        1. re: whitneybee
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          uwsister RE: whitneybee Mar 5, 2012 07:46 PM

          Unfortunately I've never liked any pastries I've had at Hungarian Pastry Shop except for possibly their baklava. It's a very popular place for CU students to hang out, write, read, etc. and you can basically sit there forever with a cup of coffee/tea and/or a piece of pastry and no one will bother you.

          I'm thrilled to read good words about La Toulousaine. I passed by it the other day and wondered if they were any good. I would've gone in to try it first-hand but I was in a rush and didn't have time. I will stop by next time for sure.

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          Hungarian Pastry Shop
          1030 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

        2. Peter Cuce RE: adorno Feb 17, 2012 11:12 PM

          If coffee quality is a desire, by far the best choice is Joe the Art of Coffee on the corner of W 120th St and Broadway. It's a stunning space with amazing light and very high ceilings located inside a Columbia building that's accessible to the public. Their pastries are top-notch as well, although sadly they no longer offer Doughnut Plant doughnuts.

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          Joe the Art of Coffee
          550 W 120th St, New York, NY 10027

          1 Reply
          1. re: Peter Cuce
            D...DF RE: Peter Cuce Feb 21, 2012 10:28 AM

            This is my favorite publicly-accessible indoor space on the campus. Great coffee and beautiful room.

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            lulucat RE: adorno Mar 5, 2012 01:06 PM

            Just wanna second what people have said about Toulousaine. It's a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Good croissants and the pastries I've tried so far have been excellent (not sickly sweet and more subtle in flavor than most), but no, they don't hold up well. Best to take home and refrigerate right away. Their blueberry muffin is one of the best bakery bought muffins I have ever tasted! -- they are like the ones I make myself those rare times I deign to turn the oven on.. Coffee is nothing to write home about. And no, the vibe isn't for lingering, but for an hour or so with the paper or a book, it's perfectly fine. They haven't been open long enough to tweak things, and I hope once they get their "legs," the atmosphere might improve.

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