Location: Manhattan, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]
If there's one thing emerging more and more in people, it is a staunch desire to eat less chemicals. Whether that's meat free of antibiotics, vegetables sans-pesticides or groceries free of preservatives, folks seem to prefer getting away from many of the chemical additives our forefathers heralded as improvements to the marketplace.
Last I was in Manhattan, I found myself looking for some great coffee and a bit of the aforementioned nourishment. In my search for nearby places, I found Smile To Go, a carry-out and catering offshoot of The Smile over on Bond St. With both eateries known for quality ingredients on an ever-morphing, delicious menu PLUS a variety of coffee from Plowshares Coffee Roasters, I deemed it a good fit and merrily made my way over to Smile To Go.
The space impressed me as unique and energetic, with the cozy-yet-vertically-spacious feel of the front interweaving with the bustling kitchen that made up the back 2/3 of the hall. With food second on my mind at the moment, I approached the counter to talk coffee and ended up ordering an espresso of the A-Train espresso blend and a drip of the Costa Rica Finca Gamboa. As the barista handed me my espresso, he warned me that the machine was not pulling the best shots that day and that it might be a bit sour. Sure enough, the espresso was slightly tart, smacking of pungent raspberry, but not to the point of it being unpleasant, with the other flavors of buttermilk biscuit, vanilla, a little nutmeg and a touch of clove shining through to make it a fairly wonderful infusion (aka only a touch off). The drip belted out joyous melodies of Belgian ale, apple slices, walnuts, cola, light nougat and basil within a medium body, making for a hearty, sweet brew.
As for the food, I had but a sampling that made me only wish I had been hungrier. In the end, if you're looking for a great meal to compliment some great coffee (and/or visa versa), make a point to hit Smile To Go (though get their well before the thick of lunch, as I was advised by the barista that lunch time can be nuts).