We visited many coffee shops while in Manhattan and Washington DC. I would have to say, without doubt, Caffe Vita on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side was our absolute favorite. Although they had the most smooth, never-bitter coffee, what made this our favorite was the baristas! More on that in a minute, lets start from the beginning...
When we arrived to the Lower East Side after our flight from the West Coast, we immediately recognized their 'Punchinello" sign from our travels to Seattle last year. Malisa's cousin, Michael, who lives nearby, said he hadn't been there before. We soon figured out why, they opened the week we were in town! How amazing is that???
Ok, back to the baristas. When we visited for the first time we started talking about seeing the sign in Seattle and being familiar with Caffe Vita. One of the guys we talked to was Bob Prince, one of the partners of the company who was there for the opening week. Kelsey and Lair (apologize for spelling!) made our beverages on a 70's La Marzocco espresso machine. They also helped Malisa find a new drink called a Cortado, or PacNor, or Gibraltar (too many names!). It is a double-shot of espresso and a bit of steamed milk. The size is between a traditional macchiatto and a small latte.
The shop was so new when we visited that they didn't have a menu posted. I tried to order a Vanilla Latte and Kelsey gave me a blank stare. She said they didn't have syrups because they don't want to cover the flavor of their coffee. I sure can respect that! I am glad I didn't have syrup too, that coffee sure didn't need it!
We ended up visiting Caffe Vita 3 times, we wanted to go more but we thought it was be weird if we went everyday... When we had pizza at Via Tribunali next door, owned by the same people, Kelsey brought Malisa, Michael and me Caffe Vita tee shirts, how cool is that? To top it off, the coffee was free all week. It amazed me everytime they said, "no charge." I tipped well though!
Thank you Kelsey, Lair and Bob for making our visit memorable!
Anyway, enough talk, here are some photos. Enjoy!