Bao & Butter

Exploring New York City and the world

Olas Coffee Popup at Otway | Clinton Hill | Brooklyn

The popup’s last day was June 30th, 2018, but Jeremiah Borrego has future plans that we’ll keep you posted on. You can find Olas Coffee in the wild at Boerum Hill restaurant Rucola. Otway will be starting full-time breakfast service in the near future.

Add Otway, at least temporarily, to the catalog of Clinton Hill spots where one can grab an excellent espresso or coffee drink. On weekday mornings (except for Tuesdays, when the restaurant is closed), coffee professional Jeremiah Borrego can be found behind Otway’s bar showcasing coffee he roasts himself at Regalia Coffee in Long Island City under the name Olas (Spanish for “waves”).

Jeremiah Borrego | Olas Coffee

Jeremiah Borrego | Olas Coffee

As a neighborhood denizen and Otway fan, Mr. Borrego approached the restaurant with the idea of using their dormant daytime space to fine-tune his coffee endeavor. Finding them a welcome recipient to the idea, Olas Coffee debuted as a pop-up in late February, 2018.

With over 10 years in the coffee industry, Mr. Borrego has worked at cafes and restaurants in New York City since 2010, starting out as a barista at the now-defunct Cafe Pedlar. In July 2013 he was tapped to help open Nick Morgenstern’s El Rey Cafe as coffee consultant and opening manager. Barista stints at restaurants including Rucola and Reynard followed, and he eventually ended up at seminal East Village cafe Abraço as barista/assistant roaster and still pulls shifts there several days a week.

Espresso | Olas Coffee

Espresso | Olas Coffee

There is no set end-date for the Otway pop-up, but he has been raising funds and scouring the neighborhood and nearby environs for the future home of his own cafe, so it will presumably wind down when that opens. While Mr. Borrego’s current goals for his roasting operation are to produce enough high quality coffee to supply his upcoming cafe and retail coffee bean operation, behind his relaxed demeanor he is furiously planning coffee-related endeavors far into the future.

Stop by Otway weekdays (except Tuesday) from 8am-noon for a shot of espresso, with good body and thick crema, recently a single origin Colombia Huila. Mr. Borrego’s roasting philosophy has evolved over time to accentuate what he calls “the linger,” the flavor you take with you after finishing his espresso; the Huila doesn’t disappoint in this regard, its chocolate/cherry flavor finishes with a surprising grapefruit burst that, dare I say, lingers.

Coffee Beans | Olas Coffee

Coffee Beans | Olas Coffee

The espresso goes well in milk drinks, and there’s a delicious, clean-tasting drip coffee available, along with a selection of teas. While the pop-up’s focus is on coffee, there is a small selection of baked goods produced in-house and displayed near the entrance on the white marble bar; chocolate or white chocolate chip cookies are a mainstay, sometimes joined by raisin or currant scones and poundcake with rotating seasonal fruit.

And if you’re fortunate, Mr Borrego will let you taste one of his science experiments – sometimes a green coffee extract drink, sometimes a vinegar-based shrub.

Visit Olas @ Otway Mon, Wed-Friday 8am-12pm, cash only.
Coffee beans are available for purchase.

Xiaochi (小吃) | Espresso 77 Splits, Chinese Restaurants Flood East Village | January 29, 2018

Xiaochi is a periodic column devoted to short news items and links. Xiaochi (小吃) is the Chinese word for snacks.

Cafe BKLN Park Slope storefront

This happened back in September, 2017, but I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere. The former partners of Espresso 77 have split, with one owner retaining the venerable Jackson Heights location and the other taking ownership of the South Slope location under the name Cafe Bkln. All remains the same including Gimme! as their coffee roaster.

Although I wasn’t a fan of their dark roasted coffee, I miss the bright, beautifully-designed space of the former occupants, Cafe De Luxe.

Chinese restaurants continue to flood into Manhattan, especially the East Village, and I’ve made it to a good number of them over the last few months.

Ho Foods Chef Opening Night

With a combination of luck and judicious planning, a friend and I managed to snag two counter seats on Ho Foods‘ debut night for what turned out to be the best Taiwanese Beef Noodles I’ve had in New York City.

Ho Foods Beef Noodle Soup

It didn’t quite match my Taipei faves, but I would recommend anyone to try their deep, balanced, flavorful beef noodle soup; tendon is a good option.

Le Sia (乐虾) | E 7th St | East Village | Manhattan | NYC | 2018

Two I haven’t made it to yet are Le Sia (乐虾), an attractive Chinese skewer restaurant that recently opened on E 7th St which faces (albeit separated by the Cooper Union building) another just-opened spot, Meet Fresh (鮮芋仙), a Taiwanese dessert chain, on the corner of E 6th St and Bowery. I tried to go a couple of days ago but the line was 50 people deep according to an intelligence source, so I think I’ll wait for the dust to settle, à la Tim Ho Wan.

Today’s Xiaochi (小吃) | Alpha Dominche Extraction Lab, Archestratus Books & Foods, Kona Coffee & Co | September 28, 2017

Xiaochi is a periodic column devoted to short news items and links. Xiaochi (小吃) is the Chinese word for snacks.

Alpha Dominche Extraction Lab | Industry City | Sunset Park | Brooklyn | NYC

Alpha Dominche Extraction Lab, the best cafe in New York City that no one visits, has recently begun offering smørrebrød, open-faced sandwiches for $5 a pop.

The Bean, 2nd Ave (E 3rd St)

EV Grieve reports on Kona Coffee and Company, a new East Village coffee shop opening soon on Second Ave between 3rd and 4th Streets. As per usual, EV Grieve equates the quality of all coffee shops, mentioning the loathsome The Bean in the same breath as some actual good purveyors.

Archestratus | Huron St | Greenpoint | Brooklyn | NYC

Paige Lipari, the proprietor of Greenpoint’s Archestratus Books & Foods, was recently featured on the Food Book Fair podcast where she talked about Patience Gray, the Sicily-based British food writer whose work is experiencing a revival following the publishing of her memoir. I like how they call Archestratus the food-and-books pleasure dome. That’s exactly how I feel about the place.

Mr Wish Park Slope Grand Opening

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | Park Slope | Brooklyn

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | 86 5th Ave | Park Slope | Brooklyn | NYC
Somehow Mr Wish, a bubble tea chain with five other branches scattered around New York City (and zillions in Taiwan and also China) escaped my notice until they opened one in my own neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | 86 5th Ave | Park Slope | Brooklyn | NYC

My first impression of Mr Wish was a positive one after stopping by for a full sugar tapioca milk tea for my niece. The tapioca pearls were soft, the way they should be, something that’s hard to come by in New York City. I couldn’t tell much else about the drink due to the sugar overload, so I returned a couple of days later with a friend and ordered a cold, zero sugar milk tea with tapioca pearls and one of their signature fruit drinks without boba.

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Archestratus Books & Foods Exterior

Food Tour | Archestratus, Bakeri, Cienaga, Meyers Bageri, MilkMade, Nixtamal, Oddfellows, Yunnan Flavour Garden

I love showing people around New York City, mixing food exploration with sightseeing. A recent expedition involved taking Mark, a food guy visiting from Bali, on a highly personalized journey that took into consideration preferences of his (bakeries, ice cream) and ruled out cuisines from Southeast Asia (where he lives and travels), Japan (his future home), and squeezed it into one dinner Wednesday night and half of the next day, along with homework to complete in his own time. We could have covered more places, but unlike me (probably wisely), he doesn’t eat for science – only for hunger – and our geographically disparate destinations took a toll on available eating time due to heavy New York City traffic.

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East One - Featured Image

Best New Cafes & Coffee Shops | NYC | May 2017 Edition

At least a handful of cafes open in New York City every month, but I no longer attempt to make it to all of them and instead prioritize those that meet at least one of the following criteria: serving coffee from a favorite roaster, beautiful spaces, good places to work, inhabiting previously unserved or underserved neighborhoods.

My four recent favorites are all in Brooklyn except for Flatiron’s Patisserie Chanson.

Use this handy Foursquare list to find all of the cafes covered in this series of best cafe and coffee shop roundups.

East One Coffee Roasters | Carroll Gardens

East One | Court St | Carroll Gardens | Brooklyn | NYC 384 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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