May 13, 2010

Fika Espresso Bar

Cafe Fika is a Swedish coffee/sandwich place that has several outposts uptown ("fika" is Swedish for coffee break). 2 Christmases ago I stopped by the one near 57th street to pick up some pastries and coffee for Christmas with ABF's family (his dad's side is Swedish). They were all delicious, but that particular location is so small that I felt almost claustrophobic waiting to pay at the cash register. When ABF told me there was a new location opening up on Pearl Street near his office, I couldn't wait to try it!

I met ABF after work one chilly day. This spot is just a few steps from the R train, within sight of the bustle of Stone Street. While I waited at a table outside, I snapped a few photos of the buildings around us. I never, ever get tired of looking at all the buildings here. There is always something new to notice, even on a building you've passed a thousand times before.

ABF showed up just a few minutes later, and we decided to stay outside. It was a little cool, and random raindrops were plinking down around us, but we dared to brave the weather. I hopped inside and picked out two sandwiches for us. Unfortunately the beet-stuffed burger ABF has tried before was not available, so we opted for the meatball and the curried chicken. ABF took the curried chicken, because I've never been a big fan. That was about to change! This was SO good! Perfectly seasoned, tender chunks of chicken, and just enough sauce. The bun was a bit unwieldy, and sesame seeds rained down all over our table, but this dish was a winner.

I took the Swedish meatball sandwich, which was slathered with chilled beets. Why don't I cook beets more at home? Few things are as vibrantly delicious as a perfectly roasted beet. In fact, I'm ordering some tonight from Fresh Direct! Back on track...the beets were a sweet complement to the meat, which I wish had been even a little salty. The meatballs were a bit bland, but the beets and the sauce picked up some of the flavor slack.

Just as we finished our sandwiches, the rain started to come down a bit more seriously. We packed up our dishes and went inside for coffee and dessert. There is a lot to choose from when it comes to this part! I ordered regular coffee with my dinner, and when you get coffee with an entree, you get free refills. Woo hoo! The friendly server freshened up my cup and made a latte for ABF, finishing it off with a lovely little foam heart.

I ordered an oversized macaroon, which is about the only way I like to eat coconut. This was soft, moist, and chewy, a perfect pairing with my strong Swedish coffee.

I meant to order a shortbread cookie for ABF, but apparently I wasn't clear enough. I pointed at the dish of shortbread cookies, not realizing a crumbly type of sugar cookie was there as well. That's what the server brought us, and I didn't realize it until ABF & I sat down in our booth. He went with the flow and tried it, but I think we both would have preferred the shortbread. This has to be THE crumbliest cookie I've ever seen. One bite and it literally fell apart in ABF's hand. It has a nice almond flavor (I looove almond!) but it was just too crumbly to handle.

This store, which is Fika's flagship location, also offers their own chocolates. I'll have to sample those on my next trip, but they did look delicious!

I wouldn't put Fika under Cheap Eats, but it is moderately priced, and it is quality food. If you're in the area, uptown OR downtown, definitely pop in and take a fika AT Fika!

Fika Espresso Bar
66 Pearl St
New York, NY 10004
(212) 832-0022

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