There's nothing quite like the agonizing pleasure of shopping to make a cup of coffee sound that much more wonderful, or even like the only thing left that could possibly keep you alive. Rather than settling for the nearest chain-store swill (and bumping seasonal gift totes with all the sheeplike masses), why not search out one of the city's finer coffee establishments to break for that most appreciated cup of quality coffee, espresso, tea, or hot chocolate? Here are a few of our top recommendations, by district.
'Toby's Estate' on Serious Eats
The toasty pistachio flavor of these tiny cookies is vibrant, and the touch of agave seems only to amplify it, while the texture is like a cross between a flourless cookie and traditional meringue.
It's both the salvation of the freelancer and the bane of the cafe owner's existence: the coffee-shop-as-workplace. And though the scenario's second-nature in most cities, finding a place to "laptop camp" in New York City can prove to be a bit of a challenge. That said, there are a handful of places that still let, and in some cases encourage, their working patrons to linger.
The bakery case at Toby's Estate offers a plethora of pastries from different vendors around town—think caneles from Balthazar, lamingtons from Van Leeuwen, and cookies from Ovenly. My favorite? Sticky buns ($3) from Roberta's.
Disclaimer: any attempt at scratching the childhood-born itch of the breakfast sandwich has this writer predisposed to positive degustation, and the Toby's Estate scrambled egg on a roll ($7.50) proves to be no exception to the rule.