I’m a cliche – I spent a rainy Saturday morning in New York at a cafe nearby. Parth looked up nearby coffee shops so I could read a book I picked up from the new york public library. Via phone, he directed me to a cafe on Amsterdam between 109th and 110th called SIP. When I first looked it, it seemed so small and not closed off enough from the rain. I had my doubts, but I walked in and took a seat at these one or two person niche tables attached to the walls. I’m not quite sure what the overarching theme of the decor is, but the tables were made from, or decorated with, laminated pennies. The walls on the interior walls were black and red cushions, I believe, and some people chose outdoor seating under the canopy, despite the rain. Since I was sitting with my back towards the open door, I could hear the rain hitting the pavement with the satisfaction that I was out of its wet grip. I hate getting wet.

I was surprised that the owner and waitress were really friendly because I think of new york operating as a machine without a human touch. Or is it because of this tendency that the cafe goes out its way to be friendly? Or is an American quality to put on a hyper-enthusiastic voice? (On a side note, my doctor gave me a big smile as she told me that I had a virus in my body, that just wasn’t going away. It threw me off – was she giving me good news or bad? )

They were offering a prix fixed brunch that included unlimited tea/coffee and mimosas…she had me at mimosas, but only if I were with other people. I kept going over the normal menu, which had a soup du jour section, an egg section, toast, granola that seemed expensive at 7 dollars compared to a sandwich that was $8. Generally affordable at New York rates though the 18% gratuity made me wince a little.

Okay, I’ve become more conservative than I would have liked, because I ordered my usual aubergine, red pepper and mozzarella sandwich. But, it was a surprise because they cut up the aubergine and made into a filling, like hummus except less fluid, rather than a centerpiece, like a burger. Everything was falling out but it was a hot, oily mess of delicious familiarity and a little surprise.

A less delectable surprise was the overcooked side of stripped Brussels sprouts, possibly cabbage and other unrecognizable vegetables. Without much salt or seasoning, sighs. It was the classic dish that makes people hate vegetables – why did they think of it was a good idea?

The mush was a small setback because the aroma of a fruity scone wafted across to me…maddening, the temptation. I kept starting at it on the counter.

SIP is a such a tiny place that it breeds familiarity quickly. I didn’t expect that because a subway car is also a small place, but one that distributes apathy. I guess its just the attitude that people bring – you go to a cafe to be social but you’re forced onto a subway and adopt the attitude of difference.

Another trip to SIP? Maybe, but I wonder how many other such cafes there must be in the city

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