Following on the tails of my visit to The Breslin, I stopped in to Stumptown Coffee, also attached to the Ace Hotel, for a cappuccino. It's one of the much-ballyhooed new coffees that arrived from the Pacific Northwest, specifically, Portland, this fall. As you can see, these guys are serious about their coffee, swirling a fancy pattern in the foam for the cappuccino AND in the hot chocolate. The strong coffee is very good, a heavily roasted flavor but not too bitter. And the hot chocolate was perfect, chocolatey but not cloyingly sweet or rich.
The baristas were an urban version of the Wild West - hats, ties and vests, mustachioed and tattooed. The high-ceilinged, spare shop serves a simple menu of coffee and some pastries that come from The Breslin next-door and Frankie Sputino. There are no seats, just a simple bar along the front window. But a nice touch — you can get your drinks to stay and sit in the spacious, comfortable lobby of the Ace Hotel.
Also available at Stumptown were a few flavors of Brooklyn-based Mast Brothers chocolate bars. I've tried some of these before and liked their interesting combination of ingredients and the use of dark, dark chocolate. But when I discovered one of the bars was a collaboration between Mast Brothers and Stumptown, I had to go for it despite the hefty $10 pricetag (and it's wrapped in pretty paper!). They didn't fool around — an earthy chocolate embedded with coffee beans with a serious kick to it. The coffee beans were pure — eating the bits that had fallen off the chocolate bar, there was no sweetness, just the flavor of the crackly coffee bean shell. So, if you're a dark chocolate lover and a coffee drinker looking to combine two of your favorite indulgences, here's a treat for you.