Broome Street General Store around the internet, needing a gift for a very Silver-Lakey friend, and it being like 2 seconds from my apartment, I had to check it out this Saturday. It's an adorable rendition of what early Restoration Hardware could have been if it weren't looking for chain-store world takeover and served excellent espresso drinks. It's a beautifully picked set of a little of everything, with a nod to retro stylishness and solid construction: giant jars of bloody Mary mix from a tiny brand in Brooklyn, with bits of hot pepper and tomato seeds visibly swimming in the thick red juice; tiny Weck jars, with their pretty orange seals, filled with whole nutmeg, or lavender buds. A few Asian specialty kitchen items, a few Italian ones. Simple juice glasses, artisanal honey, and heavy, substantial baking dishes in simple colors and patterns.
The space used to hold a frivolous but beautifully appointed shop named Zanzabelle, and I wondered as I walked in if Broome Street would be different. The nutmeg was the first thing that caught my eye. It was, admittedly, an adorable little treat. But at $8.25 for about six... nuts (what the hell do you call a nutmeg?), it gave me pause about the whole place.
It feels good to be in this clean, tidy shop. But, the well-curated inventory at Broome Street is not cheap. I came for a gift, but true to form, instead ended up grabbing myself some cool refreshing caffeination and a snack to go along. For an iced latte and savory hand pie, I paid over ten dollars. It took a few minutes, but eventually I figured out what I was really paying for. Broome Street is set off from the street by a sweet square patio, each corner of which houses a tree whose branches arch over and shade the wooden bistro tables perfectly. It was a searing 85 degrees outside, but sitting on that patio under dappled sunshine, with my icy coffee and a light breeze shaking the pages of my book -- that's pretty much all I ever want. The hospitality of the surroundings allowed my mind to wander far from Rowena Avenue. That quiet patio, with vines growing over an arched trellis on one side, offered me a moment of respite. It turns out Broome Street offers free wireless internet and electrical outlets outside, too. And in addition to the baked goods on offer currently, salads and sandwiches are coming soon. The staff -- the shop's owners -- are warm and conversational, and clearly they're taking care of their guests.
I probably won't go back to Broome Street for a bottle of toasted sesame oil with an extra-stylish label or gummy peach candies gussied up by a fancy tin. But I know myself: I have a long history of passing time over espresso drinks. Weekends keep coming, and I keep being Tannaz: for a sweet moment of neighborly hospitality, great coffee and a bite to eat on that dreamy patio, I can't wait for the next opportunity.