Neighborhood Favorite: Lulabean Cafe

When you move to a new place, one of the best ways to start feeling at home is to find local, reliable places that you enjoy. When I first moved to Brooklyn nearly seven years ago, I was chomping at the bit to explore every block of Williamsburg, and the number of coffee shops was dizzying. But I eventually realized that Lulabean, just around the corner from my place, was an ideal go-to. Their baristas are fast and friendly, and they have delicious quick bites to grab, like buttery croissants, quiche slices, locally-sourced doughnuts, and Aussie bites (small granola-based muffins with coconut and dried fruit).

However, since I’m out the door for work at 7:00 every morning, eating a relaxed breakfast at a real table is one of my favorite small luxuries. I try to nab my favorite seat (on the bench in the corner, with a view out the window), I read the news, and I enjoy food you can’t eat on the train or in a car. Usually, that is the fantastic #2: an everything with smoked wild salmon, cream cheese, red onions, fresh dill, and tomatoes.

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Lulabean is also one of only a few cafes that makes a proper iced latte. I was served a less-than-stellar iced latte earlier today, which was the color of oatmeal, and it made me appreciate my local spot even more. At Lula, they fill the glass with enough ice, your milk of choice, and then pour fresh espresso on the top, letting the layers beautifully swirl like a lava lamp. Like a beautiful pattern in the foam of a hot latte, the aesthetic appeal makes the experience even more special.

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With rock or hip-hop playing, lemon-basil water on tap for free, and the Times, I could spend hours here. Watching the snow fall, perusing the concerts, talks, art projects, and stoop sales on the community bulletin, seeing the faces of people coming in and out of the Grand Street stop, the many dogs being walked, the great variety of lives being lived in my small corner of the world.

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