When Midtown Lunch’s Rachel Goldner stopped by Simon Sips, she was heartened not only by the foam art on her drink, but by staffers she described as “just the kind of people you want to interact with in the morning: calm, extremely nice, and helpful.” Perhaps this amiability stems from the fact that the shop’s baristas aren’t frazzled by overly complicated drink orders—Simon’s puritanical espresso menu includes only lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. The New York Times' Oliver Strand called Simon Sips "worth seeking out" on its city guide app, The Scoop, and Midtown Lunch's readers even voted Simon Sips "Best Coffee 2012." The smell of drip coffee also fills the newly renovated space, where patrons can nibble on a daily rotating selection of muffins or especially fresh-smelling drink sleeves.
Guy & Gallard doesn't mind where people choose to savor its menu of more than 70 breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, and pastas. Diners also get to design their own sandwiches out of diverse ingredients that range from albacore-tuna salad and grilled vegetables to tandoori chicken and prosciutto. To sate health-minded stomachs and hungry treadmills, the menu uses a green leaf to denote the meals that have less fat and fewer calories.
Though cafés often conjure images of a modest menu scrawled on a chalkboard, Cafe Fresco boasts an unexpectedly extensive selection of breakfast and lunch items. The menu begins with custom omelets, then goes on to include griddle items (challah french toast, buttermilk pancakes), and homemade granola. A large portion of the list is reserved for bagel sandwiches, which can be stuffed with everything from peanut butter to veggies and tofu. Like the omelets, patrons can create their own sandwiches or head to the deli counter to order feasts to take home to a gourmand goldfish. Available by the quarter-pound, the takeout items include strawberry cream cheese and other spreads, as well as sandwich stuffers such as gourmet deli meat and chicken salad. Of course it wouldn’t be a café without coffee: baristas can brew mochaccinos, lattes, and chai tea.
Serving as a New York epicenter of holistic thought, the nonprofit educational and cultural center hosts more than 500 programs per year, taught by renowned teachers such as Deepak Chopra. In-person programs cover topics ranging from wellness and psychology to the interplay between ecology and culture, and the center’s online courses teach students how to incorporate feng shui into an urban lifestyle or tie-dye their auras to match their favorite sweaters. Students anywhere in the world can participate in streaming webinars, which pair interactive instruction with live question-and-answer sessions. One-hour wellness sessions vanquish physical and spiritual pains with a choice of 15 healing modalities, and an onsite bookstore expands visitors' horizons with world music, educational DVDs, and a secret passage to a cavernous vault filled with globes.