Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cafe Grumpy... a little corner of Gibraltar in the 'Big Apple'

My old friend John Cortes, the 'man at the helm' at GONHS (Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society) wrote to me recently giving me the 'heads up' on an interesting story... about a little corner of Gibraltar in the 'Big Apple'... New York!

Cafe Grumpy, with two branches in New York City and soon to be three, is run by Caroline Bell and her husband Chris. Caroline has firm Gibraltar roots as she is the daughter of Gibraltarian Lucille Cortes and Nick Bell, who worked at the Gibraltar Branch of Barclays Bank in the 1970s.

Cafe Grumpy has a coffee shop in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn and will soon be opening a third New York venue... and they all sound like the perfect place... for a 'grumpy old Gibo' and coffee lover like me! smile

Cafe Grumpy has just been voted as "the best cup of coffee in New York" by a 'Readers's Choice' poll in the distinguished Eat Out Awards 2009 - Best restaurants and bars in NYC - Time Out New York!

Gibraltarians who visit New York should not fail to call at a branch of Cafe Grumpy for the best coffee in NYC... and no doubt a warm welcome! To find all their current locations click here.

Coffee and Gibraltar connections in the US of A

The connections between Gibraltar, coffee and our cousins across the pond do not end there.

I am subscribed to Google email alerts for 'keywords' I am interested in... and naturally one of them is 'Gibraltar'. Recently, I started to receive 'alerts' about posts and websites talking about 'The Gibraltar'. I was also seeing them coming up on my Twitter tweets... with many people mentioning they had just enjoyed a 'Gibraltar' or similar! rolleyes

Intrigued, I of course had to have a look... and was amused to find that this relates to Cafe Grumpy... indirectly I understand (though my 'informed sources' could be wrong) and an interesting new fad in trendy 'Stateside' cafes... over a particular cup of coffee that has become highly sought after and known as 'A Gibraltar'

Here's a write up about it.. in Espresso News and Reviews @ TheShot.coffeeratings.com. They're not very complimentary... calling it "The Gibraltar: Fool’s Cappuccino"... indeed, they would like to 'defrock' it! Oh dear! lol lol

According to Espresso News and Reviews, 'The Gibraltar' originated in San Francisco (where they are based... what a surprise) and has since spread to Los Angeles (Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea), New York (Cafe Grumpy naturally) and now London (Climpson & Sons).

Anyhow... not wishing to embroil myself in this particular debate, (which sounds to me a bit 'up their asses' anyway), but in order to explain a little more to you about 'The Gibraltar', I thought you might be interested to read what else Espresso News and Reviews have to say and why they wish to 'defrock' a cup of coffee:
"The purpose of this post is to demystify, debunk, and, well, defrock the Gibraltar before the misconceptions behind this invasive species are allowed to propagate any further."
ha ha... Serious stuff! lol

So what is the Gibraltar? Espresso News and Reviews explains:

"Technically speaking, it’s the registered name for a line of glassware tumblers from Ohio-based Libbey Inc.

So what does any of this have to do with coffee? Prior to opening Blue Bottle Coffee Co.’s first SF café in Hayes Valley in January 2005, owner James Freeman experimented and tuned variables for his café by making cappuccinos in 4.5-oz versions of these cheap restaurant supply glasses. He offered these practice runs to his staff and to employees of the Dark Garden corset shop down the street.

Word of mouth spread, and these test beverages needed a name. Steve Ford, then a barista and roasting colleague of James at Blue Bottle (and now head roaster at Ritual Coffee Roasters), apparently found inspiration from the packaging for these glasses.

Thus the Gibraltar was born out of a combination of happenstance and an inside joke. Except now the joke has gone global."
It has indeed... as has their snotty, 'up their ass' tone!

I wonder what Caroline Bell might have to say about this?? I am very much hoping she has not been tainted by this sort of inane 'faddy' twatishness that seems to surround the Cafe glitterati in some corners of the US... after all, she is of Llanita blood... and in my experience we are far more down to earth... and 'feet firmly planted' than that... well usually we are! Here's hoping! rolleyes

Having said that.. and being a coffee lover as I said... I would love to try a cup of 'A Gibraltar'... see what all the fuss is about. I'm going to have to see if I can organise a trip sometime... maybe even to Caroline's Cafe Grumpy in NYC!



Cafe Grumpy said...

...I did enjoy the blog.

Thanks for thinking of us. Glad to know the Gibraltarian sense of
humor is still in tact!

Let us know if you decide to visit NYC...and we will give you a
Gibraltar on the house!

All the best,

Caroline Bell, Co-Owner
Cafe Grumpy
193 Meserole Ave. Brooklyn
224 West 20th St. Manhattan