When I moved to New York City nearly 30 years ago, the West Village was my neighborhood of choice. Not only is it where my parents lived back when they briefly were New Yorkers, but Greenwich Village – as it is formally called – is arguably the city’s most storied neighborhood in terms of counterculture. And it still retains some of that flavor, even after all these years.
I’ve been enjoying a bit of a Greenwich Village renaissance as of late. I don’t necessarily go out that much, but I do occasionally take in films at the art house theaters around there. If I’m heading to the Angelika, I’ll likely gravitate towards Parm on Mulberry Street. But if I’m over at the IFC, I didn’t really have a go-to spot because Joe’s Pizza hasn’t quite been the same since they moved from their original corner location.
I had been hitting Turkiss on MacDougal Street until the Burger Joint opened up an outpost on West 8th & MacDougal, which is now my default dining destination in the area. But now I’ve discovered a place for, well, dessert.
CafeMarie opened earlier this summer at 120 MacDougal Street, just south of Minetta Lane. It’s a clean little hole in the wall serving coffee and beignets, the French doughnuts from New Orleans. And in keeping with that tradition, they offer coffee with chicory as well, including cafe au lait.
I stopped in the other afternoon to give the place a taste. Fortunately for me it was after 3:30 PM, because that’s when they start serving the beignets. The reason they are not available throughout the day is because they are all freshly made when you order them. These are not the kind of things that sit around on the counter or in a display case.
I grabbed a cup of coffee along with an order of beignets. I received three large beignets, carefully covered with the customary powdered sugar. Only these beignets had a twist, in that they actually did have holes in the middle – well, more like small slits – which I found helped cradle the powdered sugar better than a traditional, hole-less beignet. And, frankly, I’d have paid a lot more than five dollars for the order of three I received.
They were delicious. I couldn’t have been happier unless I was sitting down at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, stuffing beignets in my face before a night out on Frenchmen Street. And while I was carefully stuffing my face at CafeMarie, trying hard not to drop any powdered sugar on my shirt and pants, I witnessed two New Orleans natives stop by and testify to the authenticity of the beignets. Sure, there were grumbles about having holes in them, but I’m sure they too would eventually see the wisdom of it.
Now I have yet another culinary reason to head to MacDougal Street in the West Village. CafeMarie is a huge find. And all my friends, particularly those who have ventured to New Orleans with me on many an occasion, will surely be delighted to welcome it into the feeding fold.