No sign yet is a good sign

July 3, 2010 at 1:24 PM | Posted in Food, Geography, Long Island Syndrome | 12 Comments
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A new coffee place has just opened in Amagansett, out east on Long Island. New York, for all its great food, has been far behind the West Coast in coffee but I have been hearing good things and  from my two early visits to Jack’s I see potential. The first thing I like is that there is, as yet, no sign outside. This tells me that there is no “corporate” involved, no team from HQ with a checklist that’s been tested for the last 10,000. store openings. Now, this does sound like a criticism of Starbucks and it’s not, not really. Starbucks is owed the grateful thanks from all coffee-lovers because they raised the bar throughout US and on this July 4th I want to thank them for that. I want to, particularly, salute the Starbucks on Squirrel in Auburn Hills, Michigan for opening so consistently at 5 AM, welcoming the sleepless and the ones that must have a triple espresso before swimming.      

I met Jack on my first visit and he is appropriately wired and thoroughly enthusiastic and he should be as his espresso is beautifully dark and rich and it lingers in your mind. He has taken a locavore stance and the place has an interesting selection of muffins and the like and for each one, his relative’s chocolate chip cookie, for instance, he has a story.      

There is work yet to be done at Jack’s: the service is flummoxed in true Hampton’s style and would not be confused with, say,  Peet’s in Los Altos and they have the long-behind-the-times habit of wanting to put the half and half in the coffee for you — as in “coffee regular” — and therefore, not having it out on the counter for you. This does give them the ability to hover over you, in true Long Island Syndrome style, to make sure you don’t take too much.      

But enough of my quibbling: go forth Jack and make our populace happy and, like you, ever more wired!


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  1. I know this is not as epic and romantic but I bought a small Nespresso machine about five years ago for $275 when I was working in the Financial District in San Franciso. A trip for coffee was a 24 floor elevator ride down, block walk, line waiting time, prep time another block walk and elevator ride up.It was costing me a hour a day on average for two or three trips. I figure the little machine has saved me $6 a day during that time and the espresso is as good as most coffee places, certainly Starbucks. It’s the coffee version of rolling your own. Highly recommended.

    • Brian, my wife Ingrid is a devotee of Nespresso. I often have one as my second of the day when I’ve given up on the idea that coffee is the cause of my poor sleep. Which is your chosen pod?

      • Tom, I generally experimient with one of the monthly special blends. Right now, my favorite is Indiyama (I think that’s spelled correctly) in a green pod. I try to get the bolder blends and will experiment making both brewed cups and espressos since I can find no reason that they can’t do both even though there are directions that some are for espresso and some for cups. Also note that if you run out of pods (even though it generally takes no more than 3 days to get them when you order on line), Williams Sonoma does not sell pods but if you’re nice, they’ll generally give you a sleeve to hold you over.

      • Try a mix with hazelnut – Maragogype (sp?) goes well.

      • You are a Nespresso man as well? Installed in your CEO suite?

  2. Impressive, Brian. Tom always struck me as the person who would go furthest for a good cup of coffee, though usually on wheels. He introduced me to Peets, and I particularly remember a morning during the hideous off-site at the Sunnyvale Hilton, when Pier Carlo was launching his fuck-up of ASK. We took ourselves off to Peets to drown our sorrows. Sad days.

    • Graham, Pier Carlo fucked up ASK but he did wear very nice sports coats. Speaking strictly for myself, I don’t mind so much if a company that enjoy working for is run into the ground so long as the man driving the piledriver is well dressed. As far as Peet’s, I’d heard a story that the two original founders of Starbucks disagreed early on as to where they should take the company. One founder thought that Peet’s was the ultimate expression of the coffee experience. The other didn’t care so much as long as there was a Starbucks on every street corner. The expansion minded partner bought out the other and the latter ended up buying Peet’s for a less lucrative but more satisfying career. Don’t know if I got that exactly right but that’s how I remember it. For some reason, I’ve always been more partial to Peet’s even though they burn the beans and refuse to hire anyone with less than a dozen piercings, 3 of which are only seen by their physician or significant other. You, Tom and I should meet for coffee at Peet’s in Los Altos. Since you’re travelling the furthest, you pick the date. I’m buying.

      • Perhaps I am too used to the fall of nations that I remember Pier Carlo, firstly, for introducing me to risotto. He was also the first man, and the last, that showed extensive decolletage while playing golf. And yes, upon recollection, he was the final straw in the fall of a company I once was devoted to.

      • You’re both right. It was impossible to dislike PCF – the guy had such style, though he did fray at the edges when I took him to Baan, drove him back across Holland, and then flew him on a KLM hedgehopper back to the UK to meet our customers. I remember at that offsite being so furious with him and then seeing him coming across the carpark wearing a full-length leather overcoat. Disarming.

        It was of course all Sandy’s fault. As Ballesteros said to his caddy – ‘I’m not angry with you. I’m angry with myself for hiring someone so incompetent.’

        The three of us at Peet’s – let’s dream. I’m hoping to get over in the next year or so, and won’t forget the offer Brian.

      • Before we go to Peets, how about a great dinner with some of the great wine that Brian once so casually mentioned?

        There is a Peets in Chicago, right around the corner from where my daughter lives, so I am in good supply. But nothing can recapture those early Peets days.

    • Graham, do you recall that time you picked me up at Heathrow and we went in search of coffee in the small towns of your native land? We landed in a tea-ish sort of place that turned out, to my relief, fine. The we went in search of Churchill, I think.

      • I certainly do. We went to Chartwell on the way to Rye I think. Don’t remember the coffee though – ‘a tea-ish sort of place’ sounds about right. Still hard to find a good independent cup in England.

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