A wise man once said, “Life is life a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” But so is New York. You just never know what you’ll come across. Or what, randomly on a 14°, bitingly cold Friday night, you’ll stumble upon when walking down an otherwise quiet, unsuspecting street on the way somewhere else.
The bf and I (who from here on out will be called Flaneur) were making our way through the Lower East Side, killing time before our late dinner reservations, when something across the street caught our eye: a tiny, almost literal hole-in-the-wall bar. No name, no neon Bud Light signs, no smokers milling about outside. Not even a clear indication that it was open.
Intrigued (and slightly frostbitten), we crossed the street and opened the door.
Inside was a small cluster of tiny tables, maybe enough for about 30 people tops, all crammed into a dimly lit, cozy space. Some people were eating, others just drinking, so we sat down, still not even knowing what the place was called or what kind of bar it was. Could’ve been the meeting place for swingers for all we knew.
The waitress came by and dropped off the menu: Anyway Café.
Ahh! That’s where we are. Hmm, never heard of it.
One side of the menu listed food and the other drinks. Looking to put our liquid jackets on, we skipped straight to the booze. Listed were a few beers, a few wines, and lots of vodka. Organic vodka by the shot or carafe in every infusion imaginable from chocolate to mango to lychee to apricot. Then a whole listing of vodka brands and a slew of martinis. We opted for the latter of the three vodka offerings. Honey ginger martini for Flaneur and chocolate for me. (Was it even a question that I would get anything else?)
Sometimes chocolate martinis are dense and syrupy, like someone squirted half a bottle of hot fudge into a martini glass, but this one was different. Smooth and light, with a cocoa powder rim, this was sweet and warming. With the couple of floating coffee beans and a maraschino cherry at the bottom, I felt like this drink was made specifically for me. Flaneur’s was a little less sweet and a little more dry, with the ginger giving it a slight zing.
We only stayed for one drink because we still had to find our restaurant but as soon as we were back on the sidewalk, cold wind seeming to seep into our bones, I wished I was inside. Skip the martini this time. Make it a carafe.