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Lei ha preso la posta (You've got mail) @ Cafe Lalo

by Libby Segal
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ImageIt’s Sunday morning, and the last thing I want to hear is a discrete ringing sound, calling out from my computer, to alert me that I have mail. I ignore my computer, throw on my jeans, and catch the train into the city. The first and only thing on my mind, on this day, is an Upper West Side brunch that comes with a wonderful, delectable, cappuccino – I hope.

And it was the best Sunday morning cappuccino since Cafe della Pace nearly three months ago.

It was actually my first cappuccino in several weeks. After receiving a pay check the day before, I felt that it was ultimately time to treat myself. As I neared the restaurant, Cafe Lalo, I took note of several photos outside.

ImageEach photo read “You’ve got mail” and had screen captures of the infamous romantic comedy which starred Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks nearly a decade ago.

Suddenly, the once annoying ring of “You’ve got Mail” had turned into a welcomed thought. “Oh. I will have a cappuccino where one of my favorite films was shot. At Cafe Lalo how lovely.”

My friend and I were seated right away, and while we began our conversation, a part of my mind began to wander, “Maybe if they switched the chairs in here enough, I could actually be sitting in a chair that Tom Hanks sat in.”

ImageWhile in Italy, none of these things ever crossed my mind—probably because the famous people who have graced each and every coffee shop haven’t been advertised on the windows of each and every coffee shop in the country.

“Maybe Meg Ryan practiced her lines in that chair,” I continued to think.

“Maybe some intern got his or her first big shot in this restaurant pouring that one cup of coffee that no one would actually drink, but would sit in front of the two biggest stars in movies. Maybe I am going to drink out of that exact mug.”

A few long minutes after ordering my cappuccino, I was pleasantly surprised to see a decent size mug for one of New York City’s outstanding prices (3.75). This mug was much less amputated than the mug I had to hug rather than hold at Le Pain Quotidien; and it was the perfect most brilliant shade of orange, picking me up from my morning grog.

ImageAs I reached for the hand of my mug, I noticed a chocolate seated adjacent to it. “Am I in Europe?” I thought. And I could have been for that hour and a half that my friend and I spent chatting back and forth about dreams, ambitions, and projects. The room was filled with an ambient light and a French décor; the coffee was in mugs similar to those that I frequently met at the bar of each café in Rome; and there was a distinct unique feeling that I had not met in any other coffee shop or restaurant in New York City. Yes, surely I had warped myself from my apartment in Brooklyn to a tiny European city.

Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, and Europe all in one coffee shop—all at once. Wow. I sat back in my chair, listened to my friend, sipped on my cappuccino, and thought to myself: ‘A Sunday morning doesn’t get much better than this.’

Cafe Lalo
201 West 83rd St., #1
New York, NY 10024-4931
(212) 496-6031

Cafe Lalo on Urbanspoon

Libby Segal is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she studied Communication Studies and Film Media, who currently lives in New York City.

Comments   

0 #2 Libby Segal 2011-03-28 12:07
Thank you for the comment Mia! That coffee there was QUITE delicious. I think when I go back--and I will--I will indulge in their cappuccino cake that I saw on the bottom shelf of the cake counter (the magnificent cake counter...mmmm) . What's sad is I lived two blocks away for five months just a year ago and never stopped in! Now I live out in Brooklyn, and finally found myself there!
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0 #1 Mia Amato 2011-03-28 02:03
Libby, welcome to the neighborhood! You should have seen Lalo before the movie was shot there - no crowds at all.

Lalo is a spinoff of a vintage cafe run by the same family (Cafe La Fortuna, which was on 71st but closed a few years back. Lalo retains the same sources for delectable pastries and the same recipes for making authentic italian style coffee drinks.

It's the only place I know of on the west side that makes a drinkable double espresso.

cheers,
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