When I'm getting back into writing, really writing, or when I'm browsing bookstores in the city, or just strolling, there's no greater delight than taking a break at an exciting coffee shop. Culture Espresso Bar is the best in Midtown Manhattan. I'm even drawn to the sign, CULTURE, and wide windows full of light that show people enjoying themselves inside as they sit and enjoy treats on on the long wooden table or at intimate corner tables. The service, fresh pastries and sandwiches, and music combine to make the experience what you want it to be, a surge of happiness, energy and diversity. I recommend the cheddar cheese and veggie sandwich for vegetarians, but I hear the prosciutto sandwich with goat cheese, arugula and fig preserves is also heavenly, as are the chocolate chip cookies. Personally, a chocolate croissant or mango muffin with a frothy double shot of espresso does it for me. I rake off the top of the muffin and savor it, as I bite and sip, bite and sip, then down the rest of my drink of choice. There is also tea for those who prefer a more discreet kick.
Culture espresso bar is at 72 W 38th Street, between 5th Avenue and Avenue of the Americas and is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. The website is www.cultureespresso.com.