Free Roamin' at Aroma

Workplace Smackdown--or Make that a Snackdown: Part II

                                      Complimentary chocolate, exquisite biscuit, overindulgent cafe mocha and just right filo stick.

Since Earth Cafe now has flat-out no wifi, I often go down to my old UWS favorite, Aroma, an Israeli based chain with imported excellent Italian Balestra brand coffee and free wifi all day long, no password or “access pass”  to boot. The 72nd street branch is sleek, and modern if a little worn at the heels. Comfy red upholstered chairs tuck into wooden communal tables downstairs. Upstairs are more comfy chairs, two couches and a few round café tables with rickety folding chairs, but the real draw in warm weather is the terrace complete with ample seating, cheery orange umbrellas and electrical outlets!

But lets talk snacks. The menu is expansive and like Earth Café even includes wine and beer. Israeli salads and the Shakshuka breakfast--sunny side up eggs floating in a Mediterranean tomato sauce with a side of tahini and pita ($9.90) are favorites, but I hew to the baked goods. One would think $1.50 is too much to pay for a miniature chocolate chip cookie or wafer thin hazelnut biscotti but they taste exquisite and don’t make me feel disgusted with myself. What does make me feel indulgent is the café mocha ($4.00), coffee and milk with a large chunk of chocolate melting at the bottom. You swirl it around with your spoon and it leaves dark chocolate streaks inside the glass, which you scrape up when you've downed all your mocha.

There is, however,  a just-right snack to power me through to the next page or Google search: the filo stick—a savory feta or sweet apple filling wrapped in flaky filo pastry and strewn with sesame seeds ($3.10). But there's just one thing; the communal tables are too high.  Turns out I can only perch with my hands, squirrel-like, above the keyboard for about a half hour before discomfort sets in. As with limited or no wifi, table height is yet another way of keeping the growing crowd of freelancing freeloaders at bay.

Aroma Espresso Bar
Upper West Side
161 West 72nd St. (btw Amsterdam & Columbus Aves.)

205 E. 42nd St. (Cross streets TC)

145 Greene St. (Cross streets TC)