This morning I woke to the first snowfall of the season in New York City.
Before it turns to slush, when there’s still just a few footsteps crushed into powder, snow in the city can be beautiful. A few years ago during a winter trip to Stockholm, I woke to six pristine inches of snow. It was the first I had seen that season, and stepping out of a friend’s apartment that morning, we spent the day exploring the white dusted city with soft snow underfoot.
But first, there was breakfast.
My local tour guides delivered exactly what I had hoped: a cafe away from the city center full of locals eating what locals usually eat. Stepping into the futuristic Xoko cafe — with its white walls, lights that change color, and intricate cakes — I was ready to surrender to whatever my host suggested. In the design-oriented cafe I was surprised at the first thing that was ordered: simple hunks of crisp sourdough baguette, chewy on the inside, served with soft butter.
As shopkeepers shoveled snow outdoors, everyone was happy to linger in the warm cafe. Next came simple, straightforward sandwiches that allowed ingredients to shine. Before this meal, I wouldn’t have thought that a ham and cheese sandwich would make for such a satisfying brunch, but the care that went into making this sandwich made all the difference. Next came what the cafe is really known for: artistic looking coffees and cakes. We had arrived early to snag a table, and now as the clock ticked towards 1pm, people were lined up outside, playfully tossing snowballs, waiting for a table.
A year later, I opened the newspaper one December Saturday to find an article on delicious desserts in Stockholm cafes. I wasn’t surprised to see Xoko on the list, even snagging the main photograph for this New York Times piece.
Readers, where have you memorably woken up to snow?