It was so grey and cold and gross last week that I just needed to get out and go sit in a nice warm and toasty café and read a book. Unfortunately no place in Oklahoma City can live up to Athans in Washington Square, Brookline Massachusetts when it comes to being cozy and inviting.
Athans is primarily a bakery, and they do bake spectacular pastries, cookies, cakes, even baklava. I love getting an affogato there (affogato means “drowned” in Italian) which is a scoop of gelato which they pour a shot of espresso over. It’s fantastic, especially when you try to match the espresso to different flavors of gelato. My personal guilty pleasure is an affogato made with tiramisu gelato and espresso; it’s amazing.
Their coffee, and I mean boring old regular coffee, is pretty unimpressive even though they serve it in enormous coffee mugs. What I live about this place however are their other coffee based drinks: the Greek coffee and their frappe. Now, I know all the “hardcore” coffee snobs are going to give me a hard time for writing about the frappe, which is after all made with instant coffee, but I don’t care! It’s such a refreshing drink on a hot day with the most amazing rich (fake) coffee flavor. After having it at Athans a few times I did buy some nescafe and try to replicate it at home, with some success, but its been years. Maybe when it gets hot in Oklahoma I’ll try again and let you know how it goes.
However, since we’re speaking about cold days, I have to say that one of my favorite caffeinated beverages in the world is the Greek coffee. It’s like Turkish coffee in that it’s made with a very fine grind and steeped in a small container (an ibrik) and let cook. You drink the coffee, grounds and all, with a little bit of sugar, and it comes out thick and very rich.
In summary: if you’re in the Brookline area and are in the mood for something other than coffee/espresso (which you can get at the awesome nearby Café Fixe) get thee to Athans!