Upper East Side, NYC — It was almost exactly a year ago when I lamented the every increasing seasonal disrespect given to the humble apple, for centuries the very center fruit of autumn, but lately — over the course of a half generation — that fall love has shifted to the pumpkin.
Not even the pumpkin, unfortunately, but the idea of pumpkin spice, since a large majority of "pumpkin spice" food and food items contain absolutely no trace of pumpkin whatsoever.
Favorite neighborhood coffeeshop/cafe, Cafe Jax, right down the street from me here on the Upper East Side, continues to honor its service of some of the best coffee and tea beverages, as well as the best pastries, salads, sandwiches available from reputable food vendors from all over New York.
They have brought back their ever popular chaider (chai tea-spiced apple cider) — a comfy hot beverage I enjoyed last year with a flaky, apple-filled croissant — and this year they've brought it back, one of which I got to enjoy with a mulled apple cider cake doughnut from, incidentally, my new favorite doughnut place in the city, Underwest Donuts, based from the edge of Hell's Kitchen.
The excellent, firm yet airy and not too sweet cake doughnut evokes the flavors, aromas, and memories of hugging loved ones in comfy sweaters glazed in the autumn tastes of mulled apple cider. The chaider reminds one of an apple pie baking in a home oven, while seated next to a wood-burning fire as the body begins to thaw from its chill-burdened body from having just been outside in the cold.
Best of all, both the doughnut and beverage boast prominently the concentrated taste and bouquet of apples inherent with cider, making it the center and star of each warming and soothing bite and sip.
And that's what you want when you celebrate the autumn harvests, the actual fruits that it produces, not the spices one might use to enhance, or distract, from something that has very little flavor of its own.
I mean, New York is called the "Big Apple" after all, isn't it....?
CAFE JAX | 318 E 84th Street, New York, NY 10028 | (212) 510-7084 | cafejaxnyc.com