Sandy’s Cafe is just far enough from the corner of 5th Avenue and 16th Street that it’s pretty easy to miss, but it’s worth seeking out. The Cafe serves coffee, tea and pastries, but the real treats are the items you don’t expect to find at a cafe.
Husband and wife duo and South Slope residents, Neil and Gigi took over the cafe in January and have been incorporating their own favorite dishes into the menu since. Gigi is originally from Mexico and makes several types of tamales and empanadas for the cafe.
The Chicken Mole Tamale, which is a very affordable $2.50, has just the right amount of kick. Gigi says she gets the spices she uses directly from Mexico and uses the recipe that her mother and grandmother both used. And the most important ingredient? She makes sure to bless the food before she begins.
Neil was previously a chef at the Intercontinental Hotel and particularly loves making tarts and pies. He also recently introduced quiches to the menu. The Herb and Heirloom Tomato Quiche ($4.95) is surprisingly flavorful.
If you are looking for dessert, Neil makes all of the fruit tarts from scratch and guarantees that the ingredients are all-natural. “Quality is much more important than quantity,” the couple agrees. We recommend the Flan ($4.95), which is oozing with caramel goodness.
And of course there are plenty of coffee drinks to choose from at Sandy’s, which brews Illy coffee. Our favorite for the summer heat is the Frozen Cappuccino ($3.95).
Sandy’s Cafe, which is open from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, is delicious and affordable.