A Sunday in NYC’s Little Chinatown/Little Italy

So this weekend I’m on my own as my girlfriend is out of town. I started last night by enjoying a sweet Ashton Aged Maduro #10. I got to enjoy a Forty Creek Barrel Select over the rocks with a splash of cranberry and watched some pretty cheesy ’80s action movies, including the RoboCop trilogy. Apparently, they are doing a remark to be released in 2010. It was a definitely an enjoyable, relaxing evening. As I flipped through the movies, I decided that today I would venture out to downtown Manhattan’s Canal area (Chinatown/Little Italy) to find two cigar shops: Three Little Indians and Mulberry Street Cigars. Turned out that Mulberry was closed today, a bit disappointing and discouraging. As I peered into the dark windows I could see a variety of cigar history filling the windows and displays.

Sigh.

Three Little Indians and Florio's
Three Little Indians and Florio's

A visit for another day but definitely one that should be visited. Instead, I ventured a little further towards Three Little Indians. As I walked down Grand Street, I could the various discussions, some in Italian and some in the flavour of New Yorker English. With the milder weather, the street was a mosaic of people perusing various restaurants and their fare. As I walked into the shop/restaurant, I got a sense and flavour of old New York. The long wooden bar showed it ages but has obviously been well looked after. I could hear faint discussions as I walked around, looking around at the various cigars in the displays. I ended up getting a couple of LX2s and a couple of Short Stories. When I went to pay, I noticed a display beside the cash register of cigars that had no bands. They were various barbershop Toro type (6 x 56) and no two were alike. The owner, Larry, informed me that they are made by a gentleman in Florida. I added that to my purchase and went off to find the subway station to take the J train home.

Once I got home, I put the brand-name cigars into my humidor for later enjoyment and smelled this new find. A sweet, earthy scent came off the cigar as I held it. It was heavenly. It took a little bit to get the foot toasted but once I got it going, it was hard to put it down. Although I realized I forgot to ask what tobaccos made up the cigar, it didn’t really matter. The taste was a wonderful blend of sweet, earth and mild creamy leather with an occasional twinge of pepper to spice things up. The ash burned a solid white, speckled with lines of grey and black. If I had to guess, the wrappers were likely a mix of natural (sun-grown?) and maduro (Connecticut broadleaf?) around, what I suspect, is rich Dominican long fillers. When I go back — and I will — I’ll have to ask Larry about more of the history of these cigars and the man who creates them for him; I’ll also have to ask him to pass on my kudos and thanks for making a good cigar. It’s not cheap at nearly $13 per cigar but well worth it. This cigar will easily last 60-90 minutes, depending how deep of conversation your in with friends and family.

Three Little Indians Barberpole Toro
Three Little Indians Barberpole Toro
I sat back this evening watching my four favourite Sunday evening shows — The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy and American Dad — and quietly enjoyed my smoke while the fat tailless cat, Bobcat, sat beside me. She regarded my cigar for a minute, realized that it wasn’t food and went back to her Olympic training, marathon cat sleeping (she’s up to 20 hours these days). I laughed to the various silly antics and was mesmerized momentarily by the twin white/blue smoke coming from the end of the cigar. I’d give it a quick rating of about a 9.1 out of 10. Definitely worth a go if you do visit.

Anyways, the day ended on a wonderful note and I’m set for this week to start. It’s interesting that this week I go back to Edison, NJ to teach. A year ago, I went there to teach and it was there that I walked into Smoker’s Haven to buy my first cigars, Davidoff’s Winston Churchill. Since this week will have St. Patty’s day, they will be having an event to celebrate. And I’ll get to enjoy it since I won’t have anything specific to do on Friday. I have to say that I do enjoy smaller towns sometimes, especially when they have local cigar shops. There’s a more personal flavour to it. As much as there is great variety of things and places to do in NYC itself, sometimes smaller can be better.

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