This past week, Portlandia filmed outside my office, Willamette Week featured an article on how Brooklyn wants to be like Portland, and a reader from Philly left a comment on my blog looking for a Portland coffeehouse he and his wife visited more than a decade ago.

All this, at the same time I was drafting a review of NY coffeehouse RBCNYC from a recent trip back East and my flight back with two forty-something Portlandia tourists. Serendipity or just coincidence, I love when that happens.

First, a quick story on my fellow travelers. During this year’s tragic tornado season, what should have been a routine flight from La Guardia to PDX turned into a 17-hour journey to get home. Like many other travelers heading West, it took hours to get out of NY, only to be foiled again in Chicago. At the gate, I sat next to a down-to-earth couple about my age, whom I decided by their clothes and look were from Portland. Thus, I was surprised when the wife turned to me and asked: Are you from Portland?…and told me she and her husband were from New Jersey.

They were on the first trip away from the kids for a long weekend in Portland. Huge Decemberist fans (and more recently, Portlandia), they had dreamed of visiting Portland for years and proudly shared their planned itinerary, which included a show at the Doug Fir, nights at both the Kennedy School and Ace Hotel, a walk through the Alberta Street Fair and dinner at Paleys, where they hoped to find out the origins (and possibly name) of their free-range chicken.

I offered some suggestions for coffee (Ristretto) and pie (Random Order), and mentioned my visit the day before to RBCNYC in the heart of Wall Street, where one of the roasts they were serving was none other thanPortland’s Heart Coffee.

Where’s that, they asked? Granted, if you don’t work in downtown Manhattan, RBC’s a little out of the way. But since the husband of the Portlandia couple did work a couple blocks away from the RBC shop at71 Worth Street, I gave him the scoop, possibly inspiring a new customer of the independent coffeehouse for a Portland coffee fix.

Notes on RBCNYC…

Location: I was referred to RBC on the recommendation of Project Latte, a social media project mapping the independent cafes of NY. The folks at Project Latte actually first suggested I head to Brooklyn (how ironic!), but I was short on time and wasn’t able to venture out of Manhattan, so they kindly referred me to RBC on Worth Street in downtown. In the evening, when I stopped by, the area was totally dead and void of the hustle and bustle of Wall Street. But RBC stays open, perhaps for the law students from the school just around the corner or the other lone customer I saw, a young guy in a suit with a book and calculator.

Coffee: Like PDX’s own Barista, RBCNYC serves up a variety of other independently roasted coffees from around the U.S. What a fun surprise to walk in and see Portland’s Heart Coffee as the day’s “guest espresso,” complete with a chalkboard-written recommendation to try Heart’s “Wallego” without milk. Since I actually do prefer milk with my espresso, I ordered San Francisco-based Ritual’s “Spring Break” blend. It was tangy and slightly acidic, but a nice pick-me-up to combat my jetlag. Other coffees on offer that day included Barismo from Massachusetts and Klatch from California.

Cool stuff: RBC is tucked into a small space in what appears to be an old bank building. Exposed, dusty brick walls and metal imprinted ceilings combine with modern wood furniture and accents. Hip-hop music and young hipster baristas counter the stuffiness of Wall Street.

Not so cool: It’s possible to almost miss RBCNYC as it inhabits a desolate block marked by imposing columns.

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