The Mill: Carb Coffee Heaven and Hell in NoPa

Please excuse regularly scheduled programing for some pseudo-soap-box themed dialog.

Not news: Coffee, and the foodie movement overall, isn’t new anymore. Artisan, third-wave, yada yada, yeah – it’s happened. But it’s not going away either.

I’ll admit my little coffee – food – thought blog here has gone through some serious doubts. Really? I’m still doing this? Dear, God, Why?! There are so many reasons not to:

    it’s boring: please see intro. paragraph. Fancy coffee isn’t wow-worthy like it once was.
    it supports a perspective that’s easy to hate: as this City, and world, become more and more economically divided, it’s becoming more and more difficult to enjoy anything except breathing without shouldering guilt no matter what’s in your bank account.
    I shouldn’t be eating cookies: seriously. I have a problem.
    I need to be doing other things: like burning the calories from my cookie. And making the world a better place. And doing my taxes.

Right. So. Uhm. Why again? My navel-gazing insight into why I still care while attempting to be conscientious.
The Mill Pros & Lows
Fancy coffee is still happening: when was the last time you heard a cafe closing due to not making their bottom-line work? It’s rare. I can think of one in the last five years I’ve been here (Brown Owl Coffee) and some of them are behind the new spot in the Castro (Hearth Coffee). The business makes sense because, I hate to say it, it works. Fancy coffee works here and just about everywhere else in America. You don’t need an i.d., you don’t need to get drunk, you don’t need to know anyone, you need $4 to sit down and chillax outside of your office – home – and often taxing life. Who can argue that? Which is what brings me to The Mill.

You go there to have $4 toast with homemade jam spread to its borders. And a hot cup of Four Barrel coffee. And enjoy it.

Cat’s Commute: Litter Bug

The ethical quandary of the litter definition

Cat’s Commute: Intro

New Year, New Job, New Blog Idea!

I started working 50 miles from my home and here’s me talking to myself.

Coffee Cultures: North Carolina in FiDi

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Coffee Cultures Pros & Lows
You can’t totally appreciate Coffee Cultures without giving credit to Counter Culture Coffee. The Durham, North Carolina based coffee company made a big mark on the coffee community years ago just as single-origin/sustainability was really taking shape. Their coffee is superb and difficult, if not impossible to get behind a counter — all the more reason to get to Coffee Cultures. They’re only open Monday-Friday in the FiDi so it took me a bit to check them out. It’s a lovely little shop (and, hi, they have Straus soft serve ice cream? Random, yet awesome).

Libby Jane: A Pocket Perfect TL Coffee Stop



Libby Jane Pros & LowsLibby Jane is adorable, well thought through and a great addition to the ever-changing TL. There’s Brenda’s, with the swollen brunch wait times so why not open a smaller, faster version of the beloved Southern bistro next door? So that’s what they did. Libby Jane does the biscuits, a few soups-sandwiches-salads paired with either Ritual Coffee, Community Coffee, or Mighty Leaf Tea. Great job, good call and I’m a fan.

Stanza: Good Option Mission Haight

stanza_proslowsThis is a rare coffee-shop post in that, I don’t particularly love either Stanza location; however, the coffees they have are delicious enough to care.

Both locations, 16th St. and Haight St. are relatively grungy, under-staffed and don’t offer much beyond the unique roaster choices. They both have WiFi, soo, yeah, depending what you’re after, that could be a draw.

Cafe Sophie: Castro’s Cuteness

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Cafe Sophie, for a long time, was one of the lone cafesophie_proslowsreally good cafe/coffee shops in the Castro. I can say that since the Castro is pretty tiny and until the addition of Reveille, the non-chain coffee was low brow. These guys have Verve, an excellent roaster from Santa Cruz who doesn’t have a ton of accounts up here. I love it. The baked snacks are delicious and well made. Yelpers have all these photos of gourmet sammiches too – something I hadn’t known was an option. Check it out; snag a table if there is one open (crowded every time I’ve been) or enjoy the sidewalk cuteness.

Flour & Co: A Nob Hill Heaven

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Flour & Co. Pros and Lows
Flour & Co. is, um, awesome. They have house-made gluten-free English muffins and Stumptown Coffee, I mean really, do I need anything else? Ok, fine, cookies sure. They’re super nice, the place is adorable and the other lunch items are equally attractive. Honestly slightly relieved this is located across town or else I’d live there. And last time I checked it wasn’t the best idea to live on chocolate chip cookies alone.

Local Mission Eatery: More Mission Deliciousness

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Local Mission Eatery Pros and Lows
Local Mission Eatery does a lot. Part cafe, part coffee shop, part fine(ish) dining – and everything on all the menus is, yep, you guessed it, with some local flare. The entire package offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch but I’m just going to make most of my noise about the back counter, aka, Knead Patisserie.

The little back counter is the outlet for Four Barrel coffee (no espresso) and a fabulous line up of baked things. You have to deal with that part prior to ordering anything else from Local Mission Eatery proper. I’ve no idea why they set it up this way and find it kind of odd, but the fact is if you want a delightful breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner on 24th St. in the Mission, here’s your spot.

Grand Coffee: Tiny Mission St. Goodness

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Grand Coffee Pros and Lows
Grand Coffee is amongst the great Mission coffee options. They’re a solid little coffee corner near 24th St. with Four Barrel, yummy sugar baked things and have two bar stools inside. It’s pretty straight forward. You’re not going there to catch up with a friend for hours. You’re not reading a book. You’re there to get you buzz, maybe eat a snack you probably shouldn’t due to early-onset diabetes, then move on. The people there – both getting coffee like you, and making it for you, have always seemed chill. A nice thing.

Haus Coffee: French Press on 24th St.

Haus Coffee Pros and Lows
Haus Coffee is a pretty perfect coffee shop. The hours are good (open early and late), the space is minimal, you can usually get a seat, the snacks are above average and the coffee is superb. It’s De La Paz and they have it on French Press, which is pretty tough to find in this town.

The Yelpers mention they have some grumpy people working there, which, meh, usually doesn’t bug me too much but when there’s Philz across the street and the people there shine rainbows ten ways, it can be, well, nice to have an interaction with someone that you know can at least deal with hating their job/life, which is the vibe I’ve gotten a few times. And. Then. Of course it’s the common lap top problem. They’re there which can be a blessing or a curse.

Cassava: Outer Richmond’s Cafe Gem

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Cassava Pros and LowsCassava is the most adorable little gem on Outer Balboa St. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner by reservation. I’ve been a handful of times for their breakfast/lunch service and would love to see what they do for dinner; however, I wonder, Would I feel like I’m having dinner in a coffee shop? It’s such a romantic little space, and the food/drink is delicious – I’m sure with the right company I could let that pre-conceived idea go. I admire (and want to support) when businesses try to diversify their menus and try earning more cred. for being something other than their original idea. Like when a bar starts doing brunch – why not? Yet again, I can’t say I’ve ever crossed that line… does Hog & Rocks count? I’ve been their for brunch (fabulous) but that’s not really a bar per se…

Cassava has Ritual and stellar sandwiches with little side salads. Will definitely be back – for dinner? Maybe! But coffee, absolutely.

Why I Love My Local Garden Store

Sad plant

Overwatered every time

This is a post dedicated to the love of garden stores, specifically the Garden Guru feature through our local chain, Sloat Garden Center.

sloat_prosandlowsBeing a wanna-be urban farmer with an unhealthy appetite for houseplants, garden stores are a no-brain weakness. Walking into them and breathing can easily calm me down just the same as a professional massage. It’s no surprise when I’ve had access to a car, the first thing on my list is loading up on plants my typical carless existence can’t transport. Then cue the next problem: I live in a dark box, unofficially called the Cat Cave. BUT! Sloat Garden Centers know a few things about their customers (ie. I’m not alone) and they have special sections dedicated to our needs.

Sansevieria trifasciata, also known as snake plant, are a very hot seller for situations akin to mine – you’ve likely seen them around lots. Just don’t water them according to the Garden Guru.

I’m a bit perplexed as to why exactly I’m so impressed by this, given we live in 2014 and anyone can have just about anything ever – but for some reason, I *love* the fact I can email a local garden know-it-all my problems and s/he will email me back a solution! Please see below:

subject: Leaf Problem

Attached is a photo of a plant I have a few of here in my dark studio in the Sunset.

I’ve bought a few of them from your indoor-low-light section of your Sloat location. What is the problem? Too much darkness? I hope you don’t say that. I so badly want houseplants but have such little light to offer them …

Thanks for your help!
Catherine Cole

from: Garden Guru
subject: RE: Leaf Problem

Dear Catherine-
The Sanseivera leaf shows signs of a root rot disease associated with overwatering. This can be especially true in a low light area. Since these plants are in the Agave family, they can get by on minimal water. Watering once a month, if at all, in the winter is sufficient. Allow these plants to go dry and place in as much light as possible to heal them. Applying Actinovate in early spring will also help.

Thanks for choosing to garden with us.
The Garden Guru