farmtable: Small, Superb and Sometimes Snobby





I admit I’ve been conflicted by this farm:table post.

First, the positives: Farm:table is the best coffee-breakfast-lunch cafe, without a doubt, in the lower Nob Hill/Tenderloiny area. (Over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten incredibly well versed in every nook and cranny of this particular neighborhood, considering it’s my home.) The coffee is Verve, a total fave, plus they have it on French press – oh, hell, more points scored with me again. It’s rich and buttery and with a touch of cream, you have a meal in a glass; properties I adore with the coffee stuff. They also have SUPER bubbly water that they make on the spot with an old-school soda maker. Again, major points with me in the beverage department. Teas are top notch and they also feature a fresh juice.

Love to Bread

The food menu is short, simple and highlights the stellar ingredients they pull in from the top-notch local vendors. Breakfast fare consists of three options: a cereal with luxurious yogurt and fresh fruit; dense whole-grain bread, smeared with Marscapone and seasonal toppings (think hazelnuts and heirloom apples); hard-boiled eggs with a baguette and seasonal toppings (think warm-bacon vinaigrette and chard). The assortment of baked-goods comes either from their tiny oven (they like to make pie) or from Black Jet Bakery. They often have egg sandwiches available also.

Lunch has a similar set up: three items (soup, sandwich, salad). One of my favorite farm:table memories was when I got two of their sloppy joes on challah bread to-go, brought them back to the apartment, and my girlfriend and I ate ’em on the fire escape. I think it was the second meal we had while living in the City. I was freaking out by how I much I loved the cafe and how we were ‘so set’ since it was just two blocks away.

Now to the not so positive…

Yes, it’s hilariously tiny. Reading the reviews on Yelp is pretty entertaining. This one might be the best. Yep; just one table. A small one. Saddle up and get cozy with your neighbor, whatever they’re reading, whatever they’re talking about and whatever they’re eating. You’re basically on top of each other.

And, whatever, it’s cash only, but I’m used to that by now and totally support it for small businesses.

So really – why don’t I go there three days a week? Why doesn’t my girlfriend (a full-time student who lives in coffee shops) go there every day? Because she basically got in a fight with the barista once over the fact she wasn’t willing to make her an iced Americano. I’d rather not get into it but let’s just say it got awkward. The girlfriend also tried to say, ‘Hi,’ to one of the owners when she saw him on the street and he totally ignored her. Ouch. Considering we’d been going there a ton, (always tipped well), saw him at parties, plus have MAD LOVE for their cafe and all the other coffee people in the area, she felt, well, dissed. That wasn’t the reason we’ve spent the last few months away – it was really the tense argument over the coffee drink. Plus, I’ve been solo a few times and have heard them be pretty harsh on customers after they leave…

Before I sign off on this, I need to say a few more things in the food-service-industry-attitude conversation. I get it. I’ve been there – and I DO FEEL you that dealing with public customers is terribly difficult. I’m not being sarcastic and I totally agree. Plus, coming from Portland, Oregon, this topic has been hashed out in great length considering that is the headquarters of over-qualified baristas. Do I expect you to be nice? Honestly, no. Do I expect to be friends? Uhh, no. Do I expect you won’t make fun of me, my girlfriend or my friends? Hell yes.

And will we – the customers with upmost appreciation for your products – continue to support the farm:tables of the world, while hoping we catch you while having one of your better moods? Survey says yes, considering the food-desert climate of our neighborhood. Lack of competition is on your side for now. We just passed it today.

“I miss it,” the girlfriend said.

“I know,” I said. “Me, too.”

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