Category Archives: Coffee: Where to go

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.

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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.

Saint Frank Coffee: The Fancy in Russian Hill

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Local's Corner Pros and LowsSaint Frank Coffee has raised the bar on fancy in this town. The interior is very white, very big and commands an equally very large impression. This kind of approach to a cafe is, in some ways, brave, considering the shifting landscape of coffee-consuming San Franciscans. Unless you’ve been under a rock these past few years – the class divide has gotten, well, heated. Without launching further into this socio-economic debate, I’ll try to leave it at that – Saint Frank is fancy.

Those who work there (the few times I’ve been) have been super nice and the coffee is divine. I was surprised they allow the laptoppers there considering more and more coffee-businesses opt out.

Local’s Corner: More Delicious Delightful Mission

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Local's Corner Pros and LowsLocal’s Corner is a gem. I’ve been for brunch and dinner and would go again in a micro-minute. Life just gets in the way.

The space, for starters, is clean, cute, and has a large open-kitchen that you can gaze into if you’re not into conversation. It’s the usual (awesome) local-purveyor focus, which, fine, could be called a trend, but I’d prefer it not – it’s just better food when it doesn’t come in a can from China, most of us agree on this. The unique approach to this is how they’re a pescetarian restaurant – a lifestyle that more and more food-focused people are turning to. I’m a fan and hope to get back there soon.

Workshop Cafe: Laptop Coffee Done Right in FiDi

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Workshop Cafe Pros and LowsFull disclosure: I haven’t spent a ton of time at the Workshop Cafe, although I could easily imagine doing so. For the first time, probably in any cafe, in any city, I can say they blend the best of both ‘co-working’ and coffee-shop worlds. They ace the essential details. Outlets, yes, of course; clean space, check; good hours, yep; strong signal, yep yep; and they have stellar coffee (Stumptown) pour-over. Big yay. Then they go the extra ten miles by offering printing, scanning and even will run errands for you if asked (surely you’d pay for those ‘concierge’ services).

They have a pretty advanced system to get you logged on. Perhaps someday I’ll take advantage of such a great idea but for now I’m happy to have some Stumptown to-go (super handy self-serve station outside, too).

Linea Caffe: Espresso, Waffles, Salads, Trend

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Linea Caffe Pros and LowsThere’s a lot that can be said for this little corner cafe. Linea Caffe has stars studded all over the place. An award-winning barista leading its own coffee label, mouth-watering Belgian-style waffles (which are the new cupcake unless you missed that memo), rockin’ salads, Heath Ceramics, almond milk, Square, a prime-time location (18th St./Mission), not to mention beloved local illustrator Wendy Macnaughton as their web designer. The space has a minimal design and zero tables – again – the urban cafe standard. If this place isn’t screaming ‘on-trend,’ I’m clueless as to what would. Just to complete the ‘new Mission normal experience’ I overheard a young boy-girl couple talk Google-office talk. They obviously worked there.

If you’d rather avoid the highly-paid tech-employed and want to sit down, skip it. If delicious waffles, espresso, and salads in a polished standing-room only cafe space are what you’re after, this place is a home-run.

CoffeeShop: A Mission Mini Favorite

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The day I first stopped into CoffeeShop was magical. It was a bright Sunday afternoon. I was mildly hungover from the night prior, but not a sad-hungover, a happy one. My girlfriend and I were in the early stages of dating, meaning Saturday night involved a lot of cocktails – so many in fact, I lost my house-keys and her fancy car key. The hangover/honeymoon-bliss kept the panic at bay, instead I had the simple approach;

Might as well retrace my steps and see if I can find these keys…

And I did! When the hell does that ever happen? When the nice elderly owner of the now closed bar, Naps, finds them and saves them. Yes, that old-school dive on Mission St. that is now hipstered out as Virgil’s was once Naps and the owner was the nicest guy, who also happened to save me a fortune in key-replacement costs. After that epic win, my attention was pulled across the street to the adorable jazz band playing outside a newly opened coffee shop – yes, this CoffeeShop. I couldn’t help but to cross the street, get a cappuccino and enjoy the tiny fraction of peace life handed to me.
CoffeeShop Pros and Lows
I’ve been back to CoffeeShop a handful of times since and have learned that the ice-coffee is superb (they make it cold brew and feature coffee ice-cubes), the owner is also very nice, the baked goods are delicious and come from a friend of his in the neighborhood and so does the coffee (Ubuntu from Emeryville).

This place is miniature – like so many of them in the City – but a great option for the neighborhood. Will definitely be back when I can.

Cafe St. Jorge: Nicest in the Mission

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First off, yay, Cafe St. Jorge has Stumptown Coffee! A beloved Portland (and New York and Los Angeles) favorite. That’s definitely what tipped me off to this place being legit.

Cafe St. Jorge Pros and LowsNow the other great features of this place:
The food is excellent cafe fare; definitely a great breakfast or lunch option. They’re dubbed ‘Portuguese’ food, although, the menu seems pretty straight-forward American-cafe. I say that knowing full well someone who has actually been to Portugal could call me out. Whatever you call it, I’d love to try nearly everything on their list. I had an awesome smoothie, veggie bagel and my partner had a nice quiche.

Speaking of nice, the staff? Was so nice! Sure, I went there when they were less than a month old; however, it’s hard to imagine any of the girls I dealt with could be rude.

Why not to go there? Do laptoppers or families of 10+ annoy you? The place is pretty big and has free WiFi so both contingents were strongly represented. They have a ‘kids corner’ with toys so obviously market themselves as family friendly and wow, did that memo get out. During my brief 30 minute visit, there were four strollers and I think two separate a family reunions of a dozen each. They took up 90 percent of the seats. When a laptopper walked in the door after them, she promptly turned around and left. I don’t blame her. It’s easy to see both sides of this often urban problem. You need somewhere to go – the group, the lone lady, whoever you are. It’s nice when City businesses realize this and pick a more narrow demographic. I’ve said it before, and I will again. If you do just about anything well in this town, they’ll come. You don’t need to be everything to everyone and Cafe St. Jorge, I think is trying to do that. Perhaps that was just that one Sunday morning. I’d love to go back and hope to again soon.

Drip’d Coffee: Sunset’s Best Coffee Bar

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Drip’d Coffee is a Sunset blessing. The Inner Sunset headquarters, aka, 9th Avenue and Irving Street definitely has coffee options – Starbucks, the Beanery, Martha & Brothers; however until Drip’d opened, there wasn’t a coffee house/cafe that had really good beans (sorry Beanery, I’m just not a fan. I’ve tried your coffee a lot. Same with Martha & Brothers). Nopalito does pour-over from Blue Bottle and Park Chow’s beans are local and delicious (Thanksgiving Coffee, and I’ve gone there a few times just for a cup to-go) but both those options are bit cumbersome if you just want coffee to-go.

Drip'd Coffee Pros and LowsDrip’d does have its challenges – there aren’t any chairs (huge bummer) and it’s inside another retail space that’s a bit unique.You have to walk through a bulk-hygiene product retailer to get to their little counter. How on earth a business survives by offering bulk soap and lotion alone baffles me, but I’m happy to walk through it to get an awesome cup of pour-over Sightglass if I’m around! The guys who own it are super nice and organic Straus Milk only adds to the quality of it all.

Square Meals Batter Bakery: A Lovely Deli Cafe

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Square Meals and Batter Bakery are a unique venture. They existed independently without a cafe space for before fusing together approximately two years ago to open the space on Polk Street. They’re still separate, (different names, different marketing), but the bottom line is that you can get a lovely meal in a cute space no matter if it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Square Meals attempts to capitalize on urbanites’ needs for good quality locally-produced meals but who don’t have the time nor space to make it themselves. They started solely as delivery service and currently push that and their take-out; however, I’ve never used them for such things. My demographic is different. I more often than not seek and enjoy spaces where you can actually (gasp) stay, with or without company. And being a total sugar-carb addict, I’ve followed Batter Bakery and let myself get a cookie from her tiny pick up window down in the Financial District once.

Needless to say, I was elated when this place opened up while I was living in the neighborhood.

Last I checked about a year ago, Russian Hill residents haven’t gotten obsessed with this place nearly as much as say, La Boulange down the street. I can’t imagine why not – it’s awesome. Great coffee (Sightglass), a killer baked-things selection (including cupcakes, scones, granola) and delicious egg-and-vegetable main courses (for brunch). Recommended by me unless you’re with more than two or three people – place isn’t huge – and if you’re hoping to spend less than $15 a person.

Special Xtra: High Brow Coffee Alley

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Special Xtra is one of a few fine coffee pocket windows this City has. It’s not a pop-up; these things stick around. You can’t go inside; but it doesn’t have wheels either. I like them. Hayes Valley has two (Ritual and Blue Bottle), and Special Xtra has a brother counter on the other side of SoMa, Cento – although they just upgraded their spot a bit. You can walk IN to Cento, although don’t get too cozy; they’re no chairs.

Special Xtra has the bare bones – good Blue Bottle pour over, excellent cold-press coffee, a mean espresso machine (La Marzocco – standard top-quality) and a few cookies from Goodie Goodie. That’s all folks. No flavors. No blenders. No cash accepted. And good luck giving someone directions there if they’re directionally challenged.