This soon to open brick and mortar certainly deserves your attention. If the truck and the coffee you’ll find there is any indication, these java purists will create a stunning cafe. We’re already planning the drive over there to report first -hand.
“One of the biggest perks of the new space is an elevated open kitchen that will overlook the coffee bar. The day will start with assorted breakfast pastries, biscuits with jam and butter, and sticky buns made from scratch in the mornings. Lunch options will move into “simply prepared seasonal antipastas and sandwiches,” including a tuna conserva sandwich, and a farro salad with beets, avocado, and pistachio. The menu will start small and grow as the cafe does.”
Check out the full article on SF EATER:
Lunch was lovely at Cassava Bakery and Cafe, a warm and lovely spot in the foggy outer Richmond, very near the Balboa Theater. Great for a coffee and french pastries or a savoury lunch. (It looks like they host some very interesting pop up dinners, as well.) The menu is inspired by japanese cuisine, but you’ll see a strong element of French, too.
I had the Japanese breakfast:
Koshihikari plum rice, ichiban dashi miso soup, sous vide “onsen tamago” poached egg, Meyer lemon kosho natto, wakame salad, simmered hijiki.
The egg was sublime! The fermented soy is an acquired taste….
The owners, a husband and wife team, are impossibly cute, too. It just has to be said: )
3519 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
Part of starting a new job is adapting to a new stomping ground as well. “Living into” your new job involves getting to know new coworkers and routines but also, exploring a new neighborhood. Finding a good cup of coffee and a quiet lunchtime escape is essential. Mirtille has become (one) of those spots for me. And they have Parisienne Macaroons too- that’s a bonus.
Given that Mirtille is conveniently located in the heart of the Civic Center and quite near a major BART and MUNI station, it continues to appeal to locals-in-the-know and somehow remains invisible to tourists. The outside of the cafe is painted jet black and there’s very little signage to call it out. Inside, you’ll find sexy plum colors, a little chrome, and comfortable chairs. And you ‘ll find your cup of coffee.
The staff are reliably friendly, and every once in a while you’ll hear a bit of spoken french, as well. The cafe feels more European than American. The food takes you to France, too. Beyond your espresso, you’ll find quiche and pretty baguette sandwiches. Pastries. Making your own salad at the counter is fun- for one set price, choose your greens and up to six ‘add-ins’. All the ingredients are fresh. A personal favorite is the soup of the day. And, the french press, bien sur.
87 McAllister St
(between 7th St & Leavenworth St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Civic Center/Tenderloin
Mon-Thu 7 am – 7 pm
Fri 7 am – 6 pm
Sat 7:30 am – 4 pm
Sun 7:30 am – 11 am
18 Reasons is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the gourmet gulch in the Mission. It’s an organization that we here at MUS•e•YUM have grown to love. The group is dedicated to bringing the people of the community together, using food and food production as the thread that binds. In the tradition of family, friends & neighbors gathering around the table to share a meal and each other’s company, 18 Reasons hosts events that teach, enlighten, enliven and delight. I’ve met a lot of quality folk here, it’s just that kind of place. Here’s the Mission Statement:
18 Reasons brings people together to deepen our relationship to food and each other. Through an innovative community center and thought-provoking, fun programming, we inspire action and foster collaboration toward creating a just and sustainable food system.
18 Reasons has several events per month, of dizzying variety. Want to learn how to make cheese at home? How about a multi-course meal, each dish prepared with, and paired with, Chinese teas? Maybe you’ve had the desire to try urban farming (and you can) and didn’t know where to begin? 18 Reasons and their community of eaters and producers will help you. I love coffee but realized, I didn’t know that much about it. So when I saw a coffee tasting come up on the schedule, I jumped. (The cost is usually discounted for members, so much I decided to purchase a membership; I suggest you do, too!)
We blind-tasted 9 coffees. It was fun to conjure up adjectives to describe the nuances of the flavor profiles, which varied wildly from cup to cup. Of course, the event reminded me of a wine tasting but with a twist: interesting adjectives emerged that I’d never used when speaking about wine. Of a flavor profile, the best descriptive phrase of the evening was “hot, humid jungle”!
The tasting also differed from a typical wine tasting in another way. Because of the changes coffee undergoes during preparation, we wrote notes for each of 9 samples at four different stages of brewing. First, we described the fragrance of the grounds themselves and second, the aroma released after the pour (this was timed with precision). Third, we broke the surface of the coffee to release still more aroma, and described that. Last, we documented the taste. This involved a particular technique of aspirating the coffee, essentially a very quick suck from the spoon with a loud sssssssssssuppppppppp!
With 9 coffees side by side, it’s just so easy to appreciate the broad array of flavors that the varied beans deliver. There’s a surprising diversity out there. It’s amazing, too, to see how one’s experience of a particular coffee, one’s impression of it, changes from the moment you sniff the grounds, as compared to the first taste. And not only that, for each coffee the taste and aroma change over time, from bean to brew. Very cool stuff.
For fun events like this and so much more, check out the calendar of events at 18 Reasons and, go try one out!
593 Guerrero at 18th Street
San Francisco, CA
Straight from local food authority Tablehopper comes some news for which we’ve been eagerly waiting here at MUS•e•YUM, not in the least because their location is but blocks away from the Mission Street office! Yes, after one cup of Sightglass Coffee and we were hooked. In our estimation it’s the best cup of coffee in the city (click here for our first review). Up until now the coffee has been served up from a kiosk on 7th Street near Folsom, housed in a loading dock that is tucked into a nondescript part of a nondescript industrial block. Sightglass has been building-out the space next door, however, over the past several months. Curious we were and after taking several peeks through the curtain, we’ve followed the development in its progress, as the immense warehouse space morphs to coffee Mecca. The centerpiece is a towering roaster, gleaming under the skylights that bring ample light into the two-tiered, lofted room. Beautiful. What you need to know is this: not only will the space be as impressive a space as the coffee is rich (it’s roasted on the spot after all), they’ll also serve baked goods from two of the hottest sources in town, Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Hooker’s Sweet Treats. Everything comes together here: Industrial chic, fabulous coffee and great desserts… so get thee there! Here’s the full article by Tablehopper, with all the sumptuous details and photos:
270 7th St. at Folsom
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-6pm
18 reasons event, coffee tasting, a set on Flickr.
I’ve been to wine tastings but never a coffee tasting. 18 Reasons, a local food and advocacy non profit, set the stage for a delightful, educational, evening around coffee. We tasted 9 varieties over the course of one evening, copiously taking notes at various stages of the coffee brewing process. From the aroma, to the pour, to the bloom, to the steep, the aromas changed in a surprisingly nuanced way. I left with a deeper appreciation of the variety of tastes associated with coffee. I also left buzzed.
Wow, this place looks HOT. You had us at “Japanese cold slow drip and Siphon”. Blue Bottle, watch out, these guys are on your heels. Norwegian roaster Wendelboe coffee??? Really??? MUS•e•YUM is on it. Look for a first hand report, soon.
And as if that isn’t enough, they serve pastries by one of our favorite bakeries, Sandbox, and we won’t have to travel nearly so far to get them, anymore. Sigh. And local cheese.
Check it out (here’s a link to the Ma*Velous Website) and if you get there first, let us know what you think, please!
1408 Market St.
I first met Remi at Goody Goodie Cream and Sugar, home of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in San Francisco. (Evidence here. and here.) Frankly, Remi had me at the chocolate chip cookie but upon ordering that, she offered me a sample of a product in development: the cocoa nib wafer. This thing blew me away, chocolate made savory. Earthy. Magic. Combining notes of chocolate (without the sweetness), and oil-cured olives, Remi had just taken me to a new place! And how great would this be with a strong cheese and a bold Italian red?! What followed was a conversation about food that only happens between folks that are in love with it. . . wine pairings for cookies, cheese pairings for fruit (and prosciutto), favorite producers at local farmer’s markets. I was hooked.
On a subsequent visit, Remi offered me a sample of a “bun-in-development”. She’d been offering featured sandwiches at Goody Goodie made with bounty from the day’s farmer’s markets (example here) and now had some tantalizing information for me- she’d finalized plans to open a restaurant. Not surprisingly this would be the place she’d been wanting to open for a long time, a full-service restaurant that would afford her the space and tools to showcase her unique talent, her ability to bridge pastry and savory (and, a place with seating!) Owing to the relationship Goody Goodie has with scooter-loving Blue Bottle coffee-making Vega next door on Folsom, the two entrepreneurs envisioned a palate-pushing Roman-styled industrial-chic café and the name would be Starstream.
Yesterday I had a great lunch there with my gorgeous friend, one who happens to be a foodie of the first order! Between us we (naturally) tried a little of everything, from a great citrus salad, to the ‘squashed’ pizza Schiacciata to a flight of sandwich sliders and the famous cookies. The salad: greens dressed in a light citrus vinaigrette with pieces of citrus fruit and notes of fennel, was served on the aforementioned cocoa nib wafer. My pal was blown away by the combination of flavor profiles, from earthy to bright, which really worked. This salad was one of the highlights of the meal, for sure.
The pizza: thin and light, the house-made crust is stuffed not with tomato but rather Bellweather Crescenza cheese, arugula & Prosciutto de San Daniel. The flavor is at once bold and light. The sandwiches themselves were wee works of art, each unique in terms of shape and bread kind and style. These included a mortadella with fried quail egg, an egg salad on focaccia (the standout) and the Robiola Di Langa- creamy cheese made from goat, sheep & cow’s milk, micro greens & Fuji apples.
The styling details of the meal are part of the fun, right down to the fried quail egg and mini pickle stabbed on top of the mortadella slider. The sandwiches came with an assortment of pickled vegetables that were a gorgeous array of pinks, arty in their presentation and tangy delicious. The lemonade was special, too, made with honey and infused herbs, not overly sweet. (Teaser, Remi told us she’s working on a line of different lemonade concepts for next year, so stay tuned! I thought this was an awesome idea since one of my favorite beverages to make at home is rosemary-infused lemonade, using herbs cut from the garden. Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it, too: Recipe link here.)
The meal ended with Goody Goodie cookies, all of which are available at Starstream as well as the G.G. Folsom location.
From the pastry side, I’ve previously sampled not only the cookies but also the brioche bomb (cinnamon, sugar and orange in a brioche bun) and a spice cake with citrus glaze. Next up, I plan to try the famous Belgian Waffle.
The space itself reflects the materials of the neighborhood, industrial concrete and metal, but somehow it does not seem cold or austere here. The lines are clean and the space is chic. There’s ample seating inside but on a nice day, grab a table on the east-facing sidewalk to capitalize on that morning light while you enjoy your coffee.
Looking ahead, I know Remi has some new menu ideas planned not only for the morning coffee and pastry crowd but also for the lunch-time crowd so do expect more great things to come at Starstream and if you’re lucky, you’ll be one of the first to get a sample, too;-)
San Francisco, CA 94103
- Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am – 4 pm
Links to articles in the Press:
Haus Coffee is a stunningly designed coffee shop located on 24th Street in the ever-vibrant Outer Mission, a street as colorful for the people as it is for the murals on the walls. It’s somewhat surprising to find this particular cafe here in the latin neighborhood, though; the german/scandinavian nature of the cafe is evidenced not only by the name but also by the spare, utilitarian, and gorgeous minimalist nature of its design. It is quite lovely. Entering Haus you’ll leave a street of vibrant murals, graffiti, noise and a little chaos to find a calm, meditative space of white, beige and natural wood textures. Clean lines. Simple furniture. Windows and Light. There’s a fireplace just beyond the pastry case and a lovely garden in the back, visible through floor to ceiling windows.
The coffee is sourced from latin america and as such, the acid is pronounced in the coffee. I don’t love that, but I understand that this high acid is typical of South American beans. (They use de la Paz roasted beans for their coffees.) While not made on the premises, the pastries they sell are top notch. . . sourced from Patisserie Phillipe in SOMA, a french bakery, and Batter Bakery, one of the top micropatisseries in the City.
The Verdict: If you don’t mind a high-acid coffee, and you’re looking for a beautifully designed coffee house in which to meet a friend, do some work on your laptop (free wi-fi here), or take a break from your tour of the Outer Mission neighborhood (Balmy Alley is nearby. . .) Haus is a great option for you. I’ll be going back.
(between Lucky St & Treat Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94110
MUS•e•YUM prediction, Sightglass is poised to become the next dominant player in the San Francisco coffee world. Watch out Four Barrel and Blue Bottle!
I had the cappuccino and it was a medium roast, full-bodied yet smooth drink. Meticulous attention to quality here. Beautiful foam art on top; I always love that.
The space is hip. Currently, Sightglass serves drinks just off the sidewalk from a kiosk which is outfitted with a fancy espresso machine. They also serve individual drip coffees, three blends from which to choose, and I’ll be heading back to try one of those. The space sort of resembles a loading dock, adorned only by the reclaimed wood shelf and the elegant piece of wall art gracing one wall. There is a bench for those who want to linger.
This configuration will change soon, though- a peak behind the curtain reveals a huge warehouse space waiting to be filled, currently being built-out to include not only their immense roaster (they do roast the beans on the premises) but also a very spacious cafe, complete with a gorgeous wave-form bar. Skylights bathe the room in a warm light, contributing to the airiness of the space and placing the gleaming roaster in a natural spotlight. I can’t wait for the expansion to be complete; Sightglass is industrial chic at its best and a perfect reflection of the vibe of the neighborhood it inhabits. Until then, I’ll enjoy the immediacy of ordering directly from the cart- which is fun in that it feels, ‘under the radar’, like being ‘in’ on a secret . . . at least for now;-)
Service is casually friendly, knowledgeable and inked. You can count on a quality cup, here and look forward to more good things when the space is finished!
Coffee Bar & Roastery
270 7th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
I stumbled upon Grand Coffee a week ago while on my lunch break in the Mission, tucked away as it is where the ticket booth would-have-been in an old movie theater called the Grand, between 22nd and 23rd on Mission Street. The menu is short (no elaborate bakery options here) but the focus on quality is keen- the owner, Nabeel, pours a great coffee. His focus is singular in the preparation of every cup I’ve had there, and in only a week I’ve been back two more times to get my fix. Beyond the coffee, ask about the gorgeously layered egg cream he’s perfected- you just might get a sample. Another must-try is Nabeel’s Mexican hot chocolate, the ‘Xocalatl’, made with Dagoba chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The texture is silky sweet, but not cloyingly so, and the pepper gives it a nice kick on the finish. Add an espresso shot and make it a mocha.
The operation is small and caters to sidewalk traffic, but there is a counter where one can sit and enjoy the coffee and perhaps a conversation with Nabeel, too. And I suggest you do sit down if you have a little time; what began as a quick stop for a coffee that first day turned into a nice chat. I had noticed there were lots of interesting decorative details throughout the space, and Nabeel told me about the provenance of the wood and tile accents he’s affixed to the walls. He sourced and restored these elements by hand, and with them he’s made a beautiful space out of the old theater in which the kiosk is located.
Rather than gutting the space and bringing in new materials in an effort to divorce his business from the decrepid surroundings (look to the “dollar store sign” which usurped what was the marquee for a hideous example of that), Nabeel looked to the history of the space, the Grand-ness of what was the Grand Theater, and made a decision to incorporate that spirit into his own business. He sourced wood and tile of the era, and some even from the theater itself, and personally scraped, scrubbed and cleaned the pieces of wood flooring and tile by hand, making art out of them. In so doing, Nabeel puts a little bit of himself into the business, too. The business in turn manifests qualities of care, of effort, of hard work and above all, of vision. One gets the sense Nabeel himself possesses all these qualities, putting as he does his heart and soul into his shop. That’s the kind of small business I feel good about supporting.
Can you imagine how great the Grand Theater would look if someone were to revive it in the same way? I hope someday someone else sees the potential latent in the bones of the buildings and materials of that era, of a magnificent theater like this. And until then, we have a new Grand.
Occupying that sweet spot that is the nexus of two of my favorite things, scooters and coffee, Vega is an unpretentious, very reliable and very cool spot to get your coffee. Not a place to hang out and work on a laptop, the operation is small, located inside a roll-top garage. The coffee menu is limited so for those that like to add syrups and flavors this may not be the environment for you. It is all about the coffee here, and a perfect cup at that. Run by and for purists the focus is narrow, Vega makes your coffee to order using Blue Bottle Coffee Co. beans, so you know you’ll be getting that extra attention to detail that comes with the Blue Bottle name. (With Blue Bottle comes strict quality controls to ensure the best cup of coffee, every time.)
Service is sincerely friendly and the space reflects the neighborhood, the “garage grittiness” is fun and aesthetic and natural here . . . without the appearance of being “urban cliche”. The owners happen to be long-time scooter aficionados and gorgeous Lambretta bikes are suspended around the garage, lending to the theme without being gimicky. You can tell this place is a labor of love!
The coffee pictured here is the New Orleans Iced- nutty with that little pinch of chickory. Also, consider the sweet & creamy Macau. ~Complex and delicious!
Vega at Landon
1246 Folsom St
(between 9th St & 8th St)
San Francisco, CA 94103