Kohikan, Taito

Found this chain while walking around, featuring charcoal roasted coffee and pictures of siphon coffee on the front window. Traditional, second-wave coffee.





The coffee is darkly roasted, and costs more than the toast IIRC. I didn’t like it; I won’t go back.




1-10, Taito 4-Chōme
Taito, Tokyo
Japan 110-0016

Darwin Cafe, San Francisco

Darwin is pretty awesome, which is why there’s always a line during lunch time.  During my last visit, I went before lunch on a Saturday morning and was delighted to have no wait!  Definitely doing this again, next time with the fiancee.20160130Darwin0120160130Darwin02


In a quiet alley, the curbside seats are nice when the weather is warm.20160130Darwin03


That small cafe vibe.20160130Darwin0420160130Darwin0520160130Darwin06


The Poached Eggs Darwin, only available for dine-in.  Creamed spinach, roast beef, grilled sourdough, béarnaise sauce.  Served with Darwin’s standard house salad.

If I were to make food for a living, I’d want it to be like this because everything is made well with high quality ingredients.  The flavors aren’t masked by the sauces, but that béarnaise was just the right amount to complement the dish.  The creamed spinach wasn’t overly creamy so that you could still taste and appreciate the spinach.  Of course, the poached eggs were cooked just right with fully cooked whites and slow-runny yolks.  The bread is a solid platform, and it’s what makes their sandwiches good too.20160130Darwin08



Weekday lunches to go are also fantastic; I try to go when it’s raining outside since SF’s SoMa workers seem to stay indoors when it rains.

Butter lettuce salad with sweet potatoes, pecans, and ham.20160130Darwin09


Roast beef sandwich with watercress, sweet onion, tarragon aioli, white cheddar.  Served with Darwin’s standard house salad.

They also serve De La Paz coffee, if that’s your thing.

Darwin Cafe, 212 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Trouble Coffee, San Francisco

Another fav of mine.


SFFD is to Trouble Coffee as SFPD is to Philz.20141011TroubleCoffee1


I want to believe this sign so bad.420141011TroubleCoffee5


Gibralter.  Supposedly an SF original (but not via Trouble), gone global.20141011TroubleCoffee2


The standard coffee comes with attitude.420141011TroubleCoffee4


DAT CINNAMON TOAST THO!  If Trouble didn’t start the American toast trend, I don’t know what did.  Seems it inspired milkmade out in NYC.20141011TroubleCoffee3


Trouble Coffee, 1730 Yosemite Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124.

theLab (formerly known as Chocolate Lab), San Francisco


Ritual Coffee

Hot Drinking Chocolate: made with Recchiuti chocolate Pistoles (beads of pure chocolate) and Vanilla Bean Marshmallows. Cup by Heath Ceramics.

Egg, Bacon & Polenta: egg and bacon from Marin Sun Farms.


The hot chocolate feels like you’re literally drinking a dark, smooth, rich chocolate bar. It’s quite delicious, and works well with the vanilla marshmallow! A worthy representation of Recchuiti confections. I just wish there were more menu items that have the nougatine found in the Lab Cake. That thing is awesome!

theLab is one of my faves for a casual-yet-nice lunch, brunch, dinner, and/or dessert stop. Everything I’ve tried here has exceeded my expectations. The staff is courteous and attentive, taking time to explain some of the menu items and lend their recommendations when asked. They’ve also got a great location, being warmer than most of SF, clean, with easy street parking and Muni access.

And the bathroom is clean!

theLab, 801 22nd St., San Francisco, CA 94107

Stable Cafe, San Francisco

I recently ventured out to Stable Cafe as part of my systematic attempt in trying coffee shops that are recommended for one reason or another… usually for good coffee, sometimes for its appearance.  Fortunately, Stable Cafe was both.  And they were kind enough to reserve a table for me and mine (turned out I was rollin’ 6 deep) outdoors since the weather was nice.

So I came prepared intestinally (stomach on empty) and mentally (researched the beans they serve), with my trigger finger ready on the camera shutter.

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - a wandering child

When I walked in, I noticed that the line was about 8-long.  Not because of slow operations, but because it was a busy, bustling cafe with almost all indoor tables occupied.  While waiting in line I noticed a wandering child whose dress appeared to be from a century past.  I was glad they reserved a large table for me and my crew.  Their courtyard felt like a bit of an escape from the busy streets of The Mission in San Francisco.  I liked it.

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - outdoor patio

Knowing that this was an entirely new brand of bean for me (De La Paz), I asked in advance what is recommended; each recommendation was espresso based (latte, cortado, cappuccino).  Since I typically have drip coffee, I decided I would order that and a cortado.  🙂

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - drip coffee

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – drip coffee

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - cortado

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – cortado

My evaluation: a solid recommendation.  If I were in the neighborhood I would totally go back.  But I wouldn’t make an effort to go back specifically.  Not because anything was wrong, in fact it is all good.  I just think there is better for coffee.  Stable Cafe provides a solid, well-rounded experience: good customer service, a cute setting, good coffee and good food.

  • The drip coffee resembled somewhat of a blend of Ritual / Barefoot / FourBarrel in its brighter & lighter overall flavor and mouthfeel with a smooth finish.  It tasted pleasant and I felt I didn’t need sugar or cream to enjoy it; a sign that it is really good coffee!  Speaking of mouth feel, it resembled the texture you get when using a french press, though I didn’t see any grit at the bottom of my cup when I finished it.
  • The cortado was really good.  Like a cappuccino in size, but with a different sweetness in the milk (cappuccino has steamed milk while the cortado has warmed milk).  I liked it and this is what I would order on my next visit.
SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - croissant

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – croissant

I also got myself a croissant with cheese and ham, while others got the Pomba (toast, bacon, brie, egg in the hole).  The croissant was good, as expected.  I mean, it’s a buttery, carby, cheesy, savory bundle of warming goodness.  However, I wondered if I missed out by not ordering the Pomba that everyone else got (but not because they have tried it previously; it was just happenstance).

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - Pomba

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – Pomba

Also, there was parking directly across the street.  In San Francisco.  In The Mission.  During the peak brunch hour.  Imagine that!  Fortune smiled upon me that day.