All posts filed under “Coffee

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Jane the Bakery

Jane is and always will be my favorite cafe in San Francisco, so I could not have been more thrilled when they opened a third location in December! Jane the Bakery, on Geary and Steiner by Japantown, is more focused on the bakery side of the business than the cafe side, a shift from the other two cafe locations (Fillmore & Larkin).

While it still has counter seating and a couple tables, Jane the Bakery is suited more for the to-go breakfast goer, as the bakery offers a larger selection of pastries and desserts, as well as 37 different kinds of fresh baked loaves of bread.

The usual menu of sandwiches, salads, avo-toasts, and breakfast options are still available, but with the limited seating, it may make more sense to grab pastries and coffee to go. At Jane the Bakery, they offer pastries that aren’t at the other locations, including many new creations that are produced right in that space, as well as flatbreads.

I had the immense pleasure of being invited to Jane by Amanda, the owner. She brought out all of these amazing pastries for me to try, like the lemon poppyseed knot, the raspberry danish, and my personal favorite, the cinnamon roll. The pastries are always the perfect amount of flakiness, butteriness, and sweetness, and are truly one of a kind.


I’m taking calculated bites of each of these three pastries, wondering how I’m going to be able to finish them, when Amanda walks out with a plate of two fresh-from-the-oven flatbreads.

These flatbreads were incredible. On the left is the Three Cheese, but with a hint of spice, giving it a bit of a kick. On the right is a seasonal special, which was a sort of Mediterranean style flatbread with tomatoes, cauliflower, and za’atar spices. I loved every single bite. The bread itself was perfectly fluffy with a thick crust, and the toppings literally made my tongue ache for more (especially with the savory flavors from the za’atar spice). One of these would make a perfect lunch meal (with a cookie too, because how could you resist?).

At this point, I’m sitting at the counter by myself with 5 pastries looking like a complete fatass. Amanda brings a to-go box over to me, so I start wrapping things up to take home. As I’m closing the lid, she brings over another plate, this time with an entire meal: the Mango Curry Chicken Sandwich. I’m thinking, how the heck am I going to eat this? But I proceed to take a few bites (because how could I not), and put it into another box to take with me. The sandwich was phenomenal, with the creamy, curry chicken with melted cheese, and it’s definitely something I would order.

I’m finally thinking I’m done when Alex, the Pastry Chef, comes over to me with this beautiful egg tart on a cookie sheet. Now this looks way too good not to eat, so I take a few nibbles, being careful not to break the yolk (that’s for later). This pastry, the Brunch Croissant, is a Jane the Bakery weekend exclusive; it is a baked over-easy egg on a bed of spring onions and Dijon mustard, sprinkled with chives, maldon, and black pepper. This is definitely one of the best things I’ve eaten at Jane so far. The croissant was buttery, flakey, and the perfect home for the silky egg with sweet mustard and onion flavors.

I pack everything up to leave, all of my 1000 pastries, when Alex scoots back over to show me his newest creation before it went into the oven, the Fruit Brioche. This is a pastry with lightly sweetened cream cheese in the middle scented with orange, basil, and lemon, topped with delicately poached blood orange and pistachio around the outside. I’m hoping to go back there soon to try it out!

Jane completely spoiled me with all of these pastries, and while I looked a little crazy having 7 different items to myself, I have absolutely no shame (and honestly I order that much when I usually go anyway). Jane’s third location has only proved how much amazing food they can produce, and I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to try everything out!

1881 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Handlebar Coffee Roasters

On a trip down to Santa Barbara for the weekend, I mapped a out a couple of cafés I could visit to get my caffeine fix – and to find a little piece of home. Handlebar Coffee Roasters, located on a side street off the downtown strip of State St., was exactly what I was looking for. With locally roasted coffee and a multitude of hot and cold drinks to choose from, as well as the long line looping outside the building, I knew I was in the right place.

While the café wasn’t necessarily large, it had outdoor seating, a large community table, and massive windows where light streamed in. At the counter, Handlebar sells small pastries and snacks, and on a shelf to the right, offers bags of coffee beans and teas, as well as different flavors of chai.

A macchiato for my father, a latte for me, and a hot chocolate for my little sister:



Everyone loved their drinks, and we regretted not coming here again the next day!
A direct quote from my father:

Handlebar > Starbucks (duh.)

Established by two bikers turned coffee roasters, Handlebar couldn’t go wrong! It’s definitely worth the visit and is only a short turn off of State St, downtown.

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128 E Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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Flywheel Coffee Roasters

Flywheel Coffee Roasters is in a bit of a hidden spot, densely populated with joggers and cars whizzing by Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle. Located next to Whole Foods in Upper Haight, this large café is a great study spot and break from the craziness of Haight Ashbury.

The inside of Flywheel is large and spread out, with many counters and tables where people can plug in to work or sip coffee with friends. There is also a back patio seating area, and large open windows in the front of the building for sunny SF days. The decor is completely wooden with multiple wheels around the café, creating an almost Blacksmithy vibe with the rustic and antique furniture.

I wasn’t necessarily ecstatic over the coffee or the pastries, which was a small selection, but the cinnamon crumb cake was a great choice out of the few muffins and scones they offered.

The best part was seeing the coffee drip through these lit up orb like machines – it felt like a coffee lab where the drinks were being concocted right there!

 672 Stanyan St
San Francisco, CA 94117

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Hollow

Though the alarmingly bright green color of Hollow is hard to miss, this hole-in-the-wall cafe is overlooked by many walking down Irving in the Inner Sunset.

The size of Hollow – only big enough to fit a couple tables and the barista station – suggests that it is more of a grab n’ go coffee stop, with a handful of tasty pastries that can be easily eaten on the go. However, it’s never TOO crowded, and while it can be a bit tight to sit in the actual shop, stopping for a minute to enjoy a hot latte in this cozy room makes for a very warm, homey morning.

Hollow offers a small selection of scones, croissants, and cookies, (and even Dandelion chocolate!) but their big seller is the variety of drinks. Aside from the usual Cappuccino and Latte, Hollow creates a number of different flavors, ranging from Artisan Dark Chocolate Mochas to Spiced Chai Lattes.

My friend and I ordered the Butterscotch Latte and the Matcha Green Tea Latte, and the cafe was calm enough to allow us to sit for a bit and sip our drinks.

The Butterscotch Latte tasted exactly as you would think – coffee, but very sweet and creamy, like a cream soda mixed with a vanilla latte.

The Matcha Green Tea Latte had the perfect amount of creaminess and spice, and I splurged a bit by adding a homemade vanilla marshmallow (just because I wanted to try it). The submerged marshmallow slightly dissolved and made the drink sweeter, though not by much, since the softened mallow didn’t fully dissolve before I finished my drink.

While this isn’t the place to come to with a big group of people, the fun variety of drinks and flavors is worth coming to for a to-go coffee or a quick sip in the morning. The Sunset District doesn’t have many cute cafes like Hollow, but its coziness and Harry Potter’s Cupboard Under the Stairs-esque feel makes for a very warm and inviting environment.

1435 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

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The Mill

The Mill, located on Divisadero in Hayes Valley, is my favorite cafe North of the Panhandle.

With its large windows and beautiful exposed dark red brick, it’s hard to keep from going inside. The cafe is large and open, with bright lights, window lounging areas, ornately decorated walls and shelves, and an intricately twisted rope structure dangling over the community table.

The Mill is known for their bread and coffee, a combination of Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread, who work together to run one of the best cafes in the city. Along with the rich creamy coffee that is brewed by Four Barrel, Josey Baker Bread bakes the most fresh and fluffy bread, with thick crunchy crusts and full of hearty grains. These breads can be bought by the loaves, but are also served as toasts – $4 for a thick slice of toast with your desired topping – all of which are incredibly delicious.

There are usually four kinds of toasts offered:

Dark Mountain Rye Bread with Cream Cheese and Salt & Pepper
Country Bread with Butter and Cinnamon Sugar
Sesame Poppy Bread with Almond Butter and Salt
Bird Bread with Butter, Honey, and Salt

My favorite is the Dark Mountain Rye Bread with Cream Cheese and Salt & Pepper. The cream cheese is made by The Mill as well, and is a thick, rich schmear, with a plentiful helping of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper topped onto this savory toast.

For a sweeter palate, I like the Country Bread with Butter and Cinnamon Sugar, which, while sugary, is not overpowering, and reminds me of a Churro-toast. I love cinnamon, so this is the perfect alternative to go with my latte when I am wanting something sweet.

The Mill was one of the first cafes I visited when I moved to the city, and still remains one of my favorites a year later, along with Jane. The combination of one of my favorite coffee brewers, Four Barrel, with the undeniably delicious toasts by Josey Baker, make for an amazing coffee shop, with the added perk of no wi-fi to force people to enjoy the beautiful company and establishment that they are in and take a break from their tech!

The Mill also serves one-of-a-kind pizzas on Mondays 7-9, made with unique and interesting ingredients (think Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley). I have yet to make it for Pizza Night at The Mill, but will be sure to update when I do!

736 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

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Alfred Coffee

Alfred Coffee, with multiple locations across LA, embodies everything that the hip coffee shops of San Francisco has.

While the Brentwood location (pictured) is small, there is plenty of outdoor seating and to-go options for coffees and pastries. Their slogan, emulated by many new coffee shops, “But First, Coffee” is splattered across their cups, gift items, and even the wall.

Alfred Coffee has a great selection of pastries, with Farmshop baked scones, croissants, danishes, and muffins (GF too!). They also have pressed juices from The Pressed Juicery, and other small snacks and to-go items.

The coffee itself comes from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (my favorite), so I was already sold before I even tasted it. And for the record, it was perfect with my gluten-free blueberry muffin 🙂

Shoutout to my friend Katie for taking me to Alfred Coffee knowing that I would love it and want to post about it! If you’re in the LA area, Alfred Coffee should definitely be first on the agenda!

11908 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049