Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Caffe Central

Caffé Central
170 O'farrell St, San Francisco 94102
QISA (4433), 5-15$, Vegetarian-Friendly

I discovered Caffé Central on a morning hunt for a non-Starbucks cup of coffee. I have nothing against Starbucks; I certainly patronize them enough on a fairly regular basis. However, I felt that San Francisco should have more to offer me than just one more chain restaurant. I was here for something different, something original, something quintessentially San Franciscan.
Caffe Central has a wide array of coffee drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, sushi, and pastries. I list Caffé Central as veg friendly because one can put together a meal that does not solely consist of simple carbs -- although their simple carbs are pretty tasty.
Over the course of two visits, I had the garden greens smoothie, the vegetarian morning sandwich, an almond croissant, and a cup of coffee. The garden green smoothie was a fruit and vegetable smoothie containing spinach, kale, apple, kiwi fruit, and ginger. I’ve tried to make similar smoothies myself at home, but the café did a much better job than I ever did, artfully blending the flavors and textures.
The morning sandwich of egg, cheese, tomato, avocado, and pesto on a cheese-topped croissant was delightful. Big chunks of fresh avocado complimented the rest of the ingredients, creating a fresh, tasty, very filling meal.
The almond croissant was flaky and sweet, just the way it should be. The other pastries in the case were beautifully made, and if they were as good as the croissant, then I could have spent many, many happy mornings there.
Ironically, the coffee was decent but average. For the amount I paid for the drip coffee, I guess I expected a more transformative caffeinated experience.
I did not try any of the bubble teas, partly because I did not have time, but mostly because I have a visceral reaction to tea drinks with chewy bits in it. When I manage to work my way up to tapioca pearl drinks, I’ll come back and update my report.
All in all, I recommend Caffé Central. It is reasonably priced for San Francisco (which means way-overpriced for the Midwest). It’s a great way to feel a little younger, hipper, and healthier without copping a snooty attitude. And at my age, I need all the help I can get.

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