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My traffic software just informed me that a French internaute (look it up) just spent 5 minutes and 53 seconds viewing 5 pages of Jonathan's Coffeeblog, primarily interested in the Cafe page, having been led there from an image on Google France. I then took another look at my Cafe page to see just what made it so interesting (cafés are not exactly a radical new concept in France), and I discovered that I hadn't posted a Cafe item in over a month. (And I have the chutzpah to call this a coffeeblog!) I decided forthwith to write a Cafe item, which this is. But where to start? As Aunt Em (or one of the characters) said to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, sometimes you just have to look in your own back yard. Although the Hopkins Street Espresso Roma is not in my back yard (in fact, I have no back yard), it is a second home to me: I am sitting there across from the barista station as I write this.
But what to write about it that I have already not addressed? Well, for one thing, it used to be a gas station. That's right a gas (gasoline, petrol, essence, benzina) station. The roof overhang that sheltered the pump operator now provides shade on sunny days, and is overgrown with vines. The front pavement, with the addition of planted trees, now serves as the cafe terrace and is surrounded by foliage and flowers in planter boxes. I am not certain I remember Espresso Roma Hopkins as a gas station, although I may have seen it as a shut-down gas station for a while before its next incarnation as an ice-cream shop, which I do remember.
Equally interesting is the surrounding neighborhood. The cafe is on at an intersection, across from which is the huge Monterey produce market where all kinds of exotic vegetables, fruits, groceries, and even fresh mushrooms (including chanterelles, fresh shiitakes, and Japanese enoki) are available in season. If you're looking for durian, star apples, and Mexican chilies, this is the place to find them. (But, sadly, no NEW Mexican GREEN chilies.) On the third corner is a string of fooderies (I just coined the word foodery, or thought I did, which for Americans is easier to pronounce than the Catalan equivalent, queviures, and more appetizing than any multilingual references to alimentation.) There is a rosticceria (which roasts chickens) called Magnani's), a Hunan restaurant, a cheese shop which even has fourme d'Ambert and reblochon, a fresh fish market, a bakery, and a pizzeria. What we have here is uncoerced multiculturalism, or, if one prefers, globalism at its best. The staff at Espresso Roma are predominantly Mexican, as is the style of their weekend scrambled eggs, which in my opinion, is their signature dish. Hey, do we like our food in Berkeley? Is the Lubavitcher Rebbe Jewish?Permanent Link to This Entry | | | Technorati Tag: cafe
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