Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: Caffe Trieste

What: Caffe Trieste
Where: 601 Vallejo St., San Francisco, CA
When: October, 2014

Years ago, as I became a coffee lover, I also began to enjoy the atmospheres of cafes. I always liked that romantic quality of sitting in a cafe with a steaming cup of coffee while reading or writing. I'm of that Barnes and Noble-Starbucks generation where I dream up words for that publishable novel I'm writing while in a coffee shop.

I also discovered that every town, big or small, has a coffee shop of some sort. Whether it's coffee served at a gas station or an actual cafe where you can sit and enjoy the atmosphere, there's coffee everywhere, and I began to make it a point to get a cup of coffee while traveling on day trips or vacations.

San Francisco certainly wasn't any different.

The first night we were in the city, our friends who had just moved to North Beach pointed out Caffe Trieste. They said it was a favorite spot of theirs and it stayed open quite late. Little did we know at that point that Caffe Trieste was going to become our daily haunt for coffee and pastries.

Every morning we would walk the two blocks uphill to the restaurant. It was always bustling, no matter the hour we dropped in, and while we always had to wait on a line but our service was quick and accurate.

Each morning I would buy a danish and it was always delicious. I devoured those babies and I still occasionally think of them - I haven't found such good danishes in ages. The coffee was also delicious and a full cup, all topped with whipped cream that wasn't from a can but made by hand.

There's outdoor seating but also different, spiffy tables within the cafe proper. One morning we sat outside, listening to church bells, traffic and pigeons. We sipped our coffee, ate our danish, and discussed what the city of San Francisco was to us. Because that's the urge while sitting there, to talk about life or opinions, to feel thoughtful or maybe just social.

We went to the cafe at night only once. It was to meet with friends after a very busy day and together we sipped Italian sodas (the first non-coffee drink I ordered!) and caught up. Outside, a group of men had pulled up chairs in a circle on the corner, strummed guitars, sang softly or chatted with a cop who had been passing by. We sat inside and other people were sitting at the end of our table, but there wasn't any awkwardness. Sitting back and viewing the atmosphere you see staff hugging patrons who frequent the place often enough to establish relationships; it seems to be a family place. Not in that children are running around but that good friends and family meet to chat over their richly flavored drinks.

A Saturday morning I met with yet another friend at the cafe. We ordered our drinks, sat down and began to chat. She had been living in San Francisco for two years and hadn't gotten a chance to go to Caffe Trieste yet. We were discussing life -- we had gone to a liberal arts college together and both escaped our small towns to bigger cities -- while a couple took control of the corner of the cafe and set up a stand. Out came musical instruments and suddenly the cafe was filled with live music -- a normalcy, apparently.

There are multiple locations of Caffe Trieste but you can only find the cafe in the San Francisco-metro area. Live music is common but my goodness, if you are going to go to the cafe, go for the coffee and those danishes!

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