I have found it at last, a coffee shop with a relaxed vibe, good drinks, and hours past sundown a walkable distance from my apartment! If Café 4 were a mile closer, it’d win for local coffee shop options, but Café Rumi is a very acceptable runner-up, plus it stays open an hour later. Super friendly people at the register who love their coffee, exceptional gyros, bucket seats, and a mix of patrons young and old? What’s not to like? Plus, they offer organic, fair-trade coffee that is roasted over oak locally, which makes for a distinctive selling point all on its own. As evident in their décor that includes a traditional tea set on display and lush fabrics draped over the windows and above the large mirror, Café Rumi has Afghani influences.
The rich red-gold of the walls is inviting, and I love the pressed-tin pattern that adorns the bottom half of their walls, in no small part because we used to have the same exact design on our ceiling in North Carolina. Those Middle Eastern touches combined with modern red chairs and square tables make for an appropriate fusion of styles for Northern California.
More so than the décor, however, the warm greeting the barista offered right when I walked in the door impressed me. She talked me into letting her experiment with a Mexican mocha chai on the merits of her excitement alone.
It was great–I always enjoy the spices of chai mixed in with a good mocha base. The iced coffee was just as good.
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Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen is an appealing Tenderloin escape from the crowds near Union Square in downtown San Francisco, especially if you’re in a drinking mood. The walls are a sleek gray with the occasional geometric patterns and letters embellished on them in shades of blue. Booths and tables are done in dark woods and black. Service is relaxed, and the extensive cocktail and beer lists with seasonal specialties should please most imbibers like myself. The menu is the everpresent mix of snacks, small plates, and large plates I’ve seen in pretty much every San Francisco restaurant I’ve tried so far. That’s not a complaint — just a statement of fact. This one has a bent toward New American and comfort foods.
Friend #1, my husband, and I quickly made our drink selections. Rather, they made their drink selections while I took forever to decide on the Smashing Pumpkin.
Smashing Pumpkin on the left, Friend #1′s drink in the middle, and my husband’s Wiessen Sour on the right.
The Smashing Pumpkin was a heavy drink with a light texture from velvety egg foam. Maple pumpkin butter gave it depth and richness, but you could probably have two without feeling like you swam through calories. Dark rum, amaro, and sherry made for a creative combination of liqueurs with the amaro injecting smooth herbal notes into the mix. I would drink more. I would drink often.
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My husband and I celebrated the sale of our North Carolina home with a prix fixe meal at this modern, French-inflected New American restaurant on Hayward’s downtown stretch. Using an Amazon Local deal, we dined on three courses each for only $40 including a glass of champagne. It was the second time I’d been to Bijou, and I love their bold design scheme of golds and greens with a luxurious dividing screen between lounge and dining room.
It might seem contrary to the ambience, but both Sunday nights I’ve been have been popular ones for watching football in the lounge. I’ve enjoyed that contrast of upscale dining with regular old sports-fan enthusiasm. On our previous trip, I also enjoyed the creative cocktail list and a delicious cream of cauliflower soup. For this dinner, the best course ended up being my first one, a puff pastry served with lobster, carrots, and peas in a Pernod sauce.
The puff pastry was almost overbrowned, which is the perfect time to serve it in my opinion. The delicate sauce showed off the succulent lobster bites, and the peas and carrots hearkened back to a traditional pot pie.
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