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Great Coffee House in San Francisco

Updated on October 14, 2009

Escape from the Expensive Tea Joint

This is a quick hub just because I am now in love with a new coffee house and bread bakery in San Francisco called "Urban Bread". It is located at the corner of 18th Street and Sanchez, right in the heart of San Francisco's famous Castro District.

My wife and I had just left "ImagiKnit", the knitting store (best place ever she raves, though I would not know anything about knitting except what she tells me) and were both craving a cup of java. So I spot a nice looking place on the corner, can't say the name of it, but it is definitely one of these new age tea places. I figure, hey, if they have tea, then they must have coffee, so we decide to cross the street and go in.

Immediately we were ushered to a table near the window. Now this was the first warning sign. Normally one would saunter up to the bar and order your own beverage, which would either be brought to your table or you would have to get up and fetch it. Not here. Fancy menus followed, proferred by the kundalini-dressed young hostess.

Still, not a big problem until we opened the menu. First thing I noticed was that there was not a cup of Joe in sight. Worried, I flagged down the impish maiden and asked her the ten million dollar question: "Do you have any coffee?"

Now you would think that I had asked her if there were any child slaves working in the kitchen or if the dot on her forehead meant that she had just come back from an Ash Wednesday ceremony. She was visibly upset that an uncouth barbarian such as myself (admittedly) would invoke the dreaded name of the demon nemesis seed itself within the confines of her holy sanctuary, the Tea Den or Pagoda or whatever it was called.

The withering look she threw back at me made me flinch, expecting the coming shower of phlegm, which thankfully, did not come. Instead she just looked at me sadly, then leaned in conspiratorially, and said "We don't have that here. Sorry."

Castigated (and spiritually castrated), I looked to my wife for support, but she was hiding behind her wall of yarn and knitting needles. "I told you so," was all she could muster, embarrassed to be seen with someone so obviously lacking in social Tea etiquette. I mean, how was I to know these things? I watch Ultimate Fighting for Christ's sake (or Buddha's).

Anyway, that is when we went back to reading the menu. I figured, okay, Tea is good, we'll have some tea. Nothing too fancy, just some Earl Grey perhaps. I was already starting to think in my English accent, tallyho (not that there were any ho's around). I digress. We both stared slack-jawed at the prices. $9 for a decanter (pot?) of tea. I thought, this must be a mistake, does that include a large bundt cake or some cucumber sandwiches (yuck!)? But no, that was just for the tea. Period. Fork over your money and you get the tea and by the way, the only side dish is Major Attitude.

No thanks. My wife knows she is married to a boor, but she has the common sense born of hard times. Thankfully we were near the front door so we both just got up and walked out.

Coffee beats Tea any day!
Coffee beats Tea any day!

Urban Bread, Hallowed be thy Name

After stumbling out into the rain, we had just about given up hope of actually tasting any coffee or coffee-like product, when Lo and Behold! there across the street was Urban Bread, a coffee-shop and bakery with people sitting at the window playing with their laptops.

Short story: Best coffee I have ever had, anywhere, any time. I had the cappucino and my wife had the latte and they were absolutely piping hot, fantastic, loved it, loved it, loved it!

Price: Like $3 for each coffee, not bad.

With all the money I had left over I went hog wild, bought three pastries and a large loaf of freshly baked garlic loaf to go.

The waiter, who was probably the owner, was super nice and we were in Coffee House Heaven.

So next time you are in the Castro, check out Urban Bread. Tell them bludstream sent you and that you read about it in hubpages.

Nuff said about the other joint.

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