Friday, October 12, 2007

Angel Cafe

Angel Café

Someone should review this place. From a den of thieves’ cavernous dive to a tenderloin beacon of hope, the Angel Café has brought life to a neighborhood corner business that once resembled a tomb. There is definitely a before and after story there at the café. The Blossoming of a Neighborhood.

I went there for coffee before the new owner took over and it was like you’d entered a private social club where you are the only outsider who dared to pass through their door. It was a cross between a bookie joint, a crack house and a morgue. Nothing seemed to move inside those walls, nothing alive anyways. That feeling of depressed loneliness pervaded the dark cold hovel that imitated a coffee shop with the nerve to offer food.

Enter new owner with a bright and cheery attitude. I suppose he noticed that cold feeling also and set out to do something about it. He’s re-made the place to fit his personality and character with a bright warm renovation and a menu of deserts that beckon dieters to take the day off and indulge.

The outdoor décor is just as warm and sparkling as the interior though the street scene can still be a bit ……..well, tenderloin-ish-ish. Previously thigh-high plant holders, which doubled as receptacles for all sorts of tobacco and refuse, bracketed the lazy tables and chairs out front. These have been replaced with sturdy stainless steel table and chair arrangements along with a storefront umbrella hangover for protection from in-climate weather and pesky pigeons, who it seems have all but disappeared since the renovation. Kind of gives the block a touch of North Beach Trattoria sidewalk café essence.

The blue and white colors permeate the setting to make it a fresh welcome to the once brick with black trim outer façade. One look at the establishment across the street will give any newcomer a peek into the dungeon-like setting that this corner once shared. The other establishment has yet to get the hint and come to Jesus, their loss.

As for the Angel Café, with the 38 Geary bus-stop nearby, passersby get a full view of what lies within and find it hard not to enter and indulge. And here’s the real beauty of it all, it’s a family run business. The owner is the son and the proud father helps with customer service and café cleanliness duties. It’s obvious the father is happy for his son’s success. If the title “A clean well lit place” hadn’t already been taken then this café could have easily donned the motto. Mother and wife can sometimes be spotted inside providing service as well.

I enjoy a cup a day at the Angel Café while sitting outside meeting all sorts of San Franciscans and tourists. And every now and then I take the day off from my diet to indulge in a special desert, my favorite being a slice of Monterosa. Are you ready for this description? Here it is:

A creamy mix of mascarpone and ricotta cheese divided by a delicate layer of sponge cake, topped with wild strawberries and red currants.

Simply Divine!

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