San Francisco; Hit & Run

Last week, Thursday, I happened to glance at our schedule at the bar and noticed I had both Sunday and Monday off, in a row… surely this was a mistake. Anyway, crazy thoughts entered my head… and for some reason I decided to verbalize them to my lady friend, Monica. She must have been crazy at the time too because we both decided it would be a good idea to make the 6 hour trip to San Francisco and get away… for about 48 hours. I had never been to San Fran and I really had been meaning to for awhile (just as apparently, Baca, Drew, R. Brown, & Co. have been ‘meaning to come to LA’ for awhile). Beyond good coffee at Ritual, I really didn’t know what to expect. So, I went with a very open mind and an aim to relax and see something new.

I closed the coffee bar on Saturday night and got to bed around 1:00 AM. This made waking up at 5:30, as originally intended, very difficult. Anyway, bottom line, we hit the road later than expected and were on our way by 7:45. We made great time and ended up in the city around 1. Putting first things first, we headed to Ritual. Pictures, the coffee, and even the people couldn’t really fully prepare me for the experience. It’s kind of beautiful the way the community feels inside the coffee bar. Very warm. This was probably amplified by the over-cast skies… but having spent most of November in Los Angeles, this was a welcomed change.

As was most of San Francisco. I, by no means, can call myself someone who has an understanding of the city, but it felt reminiscent of Seattle. Yet, it held the quirkiness of Los Angeles… To me, the perfect blend. It’s the kind of place I can appreciate and could really fall for.

The coffee I had while there was pretty damn good too. The whole experience kicked off with a S.O. CoE Colombia that these cats were pulling on the GB5. Bright, cheery, and sweet are words that come to mind. It reminded me of some of the styles of espresso Kopplin used to play with. Very un-PNW… That was followed by a ‘Red Flag espresso’ italiano. Which, made me smile.

On Monday, Baca took us around to the Blue Bottle stand on Haight and to the Ritual spot in the gardens. Both we great. Blue Bottle was rad. The perfect kiosk if you ask me… It was cool to have a gibralter from the coffee roaster who invented it. I had a single of Red Flag at Ritual. The bar experience there seems so personal, it’s kinda wonderful. Keith, our barista, really seemed to take pride in his ‘lone-ranger’ bar style. I would too. It was cool to see a spot, fully equipped, with one guy… acting as host and server. Making him a real barista… not the station workers some of us come to be. This is something many have fantasized about… barista’s that can function and handle their own like a bar tender. I’m in love with the fantasy of it, and hope someday I can be in a place that functions like that and is successful from a numbers standpoint. In the mean time, I’ll have to settle for watching Keith live it up…

All in all, the trip was quick, but it was a great break from Los Angeles,, and life in Silverlake. Resetting is important and I’m glad it happened. Tomorrow, Devin, Tonx, and I are planning on cupping some stuff at the Intelli Works. I have three coffees that the Ritual kids sent me off with and Tony has a box he just received from Andrew Barnette and Ecco.  Maybe I’ll post some of the highlights.


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