Today I am sitting in Café Puccini, the best café in North Beach. Luckily, they open early. For some absurd reason I decided to get up ridiculously early and make a long day even longer. I left at 6, thinking I’d get here at 7 and have a couple plus hours to edit. I actually ended up getting to the café at 6:30, even after overshooting North Beach and ending up on Van Ness somehow. C’mon, I hadn’t had my coffee yet.

Puccini has been my favorite ever since I first came here as a teenager and discovered coffee. I don’t think I had ever had a real cappuccino before, not like they make here. I don’t remember if I was with mom or Christy, or if I was just exploring on my own when I found it, but I’ve been coming back ever since. Somehow it has remained a remarkably non-touristy place. It’s seriously a neighborhood café. Right now the place has 7 tables taken up, all by men of a certain age sitting on their own reading their papers or writing. It’s like that at all times of the day, with a certain amount of tourist activity on the sidewalk in the late morning and early afternoon, though.

Even at those high times it remains a neighborhood spot. I remember sitting here one day, hearing construction workers on break come in and chat in Italian with the owner (who still sometimes works the bar). Generally each person that comes in greets at least one person before settling in to their own isolated table.

This is so my kind of place. Now I just have to find an affordable apartment in North Beach so that this can be MY neighborhood place. A girl’s gotta have her dreams.


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