Monday, November 16, 2009

Cruisin' Cafes: San Diego, California

In all of the time Café Fashionista has been in existence, I have never thought to pay tribute to its namesake by adding a kick of coffee shops to my daily tirades regarding fashion; the time, darlings, has finally come. To celebrate my obsession with cozy cafes and charming coffee shops, I have decided to incorporate one day each week devoted solely to visiting a different location in the world, and three quaint places said location offers to load up on caffeine. The result? Cruisin’ Cafes. The first stop on our cup of Joe journey? San Diego, California.

Due to the fact that I have resided in Southern California for the majority of my twenty-something years, I have always thought of San Diego as a stomping ground of sorts; my own personal playground, to be completely truthful. I have spent hours trolling Horton Plaza, sashayed along the sidewalks of Gaslamp Quarter, and, most importantly, cozied up to a handful of quaint cafes where I’ve sipped and savored delectable demitasses, enticing café au laits, and scrummy espressos. Here, a trio of my treasured.

Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe and Café There are very few things in life that compare to the romanticism experienced via a bicycle built for two; but a bicycle shop that doubles as a cozy café just waiting to bear witness to cute, clandestine romances comes quite close.

The mom and pop-inspired Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe and Café is not a typical place to perk up your morning – or afternoon. The décor is both vintage and rustic in the sense that the furnishings do not include antique coffee pots, or paintings of coffee beans. Things are much more whimsical here. Retro bikes full of history hang from the walls; while plush sofas and overstuffed armchairs, in addition to a handful of caramel-colored tables, are spread throughout the room – seating that virtually beckons for you to take a load off and unwind. But please don’t even contemplate relaxation before snagging a snack. I recommend the very unique Toffee Nut Latte (which reminds me ever so much of one of my Rachael Ray favorites – Toffee Hot Chocolate; you certainly won’t be sorry! 6794 University Ave. (at 68th St.), San Diego, CA 92115.

Café Bassam There are two words that immediately jump to mind when I so much as think about Café Bassam, and that is shabby chic. The saying “A place for everything and everything in its place” is cast aside, and instead a cluttered environment is embraced as antiques and kitschy creations speckle the interior. But that is precisely what makes the location so enchanting. Nooks and crannies lurking within Café Bassam make you feel as if you are playing an innocent game of hide-and-seek with the waiters and waitresses found inside; while marble tables paired with whispery Parisian jazz give you the impression that you’re in some far off, distant European country, as opposed to Banker’s Hill.

But I digress, ambiance and adorableness aside, Café Bassam, with its picturesque windows and jumble of decanters, is like something out of a fairytale; a location where romance can easily flourish over a dark hot chocolate, a heavenly white mocha drizzled with raspberry syrup, or, once night falls, a chardonnay – all savored over the soft din of the antiquated cherry red cash register sitting front and center atop the counter. 3088 5th Ave. (between Quince St. and Redwood St.), San Diego, CA 92103.

Caffe Carpe Diem I shall be the first to admit that I stumbled upon Caffe Carpe Diem courtesy of it’s name. After all, how on earth is one supposed to be expected to seize the day if they are not first plied with caffeine, and lots of it? Regardless, I quickly fell completely head over heels with its cosmopolitan beauty, and impossible to resist offerings.

Do not plan on zooming in and out of Caffe Carpe Diem in mere moments; before you can seize the day, you must patiently wait in wonderment for your drink du jour, soaking up the atmosphere – something that is just as delicious as the offered macchiatos. Elegance is key at Caffe Carpe Diem – dark wood floors, an ostentatious chandelier, and an espresso machine washed in a glimmering copper add personality to the petite place; but non, all that would be nothing without rich recipes to satiate thirst and hunger. Try the Mexican Mocha coupled with the Rise & Shine – a mouthwatering mix of colorful sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and mozzarella – it’s a dynamic duo destined to make you feel like a princess. 3139 University Ave. (between Iowa St. and Herman Ave.), San Diego, CA 92104.

Which of these San Diego cafes would you like to cruise?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to We ♥ It for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the Fashionista in the Kitchen Giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat.

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