A Third Wave-coffee spot for every neighborhood! It's starting to feel like our God-given right.
We can now check off the TenderNob. Last Thursday, Farm:Table (415-292-7089) opened at 754 Post Street between Levenworth and Jones. The inviting chalkboard-centric spot, with a central communal table, should probably be named Plantation:Table seeing that the focus is on coffee which they get from Verve Coffee Roasters down in Santa Cruz. When I stopped by, the huge window was flung open to welcome the beautiful day and the La Marzocco (duh) was being manned by co-owners and Blue Bottle ex-pats Kate (wife) and Shannon (husband) Amitin. Kate is a woman of many trades: She not only makes delicious salted caramels for the cafe, but she's also decorated in tattoos of pregnant women because she used to work as a doula. (Private chef Catherine Reinfield is also an owner.)
Of course there was coffee, but the food fixings today included buckwheat cocoa nib cookies, nutmeg breakfast cakes, chocolate pound cake and slices of deliciously hearty, slightly sour rye bread from Oakland's one-year-old Firebrand Artisan Breads bakery (you can find their rye, wheat and sourdough at Bi-Rite Market), toasted, smeared with cream cheese and topped with big, plump raisins and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon (for sort of a deconstructed, rustic cinnamon-raisin bagel experience). I could eat that for breakfast a lot.
I asked them the obvious question: Why are they selling Verve coffee instead of something more local? Shannon gave me the small-batch, obsessive-roasters pitch (like Blue Bottle, Ritual and Four Barrel are not?). Kate broke it down more frankly: "It was the most diplomatic decision," she said smiling wryly, listing off all the people they're friends with in the SF coffee-geek world ( Jeremy, James, Jared, Justin...). Which brings me to a new discovery: The large ratio of people in the Third Wave movement who not only have tattoos and fixed-gear bikes, but whose names begin with J! Apparently Jared and Justin (whose last names I don't have), also formerly of Blue Bottle, are launching their own coffee roastery soon. Stay tuned.