Best cafes: Simple Pleasures

Best Cafes logoSan Francisco writer Michelle Richmond recently blogged about Simple Pleasures cafe out in the Richmond, way out on Balboa, and it brought back memories of when I was a 28-year-old student teacher at George Washington High School out on 32nd and Geary. We student teachers found out that the punky/arty kids liked to hang out at this cafe a few blocks from the school, at 3434 Balboa St near the Balboa Theater, and it became our hangout too.

We were all between 8 and 12 years older than the freshmen and sophomores we taught — not too old not to be attracted to the same things — and almost every late afternoon you’d find a table full of us student teachers down there. There I harbored a crush on Paula S., my fellow student teacher, gossipped about the tenured teachers, and compared notes on exercises and “classroom management” techniques.

There’s something wonderfully post-hippie-70s about the place, the way it smells strongly of coffee and just a hint of someone’s incense, the way it’s dark and full of old decorations and raggedy stuffed chairs. It’s just the kind of place you’d go, if you were a nerdy kid (or a nerdy 20-something) who had relatively recently discovered the glories of strong coffee and how it warms a dark, rainy March afternoon just far enough away from school for nobody to be able to find you playing hooky.

Hours and times on SFStation.

I wonder if the student teachers still hang out down there.

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