[Click the image for a larger version. Photo by Jeremy Hatch.]
The picture above is of a moment in the sun in Union Square Tuesday afternoon, as seen from out in front of Macy’s.
One of my favorite cafes was located in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel at the corner of Sutter and Powell. I never learned its name, but it was a European-style cafe, good for a salad, sandwich, or pasta, with espresso, tea, or a glass of wine. When I was new in town I went there all the time. For no particular reason I stopped going earlier this year, and sometime between my last visit and yesterday afternoon, they replaced it with a Starbucks. Damn. You look away for a second, and there goes another one.
So I satisfied myself with Cafe Fresco at Hotel 480, which will probably be my future Union Square hangout. It definitely deserves better than this Yelp review. (But what do I know, I only had a Pellegrino Limonata.) Once I was inside, I realized that I’d actually been there before, years earlier. It was a cold rainy day, and I was playing hooky from high school in a town about a hundred miles to the south. (Gas was cheap back then.) I got a double espresso, and sat down next to two guys a little older than me; maybe they’d just graduated from college and had gotten jobs downtown. In their black raincoats and ties and fashionable glasses, they looked so damn sharp, and I have to admit I felt a little intimidated. It seemed that I could never live up to that level of effortless cool, and that possibly I’d never really “make it” in San Francisco. That was some fifteen years ago. By now those once-intimidatingly cool guys are probably thickening into sedate middle age, and I learned a long time ago that San Francisco is not all like Union Square. Thankfully. I can “make it” here; in fact, it seems likely that I couldn’t anywhere else.
On the positive side of change: the Disney Store at Powell and is going away for good. I really, really hated that store — and my hatred intensified whenever I had to wait on that corner for the light. This Yelp review pretty much sums it up, if you’ve never had the displeasure.