About the Owners: After 19 years in a delicatessen catering department, Ramana Brodeth knew her way around a sandwich. In 2010, she and her sons, TJ and Mark, opened Lou’s Cafe. One of them is always behind the counter, crafting inventive, satisfying sandwiches and topping them with Lou’s Special Sauce, a housemade garlic-and-herb aioli.
From the Press
Dutch crunch: also called “tiger bread,” this roll features a mottled exterior that hides a soft, chewy center. Bakers use sesame oil to lend it a distinct aroma, and paint the top with rice paste before baking it to create a cracked appearance and salty-sweet flavor.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Take a stroll through Clement Nursery (1921 Clement Street), the oldest in SF, housed in lovingly restored farm buildings.
After: Make a picnic of it and let the kids run around the renovated Argonne Playground (18th Avenue & Geary Boulveard); three picnic tables sit alongside the tennis courts.
While You’re Waiting: Get your taste buds tingling with anticipation by checking out the glass display cases stocked full with paninis, baked goods, and other treats.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Play pinball and shop for shirts at Free Gold Watch (1767 Waller Street).
After: Buy a painting at Creativity Explored (3245 16th Street), which helps artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell their works.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Trade paninis for the classic reuben sandwiches at Blue Front Cafe (1430 Haight Street).
Philz Coffee founder Phil Jaber claims in a video on his website he was “born to make coffee.” Given that he’s created more than 30 unique blends, it seems he’s fulfilling his destiny, like an electrician named Dwight D. Electrician. Along with hosting single-bean coffees from Columbia, Africa, and Yemen, Jaber blends coffees that use anywhere from two to seven different beans. Jaber agonizes over every aspect of each flavor, even the name. As he puts it, “I want to come up with names that match my products, my concept, and what it is all about.” Take his “Tesora” blend for example. Meaning “treasure” in Italian, Tesora is something you could, Jaber says, “put in the archive in your heart.” Jaber knows something about taking things to heart. His love of coffee is what led him to open his own coffee station, where he and his staff make each cup one at a time so it suits the customer’s specific taste. Along with a passion for coffee, the staff at each Philz Coffee location shares a passion for the earth. Each day, the company composts more than 2,000 pounds of coffee grounds, recycles as much as possible, and refrains from slapping endangered birds. The company also encourages customers to bring their own reusable mugs by charging the price of a small cup to fill the mug regardless of its size.
Om Shan Tea's kitchen flourishes with vegan and mostly organic ingredients that are locally sourced when possible, but it also can be characterized by what it doesn't have. That includes a microwave, a fryer, gluten, refined sugars, and peanuts, with few exceptions noted clearly on the menu. The eatery crafts soup, salad, bowls, and open-faced sandwiches?which are obviously more honest?with fragrant seasonings and earthy, healthful ingredients such as adzuki beans, quinoa, coconut oil, hempseed, and kale.
Echoing the establishment's emphasis on community, organic tea is served by the pot in Chinese-tea-ceremony style. A long menu of varieties includes yunnan black, raw yerba mate, and tulsi teas. The establishment also hosts a full calendar of events, including concerts, dance performances, and poetry readings.
Stinging nettles; squash-ginger twist; Happy Feet. Frapez Smoothie Spa's organic beverages sound like yoga poses and are likewise designed to balance and detoxify the body. Hot smoothies pack in the same fruit-sourced nutrients as cold smoothies, minus the brain freeze and moist handshakes. Teas, such as dandelion leaf, and juices, such as the energizing wheatgrass, further support the Frapez mission of infusing lives with a convenient supply of nutrients.
Frapez's in-house nutritionist provides one-on-one consultations to help clients develop nutrition programs that fit their lifestyles. Detox programs combine the shop's smoothies and teas in regimens designed to clean out and energize the body's organs.
A cozy neighborhood hangout, Luv A Java is more than just a spot to grab a cuppa. Read on to learn more about this Noe Valley café.