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Ruth Lafler | Aug 19, 200405:16 PM     17

While waiting for late arrivals for the Fruitvale crawl, I popped into the newly opened Powderface coffee house just across from the BART station entrance in the Fruitvale Village complex.

The name Powderface refers to the fact that they specialize in beignets, cooked to order, in addition to the usual range of beverages, both hot and cold.

I've never had a beignet before, so I have no yardstick for comparison, but these struck me as a little ... bland. I guess I was expecting more of that sweet/fat punch of a donut. But I think they're worth going back and trying under different conditions. Cutting them into pieces with shears probably wasn't the optimal way to serve them. They might have been better if they'd been allowed to cool a little and reabsorb some of the steam in the interior.

They come three to an order for $2.90. The management (Asian -- we were mildly amused at the cross-culturalism of Asians serving beignets in a Latino neighborhood) is very friendly and enthusiastic about their venture.

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