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Coffee & Tea 7

Fresh Roast, a coffeehouse in San Gabriel.

kevin | Mar 3, 2014 06:32 PM

The mismatched storefront looks quite dark and forlorn from the outside in this quiet stretch of San Gabriel Blvd, near the shuttered San Gabriel Bowl.

Upon entering the coffeehouse, I noticed it had the quirky feel of a dainty Victorian teahouse thrown upside down. There's mismatched chairs and couches and various totchkes that seem seriously out of place.

However, the place did not quite seem to fit the bill of a comfy coffee house. And the entire joint was empty except for a couple occupied tables.

The real nome de guerre of this joint seems to be customer caution signs littered with abandon such as CUSTOMER MAXIMUM LIMIT 3 HOURS PER DAY and INTERNET PASSWORD SUPPLIED WITH PURCHASE, $2 PER HALF HOUR. The computer stations looked like something out of an Internet cafe back in the mid-1990s (where an interminable dial-up was the only game in town) before the Dot-Com bust was not yet inevitable.

I ordered a coffee sua dua. The iced sua dua is strong vietanmese coffee over ice sweetened to the brim with condensed milk. The iced sua dua was not half bad. In fact, it was good, but over double the price of your usual banh mi joint, it didn't quite make sense.

The avocado smoothie was pedestrian at best, though there was some real fruit in there. It needed a more creamy mouth feel as well as some sugar. Avocado needs that sugar to make it a bona-fide smoothie in my opinion.

Those two drinks set me back a little under 10 bucks. This is not a cheap joint. And for some reason, the owner does not seem to be ardent proponent of the hospitality business to put it lightly. His counter girls were sweet, cute, and quite affable though this is no DV2, natch.

Does anyone like this joint ??????????????

And was I missing something here ?????????

Saigon Flavor and Bale Bakery were both better in my opinion, but maybe this is the type of joint where you chill for a couple hours on the homey couches and it ain't really about the espresso and smoothie drinks ????????????????????

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