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Sausalito - Northpoint Coffee – Shhh, don’t tell ... Palazzolo’s Gelato

rworange | Oct 16, 200512:28 AM

If there were such a thing as Chowhound brownie points, I would earn them for reporting about this place that I really wanted to keep my little secret. You folks won’t tell though, will you?

This has to be the prettiest coffee house in the Bay Area with a back patio that is on Richardson Bay, enjoying a lovely view.

As a bonus, it promises to be interesting. The owners are seeking out local artisan bakers that don’t get wide spread attention. The owner says they are trying out various bakers, so if something pleases you, be sure to tell them so that item stays on the menu.

For fans of John & Jill’s cheesecake, they are currently serving that. There was a very delicious looking crumb coffee cake by a bakery I’ve never heard of before that starts with an “N’, but I didn’t quite catch it. Today was busy and I don’t know all of the pastry vendors, currently about five.

Soup is house made and the sandwiches looked good. They are currently using bread from Acme and Grace Baking and considering adding some Bay Breads items. The organic coffee is from Equator.

There are about a dozen flavors of Palazzolo’s Gelato which the owner says is Oprah’s favorite gelato and is made in Michigan. The gelato is certified Kosher (see website below).

Oprah and I don’t often have similar taste in food. If she was a Chowhound, I would ignore her posts. However, there I was on a park bench on a brick patio that had lovely landscaping. Butterflies were flitting about the flowers, seabirds rode the breezes, the sun was shining, fishing boats, kayaks and sailboats glided by in the bay. Wanting to linger, I tried the pumpkin gelato.

It was actually very good, in the same league as Tango Gelato and Latest Scoop. There was one flavor that was vanilla with fresh raspberries folded in. Tempting, but it is autumn and pumpkin time for me. The company sells over 350 flavors of gelato. Link is below.

Though the café only carries a dozen flavors, I’m hoping they will carry some of the more interesting flavors – there are FIFTEEN kinds of VANILLA gelato (I want the sour cream vanilla with buttermilk, Tahitian vanilla and sour cream. I’m going to drop suggestions for them to carry that flavor).

Really check out that amazing flavor selection on the website … tequila fig, Mole, anisette, spiced dark Venezuelan chocolate, zuppa inglaise, Turkish roast, etc, etc. Then there are the sorbets like Rainier cherry, Concord grape, cucumber ginger, yuzu, Granny Smith Apple schnapps, tomato horseradish …

Back to the café.

The best baked good was an apple spice cake that had slices of baked apples on top. Taking a bite, my first impression was, eh. Then a second later there was a hot gingery kick. If you like ginger, it is very much recommended.

The quiche was really interesting and might have been better if there were not some service glitches. The custardy quiche was on top of a layer of cheese, caramelized onion and bacon. Unfortunately it was served barely warm after about a half hour wait and two tries. More about service issues later. I’d definitely try this again when things settle down.

I wanted to like the chicken soup more, the egg noodles seemed home made, but the soup didn’t rise very much above canned and was luke warm. Again, would give soup another try later.

There’s a frequent buyers card. Buy 10 (coffee, tea, cocoa, smoothies), get one free.

The cute little red building is right next door to Paradise Bay Restaurant. The inside is inviting with wooden floors, mustard sponge brushed walls, green trim, tables, ands a lounge area with wicker chairs. There is a beamed ceiling and large sunny windows. There is an outdoor deck in addition to the patio. There is FREE parking. To the left of the building is a wheelchair ramp for handicapped access.

The owners, Carol and Eric Wentworth, had a coffee shop in Santa Barbara and, I think, some family issues caused them to relocate to the Bay Area. Lucky us. They are getting familiar with Bay Area vendors and, it seems, auditioning the best.

Despite the killer view, the service was distracting to the point of annoying, not to mention I asked FOUR TIMES for a business card before getting one.

Carol stopped by the table and asked if there was anything else she could bring, and I mentioned that there was a beyond reasonable wait for the quiche. She said that they were doing a soft opening and this was just their third day in business.

There were LOTS of friends of the owners in the restaurant gushing about how cute the place is (it is) and how the masses will soon discover the place (it was 1/4 full. I had the large patio to myself). I overheard talk about the Santa Barbara restaurant, so with such a long wait, I icily said without any empathy for opening glitches “Really, I heard you had a business down South. This should be old hat for you” (yikes ... it WAS a long wait, but every time I read that, I cringe more).

She was just so sweet, and started to talk about everything that went wrong that day down to their thousand dollar espresso machine breaking down. Oh. Sometimes if you know the story, it helps a lot. Carol enjoys her customers and once she stopped by to chat, obviously I gleaned much info. She was also very sociable with other tables, but I had the impression many of these people she knew. She said that originally Paradise Bay had planned to open a coffee shop in the building but … and then Carol rushed off to avert another crisis.

There were other interesting items, like tins of Bellagio Cocoa (white chocolate, truffled chocolate, milk chocolate). However it was a little busy around the counter where orders are placed so don’t know anymore than that. Didn’t even get a good look of the gelato flavors. There was no take out menu yet and since I wanted to get outside on the patio, I didn’t pay close attention to the menu board.

I was checking to see if Fish. was open yet (two more weeks) and lucked across Northpoint Coffee Company. Here are good thoughts that it fulfills what looks like a lot of promise. I pitied the people packed like sardines in Café Trieste … and with no view … hah!

Northpoint Coffee Company
1250 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965

Hours (keep in mind they are new and hours may change)

Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 10 pm
Friday – Saturday: 7 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 7 am – 7 pm

Link: http://www.4gelato.com/

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