11 January, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me Of A Rockin' Coffeehouse In the TL ...

Nancy Felz (left) and co-owner Chelsea Torres

Red and yellow beet, open-faced sandwich with blue cheese and chips.
...And that birdie was right! Little Bird Coffeehouse in San Francisco's Tenderloin District is a welcome diamond in the rough for those who would like to have a light and fluffy, whole wheat waffle with fruit and nuts for brunch with a loved one; like to pass some casual time with friends eating a yellow and red beet, open-faced sandwich with a secret-recipe blue cheese  spread and house-pickled, red onions; or dunk a donut from either the famous Bob's, or a vegan version from  Peeble's, into an individual, drip-brewed cup of coffee from Ritual or De La Paz roasters while doing homework on their laptop. 

This cafe is among several other gems on an otherwise energetic, yet slightly seedy and nondescript street lined with buildings (a Goodwill store doors down from the decadently ornate Alhambra Apartments that copy the palace of the same name built by the Moors in Spain, for example) that seem to have a neighborhood identity crisis. Luckily for me, the food at Little Bird had a much clearer idea of how it wanted to present itself to the world: cleanly plated dishes made from colorful and healthy, yet un-pretentious ingredients that highlight what's really important - flavor. 

Whole wheat waffle with fruit, berries and nuts.
The cafe is also located conveniently along the 38 Geary bus line and next door to a fabulous dive bar called Whiskey Thieves that just so happens to be owned by the husband of one of Little Bird's owners (Chelsea Torres; the other co-owner is Dave Blood - yes, that's his real name and not just his stage name at Slayer concerts). So if you need a shot of Jameson to wind-down after all that studying, you're covered, though I recommend first getting some sustenance in your belly from the likes of say a smoked tofu "Reuben" sandwich bursting at the seams with Pepperjack cheese, farmer's-market avocado,  vegan 1000 Island dressing,  and  quality, fresh sauerkraut). 

Vegetarian "Reuben"
Miss Nancy Felz is the recent addition to Little Bird's team and is responsible for the newly expanded breakfast/brunch/lunch food menu. Everything is vegetarian, almost everything is organic and locally produced, and most items can be made vegan or gluten-free. Felz has experience as a personal chef for clients with specialized diets, so it's not a stretch for her to modify the oldie-but-goody classic breakfast item of an egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin, into a meal using "alternative," non-meat/dairy/gluten ingredients that  even a carnivore would eat. Nancy can also be reached at her website: the epicurator. There are even more tasty recipes in the works so stay tuned! The day I was there there was a nice mix of locals doing work on their computers; employees, owners, and their friends stopping in for a chat; stylish and interesting hetero couples sipping coffee; handsome and friendly gay couples lunching; other random folks peeking in to check out the new, dapper place in the neighborhood; and everyone enjoying their visit. In other words, the food, drink, and ambiance live up to expectations of a San Francisco eatery that The City can be proud to call its own. Bon appetite!

*Special thanks to Mark and Angelo for letting me photograph their lunch*


  1. OMG, I love this place. Finally a place in the TL worthy of seeking out! Maybe the hood can become the next Hayes Valley. Funky, cool and just a little seedy. : )

  2. love your posts Erica...always makes me hungry for delicious food

  3. Excellent presentation and taste - and at a coffee shop no less.

  4. Little Bird fantastic.
    Enough said.
    Go visit.


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