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Abanico Coffee on Mission near 17th street serves up quality coffee and conversations

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There’s a new coffee shop in the Mission District just near 17th Street called Abanico Coffee Roasters. The owner, Ana Valle, is originally from El Salvador and grew up in Daly City in the 80s’ after her family fled the civil war.

The sleek look of the interior in photos I saw made me decide I wanted to seek this cafe out as well as the unique story behind it.

Cafe de Morro at Abanico Coffee Roasters.
Display wall with retail coffee bags for sale.

Initially, I passed the shop on Mission Street, you have to look closely for their sign as they are still getting it up. When I made it inside the owner herself was the register taking orders. We started chatting it up before I made my decision to try their Cafe de Morro. Morro is a fruit used in the Salvadoran horchata.

The most noticeable thing about this latte is that it keeps true to the coffee and doesn’t try to infuse too much sweetness or milk. I care about the pure taste of coffee above everything.

The pour of coffee by the barista demonstrates experience and control, complete balance. I’m not much of a latte guy these days and have mainly reverted to just drinking black coffee during the pandemic, but this was honestly a great experience.

The table next to the register.

The cafe has a tall table next to the register and a bar that faces Mission Street. It’s great for people watching and the random bus viewing as well. I set up next to the register with my laptop to do some work and was impressed with the fast, quality Wi-Fi here. You won’t find any plugs inside which is typical for the Bay Area, especially in the city though.

View of Mission Street and the bus from Abanico.

The cafe was a little slow on my visit and I managed to get some good conversations with the baristas and learned quite a bit about the struggles during the pandemic and how the cafe finally opened in May of this year.

To me, a cafe is only as good as its baristas and both the baristas at Abanico that I have met seem to have a dedication to a quality pour of coffee.

Spinach and Feta Croissant.

For food I ordered the Spinach and Feta croissant and it was delicious and better than what I’m used to in cafes across the coast. A good quick snack and prices were fair.

I was left with a good vibe after my visit and decided to return back the next day for another visit. On this visit I grabbed both a drip coffee and an espresso and noted they don’t have any sparkling water yet, hopefully it will be added in the future.

Drip cup of coffee.

You don’t really see many cafes on Mission Street itself despite it being a very busy street filled with foot traffic and personally I can see how this cafe has the potential to become a community hub for those in the area as San Francisco comes back to life.

Abanico sign on Mission Street.

Abanico Coffee Roasters is in the very beginning of its journey with a planned grand opening on July 24th, but I am hoping to come back again and again for more coffee and conversations.

Name: Abanico Coffee Roasters

Address: 2121 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Phone Number: (415) 896-4678

Website: abanicocoffee.com

Carlos Eats

September 4, 2021 |

RUMOR: Nine Spices Hot Pot expanding to Tampa’s Uptown near USF

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A new hot pot place has appeared on Fowler Avenue near USF and Tampa’s Uptown called HotPot BBQ.

There isn’t much online for it yet, but the license for the location points to Nine Spices Hot Pot in St. Petersburg as the owners of the location and this spot is in the old Hong Kong House spot in front of M.D. Oriental Market at 1120 East Fowler Avenue Tampa, Florida 33612.

The current selection for hot pot in Tampa is very limited so fingers crossed that this is real. The owners have not responded yet to requests for comment.

Carlos Eats

October 27, 2019 |

U Poke Spot: Quality poke bowls arrive in Tampa near USF

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Full disclosure: I was invited to try the menu at U Poke Spot in exchange for my opinion about their food. These opinions are my own and do not reflect U Poke Spot.

U Poke Spot opened recently just a block away from USF across from MOSI by Einstein’s and Qdoba. It’s a fast-casual Hawaiian-style poke restaurant.

Despite the national popularity of poke, it hasn’t quite taken off yet in Tampa. Many restaurant have tried to use poke as a marketing tactic to upsell their typical fish without offering real poke. Often times the sauces will be downright awful or the fish doesn’t taste good.

Poke Rose at The Hall on Franklin was the first serious take on poke in Tampa, but unfortunately it does not allow you to customize your bowls. The Poke Cafe may be good to the people in Dunedin, but to me it was a disappointing example of poke.

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U Poke Spot resembles more of what I expect in a poke restaurant. The owners background ties back to sushi restaurants, so the fish and toppings reflect that and they go well.

They have salmon, tuna, spicy salmon, spicy tuna, octopus, and even chicken for people who are trying to avoid fish all together. Some toppings include masago, edamame, tempura flakes, seaweed salad, guacamole, mango salsa, crushed nuts, and more.

The main sauce is poke sauce but there are at least 4 other available. The eel sauce and spicy mayo sauces I tried were also great and just what you would find at any sushi restaurant. To be honest, this is the best poke I have had since I last went to San Francisco.

Some things I hope to see added to the menu are tamago (Japanese egg) and eel.

I went with the spicy salmon all the way and added a bunch of toppings and I found all of them to be fresh and flavorful. I built my bowl the same way I would build a sushi burrito or a sushi roll and modern poke is pretty much that.

The guacamole was flavorful, but I would be interested in seeing the guacamole mixed with some other things perhaps in the future. I’a Poke in San Francisco has sun-dried tomato guacamole which sounds ridiculous, but is actually ridiculously amazing with poke and sushi burritos. The cool thing about poke bowls is you can constantly re-invent the menu for customers.

The key to a good poke bowl will depend on how you mix the fish, toppings, and sauces. You have to think about how the flavors all complement each other. There are pre-arranged bowls to help those who might struggle with that.

The prices seem a little expensive for the college area it is situated in with 2 proteins at $ 10.95 and 3 proteins for $ 13.95, but it is actually comparable to other poke restaurants. The price will mostly increase when you add higher end toppings such as guacamole or avocado which is expensive pretty much anywhere.

On average I think a typical for me would probably run around $ 13-15 which isn’t unfair for the bowl portions in my opinion. The truth is quality fish is never going to be cheap without something else to make up for the margins lost such as alcohol or events.

The owners could mitigate that feeling for students by providing a rewards program, student discount, or flash sales that will draw them in even if they are reluctant. Although students claim to be price-conscious, they are willing to spend extra for the right brands. See Chipotle, iPhones, electronic music festivals, etc.

I was also a fan of the drink selection with numerous drinks from Japan available including various green tea brands, Japanese Ramune sodas, and Calpico which I love.

This selection was also available at poke places I visited in San Francisco and the owners of U Poke Spot told me much of their inspiration came from poke restaurants in New York that they visited.

The interior is modern with digital screens and clean and to me makes a good case of probably a franchise one day if U Poke Spot is successful.

The owners indicated they will be adding sushi burritos to the menu as well which I look forward to trying in the future.

I really enjoyed U Poke Spot and look forward to coming back again soon. It is the first time I have felt like poke is being done how I imagined it in Tampa. I recommend giving them a look.

Restaurant name: U Poke Spot

Neighborhood: USF, Temple Terrace

Cuisine: Poke

Address: 5001 E. Fowler Ave., Unit F, Tampa, FL 33617

Phone Number: 813-533-3707

Hours: 11AM-10PM Sunday-Thursday, 11AM-11PM Friday & Saturday

Menu: http://www.upokespot.com/menu-2/


Carlos Eats

October 29, 2017 |

NEW: H20℃ Boba Shop & Thai-Rolled Ice Cream opens near USF

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USF has no shortage of dessert shops and cafes. There has to be over 10 cafes and shops near the USF campus.

Last year Ice Smile was one of the shops in Tampa to popularize Thai-Rolled Ice Cream and people went nuts for it. We’re talking over an hour wait for Thai-Rolled Ice Cream. Now a new shop has emerged on Fletcher Avenue just minutes from USF.

H20℃ opened in August on Fletcher by the USF – Tampa Campus and is serving Thai-Rolled Ice Cream and bubble tea at 13520 University Plaza Street. The bubble tea is served in light bulbs which has been a popular fad on the west coast for over a year now.

Got Tea was one of the first shops in Tampa to serve light bulb boba last year.

For more info on H20℃ visit them on social media:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/H2OCicecream/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/h2oc_tampa/

It is open daily from Monday to Sunday from 12PM-11PM.

You can reach them at (813) 559-1645.

 

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo


Carlos Eats

September 23, 2017 |
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