We’ve been bad locals. Despite the fact that it’s been open since May 7th and we saw them getting ready to open even before that, we only just got around to checking out farm:table yesterday. This point is made especially bad by the fact that free-ranging eater Tablehopper wrote about it right around opening and a few blogs and websites we follow loved it too. Then a number of coffee blogs picked up on the fact that they serve Verve Coffee Roasters coffee and wrote about the place as well. That left us, living very close to them, not having checked them out. Bad, bad Tenderbloggers…
What have we missed? Well, the same thing that any of you have missed if you haven’t been there, in that this is an extremely cute, intimate spot which any neighborhood must have to give it a sense of permanence and cozyness (their business card says ‘coffee, food, community’). While the place is truly the size of a shoebox it is very tastefully decorated with the one communal table a good sized that can accommodate a number of people, located next to a huge window that when the San Francisco weather decides to be a bit decent is wide open to let the sun in. There are also two little tables outside that are pretty much perfectly positioned as the sun never beats directly down on you while you watch the comings and goings of Post Street at Leavenworth. In fact farm:table is a fantastic anchor to hold down this chunk of Post Street which is a very up-and-coming strip of the TenderNob area which we really love.
And what about the coffee? Solid. Made in famous Italian La Marzocco machines, and served in classic brown ACF cups, we hear that their espresso “delivers a potent, sharp, extremely bright shot” and that “it is not for the meek who like their coffee mellow or with milk” (see full expert rating here). We’re not generally coffee drinkers, as we prefer what many call, “that leafy crap” and others call, “tea”, but we can tell this group knows how to brew up a super proper cup of coffee. Besides, this tiny café is the first in San Francisco to use beans from the micro-roaster Verve. We also love the fact that they call their coffee specialty the “TenderNob” (pictured below). For some San Francisco aficionados, this may seem familiar because as far as we can tell, it’s also called the Gibraltar in Blue Bottle-loving circles, although it may remind the uninitiated like us of a Spanish cortado.
The strength of the coffee should not be surprising as two of the three owners, Kate (pictured below) and Shannon Amitin, were formerly of Blue Bottle Coffee (the third owner is Private chef Catherine Reinfield). As to why they don’t use Blue Bottle beans, Kate told us it was a diplomatic decision, “Well, when you know all the coffee roasters in town, you’re going to upset everyone else if you choose one from in town. That’s why we went out of town”. Verve is based in Santa Cruz and incidentally, we hear, they love jazz.
Ah, but it’s not just coffee. They now have tea as well which is from Teance in Berkeley. Love them or hate them, Teance does have good leaves and while a pot is $5, it’s quite big and they’ll refill it freely. At first they didn’t have tea as they’re trying to live by the motto of “doing fewer things and doing them very well”. They’re coffee people and they didn’t know all the ins and outs of tea-ness, but they were convinced by a friend (we thank you, friend!) and worked with Teance to really get a good understanding of tea, bring seasonal blends since they’re all about seasonal ingredients, and they took the extremely rare step of serving it loose leaf as bags are decidedly ucky. We hear their ice tea is great too.
Naturally, they have house made nibbles to go with your coffee or tea such as the ginger breakfast muffin that we tried and that was quite tasty, or maple cornmeal delight, as well as proper breakfast such as fruit and mascarpone toast. They also a daily soup, a salad and a couple of sandwiches for lunch based on seasonal ingredients. Today, for example, they are serving a bacon, tomato & avocado sandwich, a spicy tuna salad with egg and manzanilla olives, a velvety carrot soup, and a little gem salad with radish & cherry tomatoes. Yesterday they had a tarragon shallot egg salad sandwich, green garlic soup and a cherry tomato salad.
But, they have more than just these things, so if you really want to be on the up and up, check out their Twitter where they kick out the morning and afternoon delicious specialties that they prepare. Screw Ashton Kutcher. That has to be one of the best Twitter accounts in existence and it’s largely undiscovered so you can start following them now. Then you can tell you friends, “Oh, yeah, I was following farm:table since it was all spicy adobo pork sandwich. summer squash and basil soup. sugar snap pea, cucumber & radish salad. raspberry streusel and tarragon shallot egg salad sandwich. curry zucchini soup. green bean feta cucumber salad w mint vinaigrette“. You’ll be so cool.
The owners are incredibly cool (Kate is decorated in tattoos of pregnant women because she used to work as a doula, how cool is that?), easy-going and attentive to detail, and we are so thrilled to have this as part of the neighborhood. In fact they told us that they’ll soon be living within walking distance of the cafe, so they’ll be the über local we all wish we could be. Oh, in case you’re wondering what was there before, it was Cafe Momus which, having walked past it countless times we can’t remember it for the life of us. It’s probably safe to say that farm:table is an upgrade.
Their hours are still flexing around as they’re quite new, but currently, it’s Tuesday-Sunday from 9-4. We’re told that they’ll probably be open on Mondays as well in the near future.