Every time my Dad took me to Potrero Hill – to develop View articles, or hangout with friends – he wanted coffee. The deal between us was that before he dropped me off we’d get the beverage together at a local cafe. I semi-willingly agreed, as I’m not a big fan of coffee, or coffee shops, but ended up loving these times with my dad.
One day we landed upon Farley’s, the Hill’s most popular cafe, according to patrons I spoke to there and Yelp’s comments section. My Dad was eager to try it. As we walked in, the pungent aroma of fresh coffee tickled my nose. White painted walls, artfully placed benches, paintings, and a newsrack created a casual, modern, and friendly air.
I stepped up to the cream-colored counter and ordering a hot cocoa with extra whipped cream. Dad requested an Americano with three shots of coffee and a peach scone. As we waited for our orders I noticed that no one was sitting alone. Every customer was with someone else, chatting, laughing, and enjoying food and beverages together.
My stomach grumbled with anticipation. As if on cue, my name was called out musically from the barista at the counter. As the hot liquid met my lips, I sighed in relief. It was the perfect temperature, and tasted creamy and dark, almost bitter with the raw essence of cacao beans. I subsequently had a bite of my dad’s peach scone, which provided a splash of fruitiness. Although the hot chocolate was too strong for my taste, the pleasant atmosphere, delectable food, and nice people were an irresistible combination that counteracted any complaints I had.
After we’d spent most of the morning sipping our drinks, my Dad left, and my next step was to find lunch. To my relief, Goat Hill Pizza was right down the block. Painted with greens, reds, and grays, it was inviting and familiar, seemingly more ‘human’ than its West Portal location, though it’s currently being renovated. I walked in and was immediately greeted with warmth from the pizza oven and the hostess. She escorted me to my seat at a square table with a red-and-white checkered tablecloth, where a waitress was waiting to take my order. I ordered a slice of cheese pizza. In the blink of an eye, my waitress rushed from the kitchen with it in her hand. As she set it down on my table, it steamed and bubbled, splashing a touch of hot oil onto my hand. Once it’d cooled down, I took an enormous bite. It was absolutely superb. When the waitress asked if I was enjoying my meal all I could do was smile. The familiar atmosphere, the staff’s friendliness, and the mouth-watering food make Goat Hill Pizza a must-eat destination.
At Plow, I was immediately entranced by the brunch spot’s modern yet backcountry appearance, which featured timber accents and aesthetically pleasing light fixtures. The moment I opened the soft wooden doors, the aroma of powdered sugar wafted into my nose. At that moment, I knew I was going to love the food, even before I tried the sumptuous pancakes I ordered moments later. Not only was my meal delicious, but the staff was courteous and kind to me from the moment I walked in to the second the doors shut behind me. Plow is the whole package; great staff, great food, and great photo-ops. I’ll certainly be dining at Plow and other Hill restaurants in the future.
Sam Arneson is a junior at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay.