>It was early, but not incredibly early, and we were starving. Starving, which is what happens when you have an early dinner and a late night, then sleep in. You don’t eat for more than 11 hours and when you finally wake up, your body is famished and ready to eat the pillow! We did not intend to go back to the bar in which we had been drinking the night before for breakfast, but the line at our original destination (True Blue Café, already reviewed in this blog, and which did go to the next day) was just too, too long. Oddly enough, Café de la Presse was not our first choice for a bar the night before; the first choice, a wine bar around the corner, was closed (at 9 PM on a Saturday night? Really?). But both experiences were serendipitous, as CDLP was excellent for a breakfast spot as well as providing a respectable glass of kir.
Located just in front of the gateway to Chinatown, this little café is as close to a Parisian experience as I’ve found in the States. The menu is small and uses most of the same ingredients (ensuring that the contents of each dish are cycled through and fresh), with a few decidedly American dishes thrown in to please everyone. We ordered café au lait, and a bottle of water was placed on the table, which was nice to keep our glasses full. For food, we ordered the breakfast sandwich croissant and the pain du chocolat, that is, a chocolate croissant. We like to mix it up with the sweet and savory.
The café au laits were perfect, with the coffee light and fresh. The breakfast croissant was excellent – flavorful, airy eggs mixed with spicy breakfast sausage, all served on a huge, light croissant with cheese. It was near paradise in breakfast sandwiches. The chocolate croissant was incredible: light layers of puff pastry amid tender, sweet rivers of chocolate. I’ve had many chocolate croissants, and with the exception of a few that I had in Paris, they have all fallen short. Many are made using not-quite-melted waxy chocolate chips for the center, and the flavor of the bread is yeasty and tasteless. Not so with this choco croissant. Sweet and sinful, this pastry served as more of a dessert than breakfast.
Although both times at Café de la Presse were the results of a second choice, I would certainly return to this magical little café. I would love to check out their dinner and lunch options, and get another one of those amazing croissants. It was sort of a mini-trip to Paris, right in San Fran!