Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hook Me Up: Spasso Coffeehouse

With my new MacBook with wi-fi access, I decided I should be more part of the coffeehouse community, even though I don't drink coffee. So occasionally I thought I'd blog about some neighborhood coffeehouses and cafes with wi-fi connections.

So that brings me to Spasso Coffeehouse, not too far away from my Rockridge apartment in Oakland. In fact, I think Spasso is considered on the edge of Rockridge near Clairemont on the border of Berkeley and North Oakland. I'm there right now writing this post after a lunch of chicken salad sandwich and Mango Ceylon tea from the Republic of Tea. I got here a little before noon and it was already pretty packed in the back with a mix crowd of college students and non-college students (that's me and a handful of other "mature" coffeehouse hanger-ons).

The back room is pretty large, but it's tightly packed with small bistro-type table tops next to each other. By the time I finished placing my order, the only seat was smack dab in the middle of the room, where I felt like I was on display, just like this huge mural that I could see from where I was sitting. I think it's pretty interesting, and adds to the casual, worker-type mentality of the place. Eventually someone left and now I'm sitting right underneath the mural against the wall on this long wooden bench. It's not very comfortable but at least I'm no longer the center of attention.

Here's the typical coffeehouse crowd at Spasso this Sunday afternoon. Overall, this is your typical cafe. My only gripe so far is that it sure takes a long time to get your food. The two servers at the counter are very friendly and nice, but seems a bit overwhelmed by the people coming in. For example, the guy who took my order never gave me my pot of tea. I had to come and get it and it was just sitting there on the counter. That isn't a biggie, except when you're like me and you don't like your tea seeping for longer than 4 minutes max (for black teas). So I didn't know how long this was seeping. Luckily, it's fine. (Or maybe it's not and that's why I feel so wired right now.)

The woman who was making sandwiches got my order for the chicken salad but then when I sat down in the center of the room, I noticed that she was now busy taking orders. So who's making the sandwiches? It was a bit confusing about when they were going to get to it. And with a chicken salad sandwich, you'd think all the ingredients are made and you just have to slap it on a couple pieces of toast and then serve it up. You'd think. It was maybe another 10 minutes before I got my sandwich.

Here's my chicken salad sandwich on toasted whole wheat bread. Pretty straightforward. I have to say, the chicken chunks were pretty nice and tender, but overall it was very homemade. It's satisfactory for my needs, which was basically a quick bite so I could focus more on blogging and working on my Christmas e-newsletter. Time to get down to work!

Spasso Coffeehouse
Location: 6021 College Ave., near Claremont Avenue in Oakland
PH: 510.428.1818
Food: Sandwiches, baked goods and specialty drinks
Coffee: Organic fair trade coffee
Tea: Republic of Tea brand
Wi-Fi: Yes, free hi-speed with password
Restrooms: Yes
Seating: 15 tables in the back, three in the front plus a sofa with coffee table, two outside on sidewalk
Cleanliness: Average. No bus boys so you have to bus yourself, and some customers weren't really nice about that.


Anonymous said...

This is a great new feature. I probably spend too high a percentage of my life in a cafe hooked up to wifi, but I'm always happy to learn about more good spots.

Single Guy Ben said...

Thanks Eric, maybe I'll see you at a cafe one of these days!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I just thought of another thing which it would be great if you could include in future wifi posts: the availability of power outlets for laptops? It can be a bit frustrating to have free wifi, only to discover that there's nowhere to plug in. Anyway, if you happen to notice, it'd be great to know about, even if it's not food-related. :)

Single Guy Ben said...

I was thinking of including that! But then I felt my list would get so long. But you're right, it's always a challenge, I'm sure. At Spasso, they did have outlets on the bottom running along the walls.