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I'm reluctant to tell about this one, but the Bay Guardian's critics have already outed it as the best cafe au lait and it's still a haven. By night this backyard cottage is the wine bar for the Liberty Restaurant. By day, my friends call this cottage Paris, as in, "it's 2:30, do we have time to go to Paris before it closes?" Paris has graceful iron chairs, peaceful nooks, a sometimes-sunny patio away from the street, and the best coffee I've found in San Francisco. Even the sugar for the coffee is quality sugar, chunky light-brown fresh good sugar. The just-baked croissants aren't bad either, but the real joy of this place is in the mix of watching excellent bakers kneading that day's bread, drinking the incredible coffee, smelling the sun and yeast and quiet, and knowing that all is right with the world. I've never seen anyone bring a laptop computer in here, because we all know that would be wrong, discordant, a violation of the peace of this place.
- Elaine Lewinnek