Elisa's Cafe and L's Caffe - Page 2

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Italy and Spain, of course, have taken turns ruling bits of each other over the centuries.

As if to honor this long entwinement, the café offers a casually international menu, with definite Italian flourishes along with Spanish touches spoken in a New World accent. You can get bagels smeared with lox and cream cheese, or with hummus; you can get a PB&J or a sandwich with pepperoni, mozzarella, and pesto. You can get Chilean-style empanadas ($3 each), half-moon shaped pastry pouches filled with shredded chicken or just vegetables — which might mean mostly spinach.

There's a minestrone soup ($4.50) whose thick, spicy tomato sauce and flotsam of white beans and pasta would do credit to many an Italian restaurant. The soup goes nicely with, perhaps, a turkey and Swiss sandwich ($5.95), which would be totally all-American if not for the swoosh of hummus on the top slice of whole-wheat bread. Even a five-bean salad ($3.25), a staple of midsummer picnics, features a broad constituency of legumes: black, pinto, lima, and green beans, along with chickpeas.

Not all recent changes in the Mission are awful, if we factor into our judgment L's Caffe's commitment to organic agriculture — all the coffee beans are organic, as is much of the food — and to reducing its waste stream through a conscientious program of composting and recycling. As someone who recently had a burrito at a long-beloved taqueria (also in the Mission) and was horrified to see a reckless flow of aluminum foil, Styrofoam, and other manufactured leavings into the garbage, I can tell you that this matters.

ELISA'S CAFÉ

Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat–Sun., 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

4901 Mission, SF

(415) 333-3177

Beer and wine

AE/MC/V

Not noisy

Wheelchair accessible

L'S CAFFE

Mon.–Thurs., 6 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fri., 6 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat–Sun., 7 a.m.–9 p.m.

2871 24th St., SF

(415) 206-0274

www.lscaffe.net

Beer and wine

DC/DISC/MC/V

Not noisy

Wheelchair accessible

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