1128 25th Street, Golden Hill
I keep waiting for Golden Hill to finally give up on Krakatoa. The converted craftsman coffeehouse is plenty inviting, with a shaded wraparound deck and ample parking in the back. But it's slow. The frustrating kind of slow, where you wait in a line that never seems to go away, then order a drink or sandwich that won't get made til after all the other drinks and sandwiches have been made.
Which could happen soon, if nobody behind the counter gets distracted. But they've often got friends passing through saying hey, and customers from twenty minutes ago asking about a misplaced part of their just-arrived order, or having trouble connecting to the wifi or something. There's always something, and yet a constant lack of free hands available, which is surprising for a place that would have customers bus their own plates.
When I moved close enough to walk there with my dog, I envisioned delightful morning strolls, culminating in coffee and a sandwich on the deck, maybe working on a crossword or reading Feast! reviews while puppo worked at being cute for diners at the next table. The slowness wouldn't even bother me, I thought. I'd embrace the time, settle in awhile, enjoy the atmosphere and simply not be bothered to rush.
Then I realized, everyone else has accepted the wait too. So people show up, grab the best seat they can find, and go nowhere, so it can be tough to get a table, and I'm— I mean, Loki is too impatient to wait. Granted, they'll allow dogs inside as well, but Krakatoa's all about that deck.
So last week it took me two tries to get a table with my dog. Saturday was a no-go, with all tables filled and a couple other parties waiting awkwardly nearby to compete for the first available. We went back on Monday, some road work was taking place out front, the construction crew cutting into the asphalt with a very heavy, very noisy saw.
I walked right in and up to the counter, no line. Ordered a Taos sandwich: turkey, bacon and roasted Anaheim chile with melted pepperjack cheese; a blood orange pomegranate iced tea to wash it down. It arrived within moments.
The noise had chased everyone away, so we had the whole deck to ourselves. Better yet, the workmen took a lunch break, leaving me to quietly eat my mediocre sandwich and potato salad, while Loki sat on the built-in bench seat across from me.
They make better sandwiches — though not better sides. Either way, nobody's here for the food, not really. In fact, if they want to let their food quality slide that's okay by me. Because this quiet-afternoon-Krakatoa, without the slowness and the crowds, that's the friendly neighborhood coffee shop I'd like to see more of.