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Aah. Coffee. Morning. Hillcrest. Fifth.

Or, just a mo’. Is it Caffe. Mattino. Roma, Via Veneto, whatever?

I swear. Take one look at Hector’s gargantuan espresso machine here at Caffe Vergnano 1882 (3850 Fifth Avenue, between Robinson and University) and you’ll think you’re in Italy. Way back in, well, 1882, when Enrico Vergnano actually started selling coffee, in Turin.

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Hector and his marvelous machine

“It’s an Elektra, a replica of a 1917 one,” says Hector. Wow. We’re talking probably the world’s first espresso machine. Basically like a steam locomotive stood up on its end.

Hector’s the guy who set up this Vergnano outpost - their first in the US - earlier this year. Did a good job. This could be the closest we’ll ever get to the real Italian quick-stop caffe thing you read about.

Yes, there are wonderful places like Pappalecco in Little Italy. But Hector seems to have imported every single thing, down to the tables, the glasses, the biscuit that comes with your espresso, and a crazy array of specialty coffee drinks that look like liquid art.

And, of course, his espresso machine.

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The 1917 replica. Ciao bella!

Warning: No drip coffee. Who knew? But, seems, drip's a big "No, man!" with Romans.

Had a pretty good meal, last time, too. Multi-layer veggie lasagna. See upcoming Tin Fork (7/13-14)!

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Halfway through my veggie lasagna

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