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Naomi: let the search for the best patio continue!

Three cases in point. Avenue Liquor (at Ninth and Orange in Coronado), I’ll admit, is not like your Café de la Paix in Paris.

But they do one thing right.

They have built a sub kitchen (Avenue Subs) where their submakers Richalyn and Larry and others turn out some damned fine subs for between $5 and $8.

(My three favorites are the Orange Avenue Italian with ham pepperoni and salami, the BLT, the Island BBQ ribs – such a deal - and oh yes, the sausage.)

But the great thing is to go sit outside at one of the three or four aluminum tables they have plonked on the sidewalk.

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No big deal, but such a pleasure! You see the island world go by, the luminous green gardens on the Orange Avenue median,

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and, with that sloping sun back of you, your subs light up like magic.

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What I like the best: No placard saying “Please wait to be seated.” No walls “protecting” you from the street. It’s the street where we wanna eat! (More on Avenue Subs in next week’s Tin Fork.)

Contrast this with, oh, Starbucks (below). This is what they made of their opportunity to create a big, colorful, people-mixer patio on the wide sidewalk at America Plaza on Broadway, downtown.

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The sterile cuckoo? I think so. I know, it’s unfair to show the emptied patio (because of some construction), but even when it’s full, it feels like what it is: cold-weather northern Seattle-ites trying what they do worst, to be Mediterranean. Clattery, cold, metal and glass… aye!

Contrast this with – be still my heart – the patio courtyard of the Casa Guadalajara in Old Town (4105 Taylor Street, 619-295-5111). Now that’s a patio.

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Of course, this is a patio behind walls, and best of all I like patios to be on the street, where you can be part of the world. Inclusive, not ex-clusive. So tomorrow, Naomicita, I’ll get my favorite streetside scene, high bucks or low. Bet you're gonna agree.

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