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Me? Napoleon?

I swear. Strangest things happen at the trolley stop at 5th and B.

Tonight I’m just standing, doing the usual thing of hurry up and wait.

But through the cold, that cozy-lookin’ place at 6th and B calls my name.

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“Cross over, come in! Warm, happy hour…”

It’s the Sixth Avenue Bistro (1165 6th Avenue, downtown, 619-239-4194).

Got me at a weak moment. I just missed a Blue Line, and it’s getting dark and shivery out here. I look west down C. No sign of no Blue Line. I cross over Sixth, head up half a block.

Inside, you can see people taking coats off, relaxing, laffing. Looks really snug. A group of guys in white shirt tops settles into a booth. Gal at the bar is wrapping her hands around a huge cup brimming with cream. She holds it and smiles a Cheshire Cat smile.

Now I'm hoisting myself up on a bar stool near the banker-looking fellas.

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“That hot drink,” I say to the bartender, Kimmy...

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“What is it?”

“That’s a Café Napoleon,” she says. “It’s cappuccino with a 2-ounce shot of cognac, and cream and chocolate syrup on top. Six dollars.”

Ulp. But on the other hand, who can resist? I order one.

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And oh man. Hot, heady, with that slightly winey overtaste, disgustingly delicious with the cream and chocolate on top, gut-heating, and just as important, hand-warming.

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Of course, now, seeing I’m here, start wondering about a snack.

“Happy hour?” I ask Kimmy.

“Till seven,” she says, and moves a little stand-up menu my way.

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Everything’s $5. Pot stickers, carne asada nachos, two street tacos, sweet potato fries, carne asada or chicken quesadilla, and buffalo wings. I go for the nachos. Jack, the owner, turns out, brings them in a few minutes.

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Jack and my nachos

I mean, nachos and Napoleon cawfee ain’t the greatest combo, but they’re certainly generoso and mighty filling, both of them.

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“What you should be having,” says Jamie, one of the financial planner guys in shirtsleeves (hey, we are in the Financial District), “is the gumbo.”

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Jamie

And wow. Kimmy says Jack, the owner, is from New Orleans. Seems this place has won Best Cajun/Creole restaurant in the en-tire County four years in a row! On the 10 News/A-List rankings. Who knew?

Gotta come back.

More soon in Tin Fork.

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Comments

Ian Pike Dec. 13, 2012 @ 8:11 p.m.

You are one crazy fool, hot sweet coffee and nachos. GO get em, jaja.

I like the look of that cuppa joe, however.

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David Dodd Dec. 13, 2012 @ 8:52 p.m.

I have a difficult time trusting nachos over there (or here, for that matter), but you MUST report on the gumbo. I could go for some gumbo right about now, nothing warmer than that except for this tequila I'm sipping on.

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Ed Bedford Dec. 14, 2012 @ 1:17 a.m.

I can see my duty is clear, RG. Stay tuned. And Ian, yes. Started with the coffee, worked backwards. But it was kinda cool. Guess I'm becoming a little Filipino. Mixing sweet and savory is the way to go, from what I've eaten in National City. Hope your withdrawals aren't too bad in the cheesesteak OD clinic. Seriously, that was heroic.

By the way: What would you guys say is the key test for a good gumbo?

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Ian Pike Dec. 14, 2012 @ 8:45 a.m.

For me, consistency can be a ruinous. If it's really thickened with okra or file powder it can get kinda wacky and disgusting.

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