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I admit, I almost didn't want to write this. I wanted to keep Espresso Mio (1920 Fort Stockton Drive) to myself. It's not as if the coffee shop is a massive secret--it's right along a main thoroughfare in Mission Hills — but it is pure zen when writing needs to happen.

I've as much love as the next guy for bohemian coffee shops with lots of patrons, loads of energy, and sweet jams on the stereo. Those places can be among the best spots for working. But sometimes I want a little peace and quiet and Espresso Mio serves up a lot of that, along with some good espresso. The frontage on the street is deceptively grandiose. Inside, there are just a few tables and a long espresso bar. It's always been tranquil whenever I have been in.

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As I said, the coffee is good The list of drinks they'll make is short without the glut of sugary, specialty lattes that are common at other shops, but that's OK because sometimes you just want a cappuccino. The list of edibles is pretty short as well. They can press up a sandwich in the panini-grill and there are a few cookies, pastries, and pieces of fruit to be had as well.

The real delight at Espresso Mio is the back patio. There's two tables out there that look out over a eucalyptus-lined canyon that's filled with cool breezes and little twitter-birds flying around. In the morning, the shade is favorable so laptops can be read and sunstroke isn't an issue.

Seriously, best seats for miles around. Worth keeping secret. I guess I'm just a giver!

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