Ken Harrison 3:30 p.m., Sept. 1
Gelato Vero Caffe
Here's a little story about the coffee shop and gelateria in Mission Hills: twenty years back, maybe more, the corner of India and Washington was the place in town to meet up and caffeinate before weekend bike rides during a (mostly) epic era of bicycle racing.
Nowadays, the street-side patio and strong espressi are still a strong lure for bikers and pedestrians alike, especially on warm days when a bowl of good gelato and Italian coffee is part of the agenda.
As far as ice cream is concerned, Gelato Vero makes a very strong bid to be the best. The gelato is always stored at the perfect temperature so the texture remains silky smooth and ice crystals don't form. Flavors are mostly conventional and the gianduja (chocolate hazelnut) and pistachio gelati are both exceptional. One of the best ways to order them is with a shot of espresso poured over the top; the first few moments of still-hot coffee and cold gelato are priceless.
Baristas at Gelato Vero seem to take good care of the La Cimablli espresso machine, which produces consistently flavorful shots. The drinks menu doesn't list much in the way of creative, specialty drinks, but if a double espresso is good enough for most Italians, it's good enough for most of us, too!
The interior seems tiny at first, but there is an expanded cafe space upstairs with WiFi access for writers, students, or itinerant web surfers.
The long hours--it's open until 1 in the morning most nights--make Gelato Vero an ideal spot to keep in mind for post-prandial dessert outings or when a sweet tooth strikes at random hours.
3753 Indian Street