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Announcing the first Hot Quiche In A Coffee Shop award.

First prize has to go to Twiggs Coffee House and Bakery (4590 Park Boulevard, corner of Madison, 619-296-0616) ...

Okay. Here's how it happened.

It was after ten last night. Maybe 20 minutes till the last #11 bus heading downtown. Wandering, starving, searching high and low for food on Park Boulevard, in the café cluster near Adams.

But, Small Bar won’t let you in if you’re carrying food you’ve bought elsewhere. I have a plastic bag with late-nite stuff for Carla and me. Bahn Thai, closed. Bourbon Street Bar & Grill, closed. El Zarape: great, but packed.

In other words: Desperation.

Then I notice, beyond the bus stop, just across Madison, Twiggs coffee place, looking all rosy and warm inside.

So — any port in a storm — now I’m inside, among a sea of laptop screens and silent eyeballing going on. A dozen PhD theses being written as I look.

Also I’m looking at the cookies and buns in the display case. Have to say, the coffee menus are kinda witty...

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“Do you have anything, like, savory?” I ask.

“We have some sandwiches left," says this guy Patrick.

"But not real actual meals," he says. "Have you tried El Zarape? They’re great.”

“Too crowded, no time,” I say.

“Okay, well, sandwiches, quiche…?”

“Quiche?”

I love quiche.

“Oh, sure. Three slices left. Cost $3.75 each.”

And it looks like that includes tax.

“Can you heat it real quick?”

“Not a problem.”

And, presto, if you can believe this, I’m hauling the steaming quiche, along with a coffee ($1.65) to an old round red table next to a, like, intricately carved, eight-foot side of a wooden opium bed that’s come all the way from Indonesia. It’s laid vertically against the left wall.

Sixty secs later I’m in a kind of opium dream myself. Because this quiche…this dream of a quiche is totally wonderful. Thick? It drools cheese, onions, and a zillion chunks of broccoli.

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Dang, but it’s good.

And it’s not brought in from some wholesale bakery. They bake these themselves at their own bakery around the corner on Adams.

“It’s the roasted onions and chives,” says Patrick when I bring back the plate. If I wasn’t worried about the bus I’d be asking for more.

Guess Patrick spots me for the cheapskate I am, because he starts talking other bargains. “We’re pretty popular for our hot savory croissants, too,” he says. “Ham and cheese, or the most popular, spinach and feta cheese. They’re $3.25, but anything left over after 5:00 p.m. is half price.”

“And when do you lay out the opium bed?” I ask. “And how much for a pipe? Is that half-price after five?”

I never get the answer because I’m running. The last #11 is just turning onto Park from Adams.

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