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Pappalecco: True Cafeistas!

The coffee and the game's the thing, come rain or rain

Walking up Cedar tonight, with the rain splotting down.

Come by Pappalecco (1602 State Street, on the corner with Cedar, Little Italy, 619-238-4590). And guess what? Two elderly men sitting outside hunched over their espressos ($2.00 each), a bottle of Pelligrino...and a chess set. It’s cold, dark, damp, wet, but ain’t nuttin’ going to tear them away from their game.

None

Filippo and Jesús. Focus? Shivering too much

“We struggle against each other,” says Filippo. “The problem is, we’re pretty evenly matched.”

And rain? The least of Filippo’s problems right now, if his white bishops and rooks piling up on Jesús’ side are any indication.

None

Filippo's Italian, Jesús is Mexican, but they say chess styles are universal. This game unites them in a weekly struggle (actually 3-4 times a week, Jesús says).

Makes you think: Isn't this what cafes are supposed to be? Places where you can live half your life, if you want to? The two brothers who created Pappalecco, Francesco and Lorenzo Bucci, told me once they wanted this to be exactly like places in their hometown of Pisa, of Leaning Tower fame, to bring "the truth of Italy" here.

None

And here it is, in front of me, at night, in the rain, these beautiful-crazy gents playing this Indian-Persian-Muslim game that their predecessors have been playing practically from the time of Christ.

Me, I try to watch. I'd love to hear one of them shout "Checkmate!" (from the Persian "Shah Mat!," "The King is Dead/Helpless!"), but I’m shivering too much.

“Come and have a game sometime,” Filippo says.

“A little humiliation would do me good,” I say.

“You’d be surprised how bad we are," Jesús says.

That I doubt. What I don't doubt is the power of friendship and a cup of coffee.

None

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Walking up Cedar tonight, with the rain splotting down.

Come by Pappalecco (1602 State Street, on the corner with Cedar, Little Italy, 619-238-4590). And guess what? Two elderly men sitting outside hunched over their espressos ($2.00 each), a bottle of Pelligrino...and a chess set. It’s cold, dark, damp, wet, but ain’t nuttin’ going to tear them away from their game.

None

Filippo and Jesús. Focus? Shivering too much

“We struggle against each other,” says Filippo. “The problem is, we’re pretty evenly matched.”

And rain? The least of Filippo’s problems right now, if his white bishops and rooks piling up on Jesús’ side are any indication.

None

Filippo's Italian, Jesús is Mexican, but they say chess styles are universal. This game unites them in a weekly struggle (actually 3-4 times a week, Jesús says).

Makes you think: Isn't this what cafes are supposed to be? Places where you can live half your life, if you want to? The two brothers who created Pappalecco, Francesco and Lorenzo Bucci, told me once they wanted this to be exactly like places in their hometown of Pisa, of Leaning Tower fame, to bring "the truth of Italy" here.

None

And here it is, in front of me, at night, in the rain, these beautiful-crazy gents playing this Indian-Persian-Muslim game that their predecessors have been playing practically from the time of Christ.

Me, I try to watch. I'd love to hear one of them shout "Checkmate!" (from the Persian "Shah Mat!," "The King is Dead/Helpless!"), but I’m shivering too much.

“Come and have a game sometime,” Filippo says.

“A little humiliation would do me good,” I say.

“You’d be surprised how bad we are," Jesús says.

That I doubt. What I don't doubt is the power of friendship and a cup of coffee.

None

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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