Berkeley / Coffee Shops / Places / Restaurants

Where My Heart Is – Babette in Berkeley

Moving from Chico to the Bay Area was life’s rough kick from a downy nest. Not that I’m bummed. I chose to leave Chico. But, like most things in life, there’s no real way to know which of the details of a thing you’ll miss to the point your heart lets out tiny, nearly audible groans when a memory is pricked, until you leave that thing behind leaving you with a deflated balloon in your chest.

When it came to coffee shops, I spent a lot of time doing business – working, holding meetings, and breaking for lunch – at Tin Roof in Chico. But, on my personal time, I could be found at Naked Lounge.

Naked Lounge was the best place in town for a latte. They poured artistic milk foam shapes into big mugs and provided comfy chairs to sit in while you sipped. Warm wood, local art, and street-facing windows defined the location, but the people defined the space. The Lounge was the best place {aside from the infamous Duffy’s Tavern} to run into friends, have interesting conversation, or play a dang board game. Cheers taught us that we all want to go where everybody knows our name, right? Yeah, I think they’re right.

On a lonely day in Berkeley, angry that in the vastness of the East Bay and the ground my job requires me to cover {everything from Milpitas to Sacramento} I had not found a coffee shop I really loved, I saw a sweet little sandwich board which informed me that turning left would lead me to a land where Verve pour-overs could be purchased.

My inner balloon perked up a smidge that day. And over time, as the Bay Area slowly became home to me, I found places and people who give me the same at-home feeling I had in Chico.

Babette is undeniably cool – decked out in an industrial chic wood-meets-concrete way. The owners are undeniably passionate – in a get-to-know-ya while gettin-shit-done kind of way. And the thing Babette has that Naked Lounge didn’t – really great food.

I go for lunch most Thursdays because Thursday is the day glorious gluten-free pastries come out of the Babette kitchen {they knock Oakland’s Mariposa Bakery’s socks clean off}, along with an assortment of salads made from local veggies, and super-friendly baristas slingin’ artisan coffees.

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