california in italia
I’ve finally found a caffè I really love here in Milano, the kind where you can sit for hours reading or thinking or watching people or writing; a page filling up as my cup of coffee empties, little by little.
You see Italy is of course known for its fantastic coffee, espresso and cappuccinos and everything in between, but it’s a very different caffè culture, if you will, from what we’re used to. Most Italians drink their coffee quickly, standing at the bar, and it’s actually a fascinating little process that I’m learning little by little (deserving of its own post sometime). Because of this there’s a different price for coffee at the bar, and at a table (if the caffè even has tables), and there simply isn’t that lingering sip-your-coffee-and-stay-awhile attitude. It’s simply a different concept.
I have found one that suits what I’m used to and love though, California Bakery; and I don’t mind that it’s completely ridiculous to come to Italy to go to an American bakery/caffè, because it’s actually one of the few places I go where I only see Italian people. It’s not quite like going to a Starbucks in Paris, for example, because here a lot of people have a sort of fascination with American culture. Cookies, brownies, muffins, pancakes, bagels (I mean, my god, bagels in Italy? brilliant)… And they serve “caffè americano” (from a regular american-style coffee maker, not just espresso with water added) as well as your macchiatos, cappuccinos, and so on. There’s a fantastic mix of people, a comfortable atmosphere, and friendly staff; it’s the kind of place that develops “regulars” which I just love.
And the place really is adorable. They have these cute little card that hang on wires from the ceiling, to number each table for the waitresses’ convenience, with tiny little American flags attached. The rest of the ceiling is hung with straw baskets of all sizes and shapes. You can check out their website for more adorable (californiabakery.it), I don’t want to go on and on.
And if they hadn’t won my heart already (they had), yesterday I was there about a half hour before closing time, and my lovely waitress sent me off with a free muffin (“for breakfast tomorrow,” she said with a smile) so it wouldn’t go to waste, unsold.
So on a rainy afternoon, you know where to find me.