Coffee and Tea
Round out your Balboa Park experience with a cup of tea and a meal at the Tea Pavilion (619/231-0048, daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., later in the summer). As advertised, the specialty of the house is tea. You’ll find a great cuppa, whether you favor herbal, green, or black teas. You can also get a bowl of noodles, some sushi, or a quick snack. To take some of the Japanese experience home with you, wander into the market section to peruse the unusual imported food and drink.
If all that tromping around through the park has tired you out, perk up with a drink from Daniel’s Coffee Cart (House of Hospitality Courtyard, Tues.–Sun. 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Mon. 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). You’ll find all your favorite espresso drinks, plain ol’ coffee, tea, and pastries.
A favorite Hillcrest coffee shop is Gelato Vero Caffe (3753 India St., 619/295-9269, Mon.–Thurs. 6 a.m.–midnight, Fri. 6 a.m.–1 a.m., Sat. 7 a.m.–1 a.m., Sun. 7 a.m.–midnight, $10), which serves the workday-morning caffeine-jonesing crowd and the late-night dessert and coffee hounds. The gelato is all made in-house, and the owners and fans assert that you won’t find any better this side of Italy. The small café has little seating in the main room; if you want to sit down and enjoy your coffee or gelato and there doesn’t seem to be room, hit the stairway off to the side out the door of the café to find the upper deck and inside cottage seating.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition