Saturday, November 20, 2010

European Flair in the Hood

One of my favorite things about my new neighborhood is that I am a block away from a bustling street of shops, art galleries and cafes lending me a mini-city experience amidst the grandeur beauty of my desert environment. A fan of walking rather than driving, and of the daily coffee stop in the morning, my life has improved ten fold due to location alone. 

Even better, I've found a blissful, ritual morning place in Il Sogno, which means The Dream in Italian and oh, what a a dream it is. Located on El Paseo, the long rectangular space is dark, intimate and very European in flavor. Unlike the work-a-day rat race atmosphere of the in and out places like Starbucks, Il Sogno's whole ambiance is conducive to the long morning whittled away over a cappuccino frothing over with a thick, whipped head and bites of sinful pastries that line the shelves brimming with color and flavorful concoctions. Heart shaped chocolate souffle lava cakes and pumpkin pecan brulees come in small personalized sizes. Lemon bars cut in dainty strips to dip into tea and fresh pastel colored candies on plates tempt the eye. Buttery fresh croissants laden with rich chocolate, grilled egg and bacon paninis, and miniature quiches of mushroom and swiss cheeses arrive warm and inviting. The service is leisurely as is the conversation and I could easily see this becoming my regular lazy Sunday morning place, when there is nothing else on the agenda and one of everything to savor. 

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