I’m sitting in one of my favorite little funky coffee shops in San Diego. Cafe Bassam is on 5th Ave between Quince and Redwood in the Bankers Hill area of San Diego. The walls are covered in thrift store paintings and there’s a pile of books in the back left corner shelf stacked haphazardly, as if someone was looking for something and forgot to put everything back where it was before. There are player piano rolls next to them. Perhaps the player piano to my right is played from time to time? Is it from the owner’s grandparents? It never has been played while I’ve been here but there’s always hope. The background soundtrack is happy friendship tempered by student doodlers and bloggers like me.
Cafe Bassam boasts floor to ceiling window on both sides of this corner store to let the sunlight in.
There’s also a collection of rifles on the walls. Did a family member kill anyone in a war? I’ve just noticed old gumball or penny candy machines under a saddle. Also a mismatched collection of crystal decanters in a china cabinet. What a sensory feast!
Cafe Bassam is full of glass display cases housing an eclectic mixture of empty silver frames, what looks like a mink stole and several containers of what I thought were old ping pong rackets but are actually old fashioned hand mirrors. There’s an English saddle on a rack near the stacked books. It’s a decorating scheme that is both random and utterly charming. Let’s call it Early American Hodgepodge style.
Ceiling fans keep the air moving but I think I can hear an air conditioner rattling away as well. There’s a table full of loose teas for you to choose from. I tried that, but since I’m not a tea drinker the bag and Popsicle stick that holds it suspended over the cup flummoxed me. I have shifted back to coffee. Today it’s café mocha. Just a touch of whipped cream but decadent amounts of chocolate. Delish!
They take your order at the counter but serve you directly and you pay the bill when you leave. Very old school.
Outside there are bright orange market umbrellas so you can enjoy coffee with Fido. A young man in mustardy green camo slacks topped by a blue button down shirt and navy sports coat and boater shoes (with socks!) is waiting to pay. A young woman in a pumpkin sweater and black pants, her brown hair streaked with sassy purple stripes is next in line. Another lady is sitting near me. She looks like an average suburbanite until you see that her necklace is made of multi colored zipper pulls and she paired orange flats with a grey skirt. Her iPhone cover has a handle like a purse. Her friend has a bright yellow top edged in lace and an orange skirt with what looks like a brightly colored Italian village on it. I love it! And there’s me in my bright pink capris and flowered top.
I think it’s understandable why I love Café Bassam.
All photos are original and the property of Susanne Romo. If you would like to use them, please do so, but give yourself the gift of good karma and make a small donation to pretty horses rescue. This charity rehabilitates starving, abandoned horses. Every dollar helps us rescue and rehabilitate starving horses.