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I had a revelation the other day. It was almost a part II of the rare spark of brilliance aka revelation part I in December of 2011 that actually led to the 101 Challenge of 2012 (there, I’ve given it a proper name, all capitalized and fancy). Not only do I prefer to stick to the comforts of the tried and tested (and loved) restaurants and cafes (and gas stations), I don’t even venture to new towns/downtowns much, unless of course, it is in the middle of nowhere, nestled in the crook of mountain ranges or teetering on the precipice of the jagged cliffs of the pacific coast … I realized I barely knew the stretch of the peninsula between Mountain View and San Francisco: always just jetting right through on my way up or down and rarely ever exploring.

Revelation -> action. Linear, one track mind. Action-oriented, rarely taking the requisite time to think through next steps of utility or purpose (see, not goal-oriented).

So I decided to explore. And ended up in downtown San Bruno.

Who knew San Bruno *had* a downtown? Well, never underestimate a sleepy outskirt of a hip and happening metropolis such as San Francisco. A weirdly placed angled left turn off of the main artery that passes through the township led into a pandora’s box of the cutest shops lining the real “main street” equivalent in San Bruno! Granted, more than half were closed on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, but I’ll definitely have to return on a weekday night to check out the strip!

I had done my homework. I had identified (thank you, Yelp!) what I thought was the cutest cafe in town (and a backup if I guessed wrong). Name your little cafe or bakery and throw in a play on words (or an exclamation point) and watch me flock to your establishment, raving about some obscure and possibly entirely unintentionally charming aspect of your idea.

And of course red velvet latte. I’ll drive the forty minutes along a scenic, swoopy drive, just to try that red velvet latte!

Never Too Latte Cafe & Bakery is super cute. You walk in the door and there are wooden tables to the right and left, geared for the bigger groups of 4 – 6. The chairs are oversized and look comfortable, despite its construction material and the lack of an inviting cushiness. The tables are sprawling and generous, and I can definitely see books and writing pads spread out as you try to decipher the true meaning of life (or your philosophy homework)

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I also like their light fixtures. Granted, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. But it still somehow fits really well. If you turn and look back towards the door, you will see ceiling fans along the spine of the ceiling, each flanked on its side by a set of track lights. I have to wait until dark to see how that looks! To the side are low hanging and pretty ordinary fixtures with crackled surfaces to help soften the glow of the light. Ordinary or otherwise, somehow the arrangement along the side wall did catch my attention. Speakers along the side wall – pretty good music at the perfect volume. Not too low that you are straining with effort to identify exactly what cadence or rhythm you are supposed to be setting your thoughts to … and definitely not loud enough to actually be distracting to either conversation or introspective (and/or self-indulgent) me-time.

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You walk past the bakery display and wall art to be greeted by enthusiastic baristas and a bright red wall covered in 4 small chalkboards covered in colorful and not-quite-as-sprawling-as-I-like crayon descriptions of their edibles. Maybe not the most creative menu you will find (think tuna melts, caesar salads and the requisite bagels), but if you’re craving a standard sandwich, a soup or a frothy caffeinated drink with fascinating flavors of red velvet, you will not be disappointed. You’ll also see an entire board devoted to their crepes: has to be a good sign!

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I decided to start with the red velvet latte, and pace myself, since I could very well imagine myself sitting here until closing time. Oh about that. The cafe closes at 9pm. I think it also closes at 9pm on weekday nights. That is sad. If I lived in the area (which I don’t, granted), and if I were a fan of this cafe (which I have now become), I’d very much like to spend more of my weekday night hours post-dinner at this quaint and charming nook!

There are couches in the back. They look generously padded, cushily inviting, and just crumpled up enough to look well frequented and comfy. It has the makings of the perfect after-dinner camomile tea and a long drawn discussion with a buddy about the meaning of life (or the most recently failed recipe experiment). Closing at 9pm is sad.

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I’ve only had their red velvet latte up until the time this entry was written. Another new: live blog update! Can you tell I am trying to make amends for the 6 weeks of being entirely MIA?

I’m not the best person to be writing about how the latte was: not much of a coffee drinker. Was it red? Yes, if you’re willing to squint through the lid spout with a bit of imaginative liberty. Was it velvety? Yes, quite – creamy would have been my choice of description, but we can go with velvety, sure. If I close my eyes while sipping, will I be reminded of a bite into a moist red velvet cupcake with a frothy cream cheese frosting? Actually, let me sip again. Cream-cheesy in my drink would have been a little weird. So while the experience is not really reminiscent of the cupcake bite, it’s still quite pleasant!

Never Too Latte Cafe & Bakery was refreshing – just the injection of life and rejuvenation needed to emerge out of the cave of over-thinking, over-analysis and just over-much cerebration. Here’s to red velvet!

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