Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pappalecco and the Barter System

One of my favorite things about living in Hillcrest in San Diego is the proximity to great restaurants. I have lived here almost two years and I still haven't tried them all. One of my top five places to take hungry friends is Pappalecco, a little Italian coffee and gelato joint owned and operated by two extremely friendly Francescos.
 My Delicious Caprese Salad

Lets run down the top five reasons why I love this coffee shop:

  1. Proximity to my apartment. Pappalecco is practically my neighbor. I jump out of bed, get ready for my day and head there for lunch or a quick coffee. Done, and done.
  2. is privately owned by two wonderful Italian men who greet you with an enthusiastic "Ciao!" as you enter, there are several silenced flat screens playing various different Italian cinema, arts, travel, and often (and my favorite) Roman Holiday with the lovely Audrey Hepburn.  Today's music selection is crooner themed, and not so loud you can't have a decent conversation. You can sit and play piano (please no chopsticks) or have an intimate snuggle on the loveseat. 
  3. The Francesco's know the regular's names and drinks and they love to chat. Francesco Bucci will invite you to discover Italy with his family travel company Pappalecco Travel. Each time I walk in I'm greeted with "Ciao Sandrina!" and Franceschino ("ino" added because he's the younger Francesco) will ask if I want my usual double shot on ice. Yes, yes I do!
  4. FOOD! The menu is small, a good thing for the indecisive, and everything I've tried so far has been delicious. My current favorite is the Caprese Salad (I'm eating it now!) The pizza and panini are fantastic too. 
  5. I love meeting people here. The food and drinks are affordable and the accessible outlets and free wifi make it a great place to work and play. With a packed, unaffectionate corporate coffee place right down the street offering prepackaged panini that cost pretty much the same, I'll keep bringing friends and associates to eat, chat, work and play at Pappalecco, a few of them have even come back on their own.
My friend Sydney and I were working on a barter project recently and I took her to Pappalecco to go over our projects. We sat at the last table available during a busy lunch hour while we used the free wifi to go over the website she was designing for me as well as the custom jewelry I would be paying for her talents with. We ate lunch, drank coffee, made notes and chatted with the Francesco's. It was such a good time she almost forgot about her meter. I chuckled to myself as I realized this has happened almost every time I have taken someone here for lunch, yikes!

I suppose this is a good time to mention the launch of my website! So far it's been my little secret. Sydney captured exactly what I wished to accomplish with the design. My site needed to be an interactive portfolio with tons of pictures to show potential clients my aesthetic and capabilities as an artist doing custom work., now live, is every bit of fabulous I was hoping for. In return for her talents I created two custom necklaces for Sydney. She gave me complete artistic freedom (love it!) and I attempted to capture her personality and style in jewelry. Sydney is classic and lovely, feminine and silly. She told me she wears the same few pieces and really wanted something bold that still worked with her aesthetic. Fortunately, the Gem Faire was in town and I found some great stones to incorporate in the designs.

Here is what I created for Sydney. The first is a druzy set in sterling silver and the second is a fossilized coral stone set in sterling silver with copper wire "sewn" around it and brass chain draping the pendant.
Druzy and Sterling Silver

Fossilized Coral and Sterling Silver, Copper and Brass
Right after our trade was complete Sydney moved to Germany to have some adventures with her family. She can still be reached via her website if you're in need of a website and don't mind working with her through email.  Pappalecco Hillcrest is located at 3650 5th Ave and in Little Italy at 1602 State St. They just celebrated one year in Hillcrest and recently began serving Italian wines. Godetevi!

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