I finally had time to stop by the exciting new Chocolate Fish coffee shop on Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento. As familiar as I am with these guys and as much as I like their coffee, I still came away very impressed.
The employees, normally clad in T-shirts at the Chocolate Fish downtown (at Q and 3rd), look very sharp in dress shirts and vests (and some with neckties). It's a nice touch, and it makes it look like they mean business, which they definitely do.
Besides the obvious quality of the coffee -- the roasting, the execution of the espressos, cappuccinos and "flat whites" -- the most impressive thing is the decor. It's the best looking coffee shop I've ever seen, thanks to the custom work of Marc Foster, a furniture maker and craftsman you'll be learning more about soon.
Foster did the counters, fashioned out of a quarter-inch thick "rolled steel," which gives the normally cold material a warmth and softness. Foster also made the chairs, tables, shelving and the covering for the large wall behind the roaster -- rough-cut redwood pieces that give the wall a depth and texture that works so nicely with the deep grays of the steel counters.
Foster is a real talent, and his work is definitely worth checking out over a great cup of coffee.
Besides the aesthetics, the new shop has plenty of functionality. It will serve as the hub for Chocolate Fish -- the new home of the roastery, as well as a training center and office. The roaster itself, is practically sculptural in its beauty. The pastries are from Yellowbill/Magpie. And if you choose to sit outside, you look across Folsom Boulevard to East Sacramento Hardware and OneSpeed Pizza.
Congratulations to Edie and Andy Baker, and all of the employees, on the launch of the second location. For serious coffee lovers in East Sacramento, this will be a great addition to the neighborhood.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.