Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Street Level Espresso

Address: 714 Fort St.
Phone: (250) 361-9927
Website: http://www.streetlevelespresso.com/
Price: $3.50 on the africano standard
Notes: Super-personable service and damn fine Discovery Coffee

Street Level Espresso

My coworker introduced me to Street Level - I had walked past half a dozen times, but most often on my downtown Sunday wanders when they aren't open (as the website says "we're open most days. Sundays... are you kidding?"). The place is tiny - there's probably as much space behind the bar as there is actually seating area, but on lovely summer days and not quite as lovely winter days (this is Victoria after all) his tables spill out onto the sidewalk. The decor is art and old cameras with a wall-mounted vinyl record player.

Mr. Ken Gordon is the owner and primary staff person at this fine establishment, and is one of those fantastic people who fills up his store with regular that he banters with and entertains. He is a generally well connected person, if you want to know someone who knows everyone it's worth becoming a regular at Street Level. I've not only heard this from several people, but I've witnessed it myself just by the sheer number of people he knows when they visit.

The chalk-board sign behind the counter has a nice selection of coffee and non-coffee beverages. He has "fuzzy" water on tap to help cleanse your palate before your coffee is served and somehow this feels completely unpretentious. Probably because it's fuzzy and not fizzy. There are no serving sizes - which works really well since quite a lot of his business is to stay. There are also "no substitutions" but I'm not really sure what a coffee substitution looks like.

Buy a deck of Taste Locally deals & receive a free 8oz kids beverage and 2 for 1 adult beverage (latte, tea or coffee) of equal or lesser value at Street Level! 

Find out more about supporting local restaurants, wineries & cafes in Victoria and becoming a local hero at www.tastelocally.com.

* Expires October 1st 2015

August 30, 2011
I walked in and was immediately greeted by Mr. Ken Gordon (somehow he gets called by that whole thing in my head... every time). I'm not sure if he's super-duper friendly to all his customers or vaguely recognizes me from visiting a few times or from when he used to come into my work ages ago. He was a very gracious host, and discouraged me from hovering at the counter waiting to pay - "we can do that money thing after..." he said. Makes so much sense! 

August 30, 2011
A damn solid macchiato! I love the little cup, very pretty while simultaneously nerdy (the plate says "Sir Isaac Newton LOMOgraphing falling apples"). Mr. Ken Gordon has very fantastic barista skills and a noticeable commitment to quality and consistency.

Blueberry Donut
After a hot tip from a twitter follower it was really the donut that suckered me in. I asked Mr. Ken Gordon where they are made (well no, I asked if they were made here except I didn't really mean 'here' because there is obviously no kitchen). The answer is that he special-orders them in from a friend. This is a dense donut with a gentle, not-too sweet pocket of blueberry goodness in the middle! They're pretty epic, I have to say! My only suggestion would maybe they could be a touch smaller - if only to hit that perfect balance between cost and fullness you want regularly on your coffee break. Edited to add: it seems like these donuts are no longer available. SAD FACE.