Nob Hill cafe sets itself apart with a farm-town feel..
Blue Bottle is quickly becoming the Chez Panisse of the local coffee scene, where every former employee (and their own new biz) gets tons of buzz on association alone. This teensy Nob Hill spot may be helmed by BB alumni, but it's the quaint, rustic details--seating at just one square communal table, some of the friendliest service around--that make this a destination worth visiting, not just the well-crafted espresso drinks. The shoebox-sized cafe is a lesson in efficient usage of space: shelves are lined with jars of goodies like house-made scones and salted caramels, a chalkboard lists the daily offerings like toast and bread pudding, back-stock is stacked to the ceilings so as to squeeze everything in. And rather than jumping into the already heady coffee wars, owners here are leaving the Blue Bottle to the experts--and instead serving a local newcomer, Verve Coffee of Santa Cruz.