Toasty Toasts

(page 11 of 11)

Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit

Cafe Portofino

Back in the decades when Fitzgerald and Hemingway (and Mailer and Capote) wrote for Esquire magazine, the publication defined an idealized version of manliness—the Esquire gentleman was a fellow prone to the appreciation of finer things, like Havana cigars, boar-bristle shaving brushes, jazz and port wine. Port, like cigars and shaving brushes, is almost an anachronism these days, but gentlefolk in Sacramento—both male and female—can experience its refined pleasures by ducking into Karma Brew, a little jewel box of a bar facing Fremont Park in midtown, and ordering up a Cafe Portofino. Owner Anthony Sadeghi, a former London fashion photographer, starts with a basic mocha made with espresso, chocolate, vanilla and nondairy milk—ask for the exact ingredients and he winks coyly and shakes a finger, saying, “I have to have some secrets.” The drink is finished tableside when Sadeghi pours in a shot of tawny Portuguese port upon serving. The rich, plummy wine smooths the edges off of the coffee drink to create a decadent, not-too-sweet beverage that tastes like jewel tones look. Suddenly you’ll want to listen to Edith Piaf or Duke Ellington, and maybe wear an ascot or a cloche hat and start a serious conversation about Dadaism—hold the Gauloises. $8. 1530 16th St. 916-917-5555. karmabrews.comH.L.J.

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