One of the things I loved most about Berkeley as a student was the café culture. There were literally three dozen cafés I could go to in Berkeley and Oakland, and I could go to any number of these shops to fit a particular mood. The standard was Caffe Strada, which being on the corner of College and Bancroft was the most convenient place to get caffeinated in the morning or between classes.
For a $10 meal of iced coffee and a fresh-baked pizza I would go south on College to Espresso Roma. Further down College Ave. was the great Cole Coffee with its poached eggs, toast, and jam, and way down College, near where College became Broadway, was Hudson Bay Cafe, which with its triangular nook and plate glass windows always seemed to me to be the edge of the world. Of course, there were a number of other cafes not on College (Free Speech Movement Cafe, owned by the same man as Caffe Strada; the International House Cafe; Nefeli; Au Coquelet; the original Peet’s Coffee on Vine Street). It’s something I miss in DC, where the only options for me are Peregrine Espresso, Big Bear (which is inconvenient as heck), SoHo (where I was once caught in the crossfire of a transvestite-lesbian catfight), Bourbon, and, thankfully, the excellent and recently-opened Filter Coffeehouse.