Sunday, a shade after noon. I wake up groggily. After one too many beers the night before - I attended my colleague Randy Roberts' going-away party, after all - my foggy brain can only focus on consuming two things: La Dolce Via's bottomless cup of coffee and its seasonal delicacy, berries and cream.
I reach the bakery and order the above, along with a savory scone. The plump, juicy berries arrive and begin to soothe my looming hangover; the perfectly cooked egg and buttery bread of the scone further dissipates my dull headache. And after three or four cups of coffee (the glass is small, OK?), I'm starting to feel great.
I linger over my java as a sudden summer shower erupts. There's a hand-written note on a jar atop the bakery case: "Marcia's surgery fund." I ask what that's about.
According to the clerk I spoke with, La Dolce Via owner Marcia Sindel recently had surgery for herniated discs in her back -- and, dedicated owner that she is, was back at the bakery/restaurant nearly right away. (They wouldn't let her work.) She still needs surgery for other ailments, however: benign nodes on her vocal cords, and on the muscles/tendons in her forearm, due to repetitive motion injuries.
Besides having some of the best food and atmosphere in the city, Sindel and her crew are some of the nicest, most hospitable people around. Head over to 4474 Arco Avenue and throw a few bucks into the jar for Marcia - and while you're there, buy a brownie and some coffee. Just make sure to leave some berries for me.