|Approaching this North Beach caf�, you wouldn't think it would be much different from the others nearby - but you'd be wrong. The espresso here is a real standout in the neighborhood, coinciding with the ownership change in late 2008 to Alex and Jessie. This corner caf� has red-and-white-striped awnings (complete with icicle lights), sidewalk tables, and many mirrors inside a small space with a few dark tables. The clientele here are generally quiet and studious. Using an organic Ecco Caff� espresso blend and a new three-group Nuova Simonelli, they pull pretty shots with mottled dark brown crema with reddish flecks. Ordering a few shots here, the consistency wasn't perfect (the crema on some was lighter) - but it looks serious and has a good consistency, thickness, and persistence. A shot close to our hearts, it has a thick, almost syrupy body: potent, dense. Flavorwise, it is well-balanced (a true espresso blend), smooth, shows pungent strength, and finishes with a sweeter edge. A very pleasant surprise, and one of the finest espresso examples in town.