Feeling peckish at 6 a.m.? Well, the early bird and even the late birds can catch the worm at Fitzgerald Coffee, now serving breakfast morning, noon and night. This small, European-style café is a welcome new addition to Plaza Itskatzú in the western San José suburb of Escazú. It has a distinctive atmosphere and menu of its own, and does not profess to compete with the neighboring restaurants serving a wide variety of international cuisine.
A utopia for coffee lovers, Fitzgerald Coffee offers its own blend of Costa Rican, Brazilian and arabica beans, which gives this exclusive brew an excellent flavor. The café offers an enormous selection of different coffee drinks, ranging from the old familiar cappuccino, espresso, café latte, mocha and Irish coffee to the most exotic concoctions imaginable, laced with liqueurs, flavored syrups, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Many are topped with “weep cream” – for those not acquainted with weep cream, let me assure you it won’t bring tears to your eyes, except with laughter, as you conclude it must be good old-fashioned whipped cream, misspelled.
Among the 36 choices of coffees, one lone tea latte – black tea with milk and hazelnut syrup – didn’t sound like my cup of tea at all.
However, for traditional tea drinkers and non-caffeine addicts, alternatives include fruit shakes and sodas.
The coffee theme is visible in the color scheme of the decor and menu. Dark brown and café au lait are the predominant tones everywhere, including the furnishings.
Comfy sofas and armchairs are arranged around coffee tables, offering an inviting place to relax while you enjoy your morning coffee, read the paper and make use of the wireless Internet available. If you are not into lounging, tables for two are available both inside and out.
Two of us dropped in for a noonday bite, and while we sipped our excellent coffee and fruit shake, we perused the menu’s all-day breakfast items: eggs prepared in a multitude of ways, pancakes, bagels, hash browns, sandwiches and wraps, with many choices of fillings and toppings to suit all kinds of tastes. For the diet-conscious, fresh fruit, natural yogurt and salads are also on hand.
My companion decided to try the quail’s eggs in a herb sauce. These had been highly recommended by a previous customer, but, sad to say, the quails had not been laying, so no tiny eggs that day. We opted to share the Fitzgerald toast, with Montino cheese, cherry tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts, dressed with olive oil.We were shocked when it arrived on whole-wheat Bimbo bread. With all the wonderful breads available, surely they could do better than that.
We also shared a Fitz Salmon, a generous portion of delicious smoked salmon served on a slice of fresh pineapple, which proved to be a strange but interesting combination.
Our request to share was granted graciously, and the dish came attractively served on separate plates, something I always appreciate.
The young waiter, obviously a rookie, was very polite and attentive, and you couldn’t fault him for trying. However, he made us nervous by loitering at a distance and watching every bite we took with a big smile on his face. He was so keen that he even tried to whisk away my plate before I had finished my last mouthful of salmon. On the other hand, the experienced headwaiter Luis Madrigal is charming, knowledgeable, speaks good English and is guaranteed to give you excellent service.
Of the pastries on display we tried a caramel flan that was quite acceptable, as well as the key lime pie. I doubt it was made with key limes, and the crust was of the graham cracker variety, but it was deliciously tart and enjoyable.
Menu prices include tax and service, though this is not stated on the menu. Coffees range from just over $1 for regular brews to $6 for the exotic, laced with liqueurs. Breakfast, sandwiches, wraps, deli items, toasts and salads start at $1.50, and the priciest item on the menu is the Fitzgerald Club at $13. None of the desserts costs more than $3.
Fitzgerald Coffee welcomes group meetings and expects to have a liquor license within the next few weeks. At this time, they plan to add new items to the menu, such as cheese plates to complement the wines.
The café, located in Plaza Itskatzú across from Multiplaza mall in Escazú, is open every day from 6 a.m to 10 p.m. For information, call 288-1633.