Off The Menu: At Casa de La Creme Coffee Bar, It’s the Atmosphere and Great Coffee

Off The Menu: At Casa de La Creme Coffee Bar, It’s the Atmosphere and Great Coffee

By Raul N.

Last week, hotly anticipated Casa de la Crème — the new face of La Crème Monterey catering company — made its debut in Pacific Grove.

Last Wednesday, La Crème Monterey hosted a popup dinner served to rave reviews. (Sadly, I was unable to attend due to prior commitments.) On Thursday, they took the wraps off Crema Espresso and Wine Bar.

Tucked away on the ground floor of Casa de la Crème, this intimate coffee bar has quickly become the go-to stop for my morning coffee fix.

Coffee service comes courtesy of Katie Minafo, formerly of Lighthouse Coffee Company.

Many Pagrovians were crushed when Lighthouse Coffee Company shuttered its doors earlier this year. Katie and her crew had cultivated a fiercely loyal following — and it’s comforting to see many familiar faces following her to Crema Espresso and Wine Bar.

As before, Katie is sourcing a proprietary blend of beans from Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company. All the beans are organic, yet the prices remain competitive and actually pretty reasonable.

Drinks are available in two sizes — 12 ounces with two shots of espresso or 16 ounces with three shots.

The menu highlights the coffee classics, but don’t worry, Katie’s signature Fogbreaker with cinnamon and honey from Lighthouse Coffee Company is on the menu at Crema, too.

The Fogbreaker (12 oz. for $4.25, 16 oz. for $4.75) is a little sweet for my taste — my go-to order has been the cold-brew iced coffee (12 oz. for $2.50, 16 oz. for $2.75).

The flavor was bold, but not overwhelmingly so — I appreciated the rich depth of flavor. It was smooth and didn’t need a drop of cream. It was the perfect way to cool down when the temperatures soared up earlier this week.

Look for a selection of pastries — including croissants and muffins — to pair with your coffee. And if you’re in the mood for a savory bite instead, you’ll find quiche from Pacific Grove’s Patisserie Bechler.

With the opening of Crema Espresso and Wine Bar, Pacific Grove is now home to seven coffee shops — five alone along Lighthouse Avenue. But Crema has the competition beat when it comes to atmosphere.

With its comfortable chairs and bright, vibrant feel, the upstairs lounge — nicknamed the Peacock Room — is the perfect spot for relaxing with a cup of coffee or hunkering down to get some work done courtesy of complimentary wi-fi.

Coffee service is just the start of bigger plans for Casa de la Crème. The charming Victorian has three dining rooms poised to host special events, for one.

But my curiosity’s been piqued by the promise of a wine and tapas in the coming weeks. In November, enjoy sips of wine and bites of tasty tapas — courtesy of chef Jon Moser — after coffee service signs off for the day.

Crema Espresso and Wine Bar is at 481 Lighthouse Ave. in Pacific Grove. 375-1300.