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Monday, March 30, 2009

Around Town: The Chill Cafe

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 1:49 PM

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It seems a new frozen yogurt shop opens somewhere in San Francisco almost every week. In that kind of environment, how do you distinguish yourself? Trang Nguyen is hoping she's found the answer at her Financial District shop The Chill Cafe (125 Kearny at Post). There's much more on tap than the standard cup or cone, starting with an inviting, airy atmosphere; shaved ice with more than 20 not-so-standard all-natural flavors; dessert crepes; a slew of specialty drinks (frozen hot chocolate, anyone?); frozen yogurt and frozen custard with nearly two dozen original toppings (see: dark-chocolate-covered gogi berries, Valrhona chocolate rice pearls); and Four Barrel coffee. Perhaps the most compelling draw is a recently introduced selection of bánh mì ($5.50), the scrumptious Vietnamese-style sandwiches from her mother's recipe, offered in three variations: ham with pâté, lemongrass chicken, and lemongrass tofu. "This is not a frozen yogurt shop," Nguyen says. "It's a place where people can come to hang out, meet friends, get work done, use the WiFi. I wanted to create exotic, intense, interesting flavors, stuff off the beaten path."

As for Nguyen's personal favorites: "I would go for the rooibos red tea frozen yogurt with raspberry, crystallized ginger, and housemade red tea syrup, and the lemongrass chicken sandwich." The Chill Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:30 p.m. For more info, call 433-1233.

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Brian Bernbaum

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