Food & Drink California dreamin' 

Timo's Cafe has good coffee and simple sandwiches, now where's the beach?

Winston Churchill once said, "All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." We won't venture to contaminate Churchill's list by adding a new favorite lunch retreat, but we've found a coffeehouse that, in tune with Churchill's views, reminds us that simplicity is great.

click to enlarge food-timo_s1_330jpg
Timo's owners Tim Guillen (from left) and Peter Calpagno put finishing touches on Martha Sandoval's to-go order. (Photo by Laura McKenzie)

Maybe it was all the natural light pouring in the floor-to-ceiling front windows and the soft jazz playing throughout the room, or perhaps it was the fruit-infused iced tea and a menu that offered so many fresh, light foods, but at Timo's Coffeehouse we felt like we were in a trouble-free, West Coast café. This atmosphere is sure to cater to the college area Timo's serves; faculty members from San Antonio College already frequent the quaint eatery.

But, students, don't go planning your next cram session there just yet. Timo's "coffeehouse" has no overstuffed sofas, (thankfully) no Starbucks "art," and no internet access. A study session there would have to include hours sitting on a wooden chair and the constant distraction of your own reflection in the mirror that covers a wall. With a full selection of coffee and espresso drinks, and even fruit smoothies, Timo's is a better place for a study break or caffeine fix.

Timo's offers breakfast - pastries, bagels, and granola - until 11 a.m. At lunch the menu opens up to include soups, salads, sandwiches, and a couple lasagnas.

The house-made sandwhiches are about what you might expect, from chicken salad to pastrami and Swiss on rye. The made-to-order sandwich list includes your choice of sliced meat (ham, roast beef, turkey, pastrami) and cheese (cheddar, Swiss, provolone) served on white, wheat, or seven-grain bread, though we recommend the croissants, which are baked on-site daily.

Timo's Coffee House
2021-1 San Pedro
733-8049
8am-10pm Mon-Fri,
4pm-10pm Sat
Price range $3-7
Major credit cards
Wheelchair accessible
We sampled the turkey and Swiss sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, and avocado layered on a toasted croissant and served with a side of pasta salad. We found it to be one of the best California-style sandwiches San Antonio offers. The pasta salad, bow-tie noodles in a cool pesto sauce, was presented over a bed of mixed greens.

We also tried the meat lasagna, which earned credit for its moderately applied marinara sauce and was served with a side salad made with fresh sliced cucumber and an assortment of greenery. Chef Peter Calpagno also bakes a popular vegetable lasagna, which, along with its meat counterpart, is the only dish on the menu that involves more than mixing a salad or stacking a sandwich.

Timo's - named for owner Timothy Guillen's Spanish nickname - has been open only since May 2, and perhaps the menu's simplicity is best summed up by Guillen, "`The food` is light, not greasy. We do great soups and salads, and the coffee's good."

By Heather Holmes


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