Giulietta Carrelli of Trouble Coffee

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giulietta carrelli of trouble coffee

As we caught tailwind of the boundless energy of Giulietta Carrelli of Trouble Coffee, she and her boyfriend were constructing pieces for a “parklet”– two reclaimed parking spots reformed into green space in front of her 2007 coffee shop and burgeoning community hub– set to open this spring.

The spot will be an extension of the 200-square-foot shop, and it will contain benches and a stand-up bar built from driftwood and a swath of native plants, grown and maintained by ocean-centric nonprofit Surfrider Foundation. One thing that won’t be there, however, is tables. “Tables and chairs are not my thing. I want to make everybody coexist and make it so you have to talk to each other. I hate separating the masses.” This eye toward quirky artistry, environmental stewardship and community involvement, paired with a bit of off-beat nutrition, is the axis on which Trouble Coffee spins.

That, and the unique house breakfast special that Carrelli has eaten daily for years: the Build Your Own Damn House, featuring a cup of coffee, a whole Thai coconut and a slab of insanely indulgent cinnamon toast. “I’m an ocean swimmer. I wanted something that would warm me up, sustain my energy and not make me crash.” Pair it all with a vitamin-C-packed “Yoko Ono”–a shot of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice–and, she notes, “If you have nothing else all day, not even a cup of water, you won’t die.” Oh, and incidentally, it’s delicious.

cinnamon toast from trouble coffee

Neighborhood Picks:
Judahlicious “These are the best organic juices and smoothies I’ve ever tasted in any city I’ve ever lived in,” and that’s saying a lot, as Carrelli has lived in nine cities. “They do great raw food there,” as well as vegan food and homemade ice cream, all from 100% organic ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible, “but it’s the longest wait of your goddam life. They do everything from scratch.”

Noriega Produce Market: While Other Avenues is the place she goes for bulk products like detergent, maple syrup and olive oil, Carrelli complains that “there’s no protein on Judah.” Options are few in the Sunset and Richmond for those seeking organic hot dogs, grass-fed beef and other sustainable meats, but this 25-year-old neighborhood veteran always delivers.

The Neighborhood Needs:
“We need an organic deli. A good one!” Carrelli notes that great to-go sandwiches are proliferating, but this is not a practical option to regularly feed a family of four. A constant supply of sliced, quality deli meats, and perhaps a few side salads to go with it, would go over well in this family-rich niche. “We don’t need another hair salon.”

The Neighborhood Hype:
We have a second vote for The Pizza Place on Noriega, which Carrelli describes as a “community pizza place that deserves more support. It’s exactly what the neighborhood needs.”

Hop MUNI for:
Rosomunde’s Burger Tuesdays– where this beer and sausage house makes once-a-week burgers for a loyal lunchtime crowd. “I hardly ever miss it.”


Illustration © 2011 Wendy MacNaughton. Photo © 2011 Stacy Ventura.