Saturday, December 27, 2008


Being a true aficionado of locally-owned coffee shops I just had to stop in this small cafe while recently strolling down Charles Street in search of unusual Christmas finds. No matter where in the world I am I always make it a point to visit the local coffee shops. It's the most interesting place to meet the locals. And Vanille is located on a really perfect stretch of preserved Old Boston, filled with tiny shops and refreshingly free of franchises and mall stores. In my favorite style of European coffee shops, Vanille offers fresh pastries made daily by two ex-pat French bakers, fresh sandwiches, salads and coffee drinks.

A perfect cappuccino and fresh pastry at Vanille.

The marble tables (about ten) have heavy, black wrought iron pedestals and the chairs are wooden. No plastic here. The large windows look onto Charles Street for great people-watching, an important factor for coffee shop types such as me. It's bright and airy with muted gray walls and a tiled floor and seems to be enjoyed by at least a few locals lingering over coffee and the New York Times.

The coffee was great, fresh brewed and hot with a perfect foam on our single shot cappuccino. The morning danish pastry was fresh and filled with a rich, sweet cream cheese. Overall, a very nice spot in a great location perfect for that post Esplanade stroll snack or a few hours on a snowy afternoon in the City when you can break the tether to that Internet connection. No free wifi here which was actually quite refreshing.

Continuing our stroll we noticed something quite unusual about those Back Bay holiday decorations. Upon closer inspection we discovered that the holly adorning the lamp posts were actual holly, an anomaly in this modern world. Yet another touch of class.

No plastic imitation in the Back Bay, only real holly is used to adorn the gas lamp streetlights.

Cafe Vanille
70 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02108

1 comment:

  1. That pastry looks wonderful!

    I love the thought of the holly on the gas powered streetlights. It looks like a lovely area to live.