Afternoon snack

Illustration By Mark Stivers

A new independent coffeehouse is always welcome—especially if it is within walking distance from my house, friendly, mod and well-stocked with luscious cupcakes for the occasional afternoon when a working mother needs a treat. Grind on J, which opened at the far end of the Midtown stretch of J Street a few months ago, answers all of these criteria and more. The cafe’s coffee comes from Flying Goat, an independent roaster in Healdsburg. “We try to stay true to the Italian way of pulling a shot,” said owner Richard Mendoza. Grind on J also has panino-style and deli sandwiches, salads and baked goods from Philipp’s Bakery. Plus, it’s accommodating: It didn’t have decaf iced coffee, but the guy behind the counter thought for a second and offered a decaf Americano, which was perfect, full of crushed ice and slightly bitter. My daughter, meanwhile, sipped water from a child-sized paper espresso cup—a sight cute enough to return me, refreshed, to my daily grind. 2728 J Street, (916) 444-7177.