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REVIEW: Cafe Contigo, Anaheim

I debated titling this small review of a coffeehouse in downtown Anaheim "Porto's in OC", but decided against it because it would come up in the wrong searches.

Yesterday, I wanted out, and I wanted coffee, and I passed it and thought, "I should try that!" Except, of course, it was Thanksgiving and the only things open for coffee were Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Fourbucks -- so I went to the Fourbucks next to the gas station at Ball and Harbor.

Then this morning, I went to Cafe Contigo.

Cafe Contigo is a new Cuban coffeeshop in the corner of an old historic building next to a carwash near the corner of Anaheim Boulevard and Broadway. It opened about two weeks ago with little fanfare, but it should get some soon -- the coffee is fantastic. I have this theory that the Americans spawned the $4 coffee revolution but the Cubans have been quietly making the best coffee for 300 years or so.

And so I ordered a cafe con leche (which is essentially a caffe latte, but slightly sweetened with raw molasses, and no bloody foam, which is just fine with me) and a "refugiado" (you know this as a guava-cheese pastry). On a plate next to the register are free pastries for dunking into your coffee (think biscotti but better-tasting and not nearly as hard).

The coffee was just perfect -- still a little bitter but not the unpalatable alum feeling of completely unsweetened coffee -- and when I dunked one of the "dry" pastries into the coffee, it sweetened it just enough to make it perfect.

The refugiado, though, seemed AWFULLY familiar -- and so I pulled over the barista and said, "So do you make your pastries in-house, or buy them in?"

"Well, some we make in-house, and all the sandwiches, but a lot of the pastries we buy from this bakery in Glend..."

"A-HA! I *knew* this was a Porto's pastry!"

"You know about Porto's?! You're like the third person to have that reaction!!"

So, yes -- the guava and guava-cheese pastries are from Porto's. They buy them frozen from the warehouse in Irwindale and then bake and glaze them in-house. They don't suffer from being frozen -- in fact this is how the bakeries themselves get the pastries, they're almost all made in the warehouse.

So there you go -- Porto's in OC.

Cafe Contigo
327 S. Anaheim Blvd. #A
Anaheim, CA

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    1. Great review, thanks for the info !

      1. Nice post. The owners, Linda and Petros, are two of the nicest people you could ever possibly meet and I hope that they do well in the area. It's undergoing a turnaround and soon they should have a lot of buzz and a lot traffic. Stake your claim now while it's still a little quieter.

        1. Thanks for the tip 'DU'. Will have to give this one a try, sounds great. We're almost around the corner from it (vacinity of Ball & Walnut). Maybe tommarow. Will get back with a comment.

          1. Okay based on your review, I visited at lunch today, it was very good !

            Had a double Curtido and a Pastel Queso (which I asked and they confirmed, was from Porto's :-)

            Very, very good and nice atmosphere - all this place is lacking is more patrons, which I hope changes very soon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mikester

              BTW, I wonder what their sandwiches are like ? Oh well, next time...

            2. Thanks for the tip. Love Porto's guava pastry but never have another occasion to visit Glendale thus far, plus Porto's such a zoo.

              Do they have cuban sandwiches too?

              3 Replies
              1. re: notmartha

                They do, but eat at your own risk, I haven't sampled them (and right now with the way my stomach feels, I don't even want to THINK about them).

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Thanks! At the pace I am going through my 'to-try' list I have no doubt someone would have sampled and report back long before I get down there.

                  1. re: notmartha

                    Possibly -- they haven't been open very long, but the next chance I get I'll stop in and try one.

              2. Went there this morning and was quite impressed. We felt very welcomed by two very friendly smiling attentive empolyees. We too ordered a couple of grande cafe con leches and tried the pastel de guayba and a pastel con queso. Both the coffee and the pastries were excellent. Great rustic ambience that makes you feel very comfortable. We were told that yes they do make (their) sandwiches and soups on the premises. We plan on going back and giving those a try very soon. As another here said the only thing lacking is more satisfied customers. But I don't think that will be a problem in the future should the loft style apartments that have been built and are being built and are planned for in the future across the street get filled up. All in all, highly recommended.

                Cafe Contigo
                (address above courtesy of das ubergeek)
                Tel. 714-780-0242
                Hrs. Mon. - Sat. 6 am - 10 pm
                Sun. 7 am - 8 pm
                Accepts Visa & Mastercard

                1. Went back again yesterday and had the best 'blended' coffee drink I've ever had. Much better than any I've had at Starbucks. It was their Dulce de Leche Frio (Grande). More creamy and rich than Starbucks 'blends' and made with, I think, something called 'caramelized milk'. Oh, the flavor this imparted to this blended drink. Can't wait to try some of their other blended drinks. And the Grande was only $3.90!

                  We've found our 'new' coffee house here at 'home'. Sorry Starbucks, but you won't be seeing us anymore. Only when we travel and thus Cafe Contigo is not avaialble.

                  1. I had the medianoche sandwich today -- it was very, very tasty. My cafe cubano was a little odd, because there were problems with the machine, but still tasty.

                    I did notice that my review and crt's reply, as well as a quote from someone on another food-related site that starts with 'Y', were quoted in their advertising in the OC Weekly, pinned up on their board. Does that make us all published authors?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Thanks for the report. Yes, guess that's true. One thing to be published, another thing to get paid for it.

                    2. For those who have not yet visited Cafe Contigo and may be wondering how it looks, I have uploaded some digital pictures in PLACES. To view, click on PLACES. Click on Los Angeles Area. Type Cafe Contigo in FIND A PLACE. Click on pics to enlarge.

                      1. I had never been to Cafe Contigos before and one of my clients suggested we meet there for a business lunch; what a pleasant surprise!

                        The Hummus Avocado Veggie sandwich is a must try! The combination of avocado, tomatoes, onions and cheese is doused with the best vinaigrette dressing I've ever had! My client had the Carne Pepperoncini and said that's what he keeps coming back for.

                        The Yeba Mate Chai was excellent; I will definitely be a repeat customer!

                        1. I was more than excited when I saw this thread and realised it is located just around the corner from where my daughter does ballet. So off we went this morning and had a fabulous latte and one of those guava cheese pastries. The service was so friendly! Next week we'll be back for lunch to try those sandwiches.

                          If you live/work/happen to be in the vicinity, give it a try. It's located on Anaheim and Broadway, tucked beside a car wash and Quinzos.

                          1. We went to Cafe Contigo for lunch today and it was excellent. We had the Media Noche sandwiches (very tasty) and the guava/cheese pastry (also tasty). For drinks, one of us the Iced Sweet Mate and the other had Mocha Mexico (made with Mexican chocolate).

                            It was a delightful place. Warm colors, nice furnishings, soft music, and a very polite young man in a Cuban hat behind the counter. It's obvious that the owner takes a great deal of pride in his business.

                            This gem is what keeps me coming back to chowhound.com for recommendations.

                            1. Friends, I have some very sad news - CONTIGO IS CLOSING this sunday for good. I just moved to Anaheim to the new lofts on broadway/lemon street. Let me tell you, when I was looking for a place to live in "upscale" portions of Anaheim, Contigo was one of the little factors that made me want to live here. An exotic oasis among so many mediocre shops. Contigo will be missed.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sandwalker

                                I went by Cafe Contigo yesterday and found it was closed. It was such a sweet place, indeed an exotic oasis. I'll miss it too.