I can get pretty darn particular about my pumpkin-spice lattés, especially now that the weather's changing and I'll be ordering more of 'em. In a thinly veiled attempt at simple assault, some of these places heat them to 160 degrees, which is more than two-thirds of the way to the boiling point. I only want something to warm me, not gut my nose. If I need to scald the roof of my mouth, I'll swig some kerosene and light a match. I'll be left with no sense of variation in temperature, but at least that'd ward off the chill, and that's the whole point.
But just ask the nice lady at Mission Hills' Espresso Mio to tone it down to 130, and she'll gladly oblige. She'll then suggest a selection from the pastries menu to go with your latté—and for a plain ol' cozy neighborhood coffee shop, the muffins and scones here beat the snot out of third-degree burns. The cranberry muffin (I had two) is as flaky as it is dense, and it's all the more satisfying if you take it out back (there's a tiny balcony overlooking the same canyon the nearby mansion owners enjoy, so you feel like a high roller even though you're obviously not). Breakfast sandwiches, salads and other entries are available for no more than $5.75 each, and the service is as palatable as the food.
The other thing about Espresso Mio is that it's rustic, settled and quiet as several small mice—it's at 1920 Fort Stockton Drive, one of the neighborhood's roads less traveled. And you have plenty of time to enjoy your solitude, as the venue is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The number's 619-296-3037, but I wouldn't suggest you call it. If you do, you'll disturb the peace the owners have worked so hard to achieve. Thinly veiled attempts at simple assault, after all, go both ways.