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A slice of chocolate cake at Intermezzo Cafe, where all baking will soon be done on site.

Past DRL, at the edge of campus, the Intermezzo Cafe lies in uncharted territory for most Penn students. Surprisingly, it's barely a five minute walk from College Green.

While not quite as comfortable as some local eateries (its single banquette and stiff seating leave a little to be desired) Intermezzo offers delicious food, coffee, a full bar and free wi-fi - perfect for a study session or dinner with friends.

I visited late on a quiet Monday night when the only clientele were a few stragglers stopping by for drinks or coffee (with some appearing to opt for a combination of both).

When I peeked in mid-morning the next day, there were a few people sitting around, but I imagine Intermezzo is busiest after classes let out. Owner Mark Monaghan described his usual customers as a mix of faculty, staff and students from Penn and Drexel, with a large proportion living in the Left Bank apartments, where Intermezzo is located.

With a menu ranging from soups and salads to paninis and desserts, the menu goes beyond what Starbucks offers - not to mention that the coffee is fair trade and they use what are described as fresh, organic and natural foods. For lunch, I'd suggest the chicken pesto panini ($7) or the Intermezzo salad ($3.50) if you're looking for something lighter. Even in the dead of winter, the greens were surprisingly fresh and crisp.

Monaghan explained that the cafe is well on its way to performing all baking on-site, an excellent move if the massive slice of chocolate cake I ordered ($4.50) was any indication.

Intermezzo hosts special events each night, notably Texas Hold 'em on Tuesdays, an open mic on Wednesdays and live music on Friday evenings; they even have a MySpace calendar with upcoming shows.

While unheard of by most Penn students I spoke with, the Intermezzo Café is a good choice for those looking for a comfortable place to study, a quick meal (breakfast is served until 5 p.m.) or cheap drinks away from the typical Penn bar scene.

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