There's a television above the bar broadcasting Spanish music videos. The chalkboard salad menu hanging across from me boasts a selection of tapas at the bottom, and a big container of what could possibly be sangria sits on the counter. The woman behind the bar is speaking in Spanish, and I hear things like "quatro" and "vamos!" Other than that, this place seems like any other café.
Two pinball machines (one of which is in use at the moment) sit side by side next to the entrance -- there's also a video solitaire game and a bumpers game in the same corner of the place. My table is square with a clear glass top, and inside I can see actual coffee beans and a silver bag that advertises the brand of coffee. In front of my table is a hexagonal stone-topped table where a tall blonde woman sat for a long time copying sentences out of a paperback book. When an old man sat down to my right, he dropped a penny and it rolled all the way across the floor. The woman slid over to pick it up and gave it back to him. He could not have been more grateful and then left it for the waitress as part of his seven cent tip.
I can't afford to leave an extra seven cent tip for my espresso, but there is already a minimum tip built into the price. My exact change sits in a green plastic dish on top of a generic receipt that lacks any information specific to this café. Anchored under my espresso saucer is an empty sugar cube packet that shows a Punu Gabon mask from Africa. I'm pretty sure I already have that one, but I'll be keeping it just in case.
Metro: Saint Ambroise
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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