The café is on a historic, pedestrian-only street, and I stopped here thinking the "croque chèvre-salade" might be vegetarian, but I guess all croques have that slice of ham in them. I ate it anyway because there's no point wasting food that you've already ordered. I just won't order it again. It came with a salad with bean sprouts on top and just the right amount of traditional French café salad dressing, so that I had some to sop up with the rather plain sandwich (though the chèvre was good, but it's probably hard to mess up chèvre).
The table is square with a black, textured surface sprinkled with poorly printed pink checkerboard squares, but the resulting board is only six by six, and I don't know any games like that. The tabletop has a silver edge to it as well. My water came in a Coke/Diet Coke glass that features strange violet and green-outlined people dancing around it as if the glass surface was some sort of magical two-dimensional discoteque for the artistically impaired. My espresso came with a star-studded purple tube of sugar that is so worn out and old it looks as though it has been passed down from generation to generation, or else got washed with someone's laundry by accident.
There was a woman sitting at the table next to me (where a couple of Germans are sitting now) who was chain smoking, ashing on the ground and exhaling in such a way as to allow the slight breeze to carry the smoke over to me so that we could both enjoy the experience.
It's a beautiful day. All the outside tables are filled but I feel no pressure to give up mine. Earlier, a little boy parked his tricycle in front so he and his mother could get something to drink before continuing on down the street.
Metro: Les Halles
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Price of a croque chèvre-salade: 6.40 euros
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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