L'Oustalet

October 10, 2002 - 10:30 p.m.

I was a little worried everything would be closed in this neighborhood at this time of night, but here I am, in a brightly-lit place, an animated group talking and laughing at the other end of the room, and Tom Jones singing "My, my, my Delilah" on the Nostalgie radio station. Violent song.

I'm at a table big enough for four. The Schweppes ashtray is yellow and pink, as if it were strawberry-banana flavored. The sugar cubes for my espresso came in a packet with a picture of a red pelican on it. The packet is a veritable Rosettea Stone with its red lettering: Roode Pelikaan/Pelican Rouge, Koffie/Cafe, and Suiker/Sucre/Sugar/Zucker.

The chairs here are wood with wicker seats. The design on the tabletop is a crisscross of little brown scorch spots surrounded by faux woodgrain swirls. A short strand of hyperactive yellow Christmas lights winds across the wall behind the bar. In the middle of the ceiling a simple fan turns semi-slowly, like the propeller of a small plane that is still in the process of warming up.

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L'Oustalet
Metro: Porte d'Italie

Price of an espresso: 1.30 euros
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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