Thursday, November 5, 2009


This morning I made my weekly trek over to my favorite coffee shop.  I don't go there for the coffee since I don't really like the coffee here in Australia.  I have turned into a tea drinker and only drink coffee twice a week: once when I make my weekly trip down to my favorite place, and when I go out with a group of friends after Yoga.  You may wonder why I go to the Broadway Kiosk if I don't like their coffee.  Well, it is one of the only cafes in Glenelg that is on the water.  It is the perfect place for storm watching, and today was a perfect day for storm watching.  As I watched the squalls race across the water, I reflected on AbodeOneThree's blog "The age of caffeinated enlightenment." which took me back to my cafe days in Spain.
In Utrera, my trip to the cafe was not a weekly event, but an integral part of my daily routine.  With literally hundreds of cafe bars in town, I was not limited to one favorite place. I had several that I loved, and each one had it's own special "toque".
The dark smokey bar, El Bosque, was conveniently located right across the street from our flat.  Since it was right smack in the middle of town, it was where the local businessmen stopped for their morning kick start.  It was also a favorite hangout for a group of local gitanos (gypsies)  who played the guitar for a living.  Often,  they stumbled in, after a long night of hard work, and boisterously described the previous night's events.  I loved sitting and listening in on their stories.  After all, this was the only way that, as an outsider, I was able to experience the clandestine scenarios that the guitaristas were describing.
Located on another centrally located Plaza was the Mercantil, a modern place owned by two brothers.  Here I never had to place an order; when I walked up they would just give me a nod, and my cortado would soon be ready.  During the warmer months of the year, the well shaded outdoor seating area was one of my favorite places to have coffee.
Across the way was the dive, Esmeralda, a very small cafe run by a husband an wife.  Neither, was able to multi-task and each coffee was made one at a time.  You were often required to bus the table if you wanted to sit down, but I preferred to belly up to the bar at this establishment.  It provided the best place to view the slow movements of the proprietors, and my presence served as a reminder that I was still waiting for my coffee.
Then there was the Ibanez, the only place in town where I could get a pastry.  Mmmmm, my weekly Friday morning treat was a flakey butter pastry filled with dark oozing chocolate.   I must have really loved my tasty treat since the Ibenez  was located right across from the local school, and all the ankle-biters and their  mother's also patronized this place.  Never mind that Spain has a law prohibiting smoking when children are present, the mothers smoked and  squawked. I may not miss the chaos and smokey haze but, oh, how I miss those Napolitanas de Chocolate.

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