Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Day 8, Observing a café and death to adverbs (not quite)

She stepped inside, uncertain. That café has caught her eye in the past week, but it was too rushed, too quick. Now, she’s alone, with no appointments to fulfil.

There were people ordering their morning coffee, and she stood for a moment, observing. The price was listed, and though most of the menu is in German, she understood familiar words—espresso, kaffe latte, cappuccino…

There were pastries as well, most of which, unpronounceable. But by the look and smell of it, delectable. It was too good to pass up.

She approached the bar and the nice lady greeted her in German. She smiled and said “hello.” It signalled that she doesn’t speak the local language. As the coffee lady doesn’t speak much English, she tried to communicate “What do you want?”

“Kaffe Latte.”

“Kaffe Latte?”

“Yes,” and then pointed to a particular pastry that she wanted to try.

The coffee lady gestured for one and then nodded.

The next hurdle was for here or to take away. The coffee lady pointed to a chair then to a door, asking the question. She responded by pointing to a chair. They smiled at each other, exhausted.

Numbers are next. Hand signals once again sufficed.

Finally, sitting down, she fully took the café/bakery in. The drinks menu are handwritten in chalk behind the counter, popular Italian drinks were understandable, the rest were not. She can only wonder.

She then observed the different breads and pastries, some she’ll get to try in the days to come. This will be her breakfast place. The coffee lady will grow accustomed to her.

The smell was wonderful. The entire place, tiny as it was, was infused with the smell of fresh coffee and buttery pastries. The coffee was strong and nice, the pastry flakey and soft. It was a good beginning.

People came and went, signalled by the jingling of the bell by the door. The café was right by the U-Bahn. She assumed that they were about to start their day, just like her.

Roughly a month after, spring will begin and they will have one table outside. But for that moment, its cold and snowy. She brought her dishes back to the bar, as she heard was the polite thing to do, smiled and said “Thank you.”

The bell jingled as she stepped out into the snow.

====================

She walked inside a bar, confident. It was a sea of black coats, crowding the bar. It was a minuscule place. The temperature is picking up but the wind is still cold.

She squeezed her way to the bar, near the barista, determined to be heard.

The smell was intoxicating. Bitter black coffee was wafting through the air. Fresh hot pastries were making their way from the kitchen into the counter, right in front of her.

“Cappucino,” she said.

There was no menu, no way to know the price. But with all the locals, speaking and ordering in Italian, swarming the bar, quickly drinking their coffee and eating their pastry, she assumed its a local hub and wouldn’t be expensive.

He told her the price she needed to pay, and she asked “How much?” in English. He smiled and realised she was not from around there.

Standing up in the bar, drinking her breakfast cappuccino, she couldn’t stop herself from pointing at the cannoli.

“Crema o cioccolato?”

She thought for a second and said “Crema.”

It was heaven. The warm, light, sweet cream oozes out of the light and crispy pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar. She ate it in seconds, gratified.

She pointed at the cannoli again, saying “Cioccolato?”

The barista laughed and gave her a chocolate cannoli. Again, heaven. The rich chocolate oozes out as well, out of the same flaky pastry. She gauged which is better of the two.

The hot, fresh pastry smell continued to waft through the air, combined with the strong, fresh ground coffee. Invigorating.

She knew she should go. She should step out and catch vaporetto to start the day’s adventure.

Yet, she stayed, and pointed at the cannoli again, saying “Crema.”

The barista simply gave a hearty laugh and she laughed with him. “Prego,” he said.

She bit one last time into paradise, thinking she may never have the like of it again. This is how breakfasts should be. Always.

She caught the bartender’s eye and greeted him, “Grazie.”

He once again laughed and said, “Prego.”

She stepped out of the tiny bar, into the cobbled streets, to catch a vaporetto. She’s still smiling.

====================

The prompt said we should go out to a café and observe, but I don’t have the time to do that today. Instead, I wrote from my memory. I tried remembering my café adventures, in the perspective of another person observing me. I hope it worked. I also don’t know if I’ve completely eliminated the adverbs here.

6 comments on “Day 8, Observing a café and death to adverbs (not quite)

  1. the_everending
    April 15, 2015

    (Found on the writing commons). You’ve created a really beautiful scene here. I don’t even like pastries that much, and I can smell the shops you have described. Great use of interspersed dialogue too.

    • Portia Placino
      April 15, 2015

      Thank you. Those scenes are still alive in my mind, even the smells and tastes. Whenever I travel, I make sure I visit cafés. Reading today’s prompt, I just had to write these stories, even if its not exactly what they’re asking us to do. 🙂

  2. Christoph_Orr
    April 15, 2015

    It was a transportive read. You really nailed the ‘show don’t tell’ aspect of the description of the cafe.

    • Portia Placino
      April 15, 2015

      Thanks Christoph. At least I nailed something, yay! 🙂 The prompts are very motivating but sometimes, I can’t help but do my own thing. 🙂

  3. angharadeyre
    April 15, 2015

    Wonderful! So evocative and I loved the humor in the Italian scene.

    • Portia Placino
      April 15, 2015

      Thank you. It was really funny. I couldn’t stop eating those cannolis! And they were really laughing at me, in a good way. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on April 15, 2015 by in Portia's Narratives, Travel Writing and tagged , , , , , , , .

Archives

Categories

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,571 other followers

Follow Portia Placino on WordPress.com

Instagram

6th anniversary, onwards to the 7th year of adventures. Yesterday, a molar emerged. Sooo... What a milestone! One can guess the state of things in the house, with a molar and colds. But first, breakfast! Then, what else? What can a family, all with cold, do for today? Lol.
Hospital run. Coz her appetite went down a bit. But as the line for her doctor is long, we took her to dinner first. She then devoured her spaghetti. Lol. Looks like its just the common cold. Whew. #toddlernarratives
Lately I've been availing the free lunch that's always available for staff and faculty. They have a small selection of healthy meat and vegetable viands that you can order or combine. I have not felt drowsy at all, so I assume there is no artificial msg here. First time I tried ordering, it felt dignified to eat with proper cutlery and have tables and chairs to eat at when at school. There are things in life that we never really think about until some changes happen. Now, if only I can take that coffee machine home... I have a crush on the office coffee machine. Lol. They have a co-working set-up that I've been taking advantage of, with freshly brewed coffee, tea, and crackers for everyone. I have to say, you never really know where life would take you. Cheers.
Now, there's three. Lol. This is Leia's first cinema experience and it went really well for the most part. We we're debating between Vertis North and Trinoma. As it turns out, we need to buy her a seat, even if she won't sit on it. So we opted out of the loungers because paying an extra P500 for something that won't be used feels so wasteful. We got 3 ordinary seats and chose ones near the aisle so we can head out if she gets upset. She didn't really get upset except for the kid who keeps on bothering her and when she saw the *spoiler*. By the end of the movie, she was dancing! We gave her a snack at the coffee shop before heading to the cinema, which I think is critical. A hungry toddler is a monster toddler. I came prepared with most of her favorite snacks, healthy and not so healthy, so we can try to distract her if need be. There was no actual need for it, surprisingly enough. We were over-prepared, but I think it is better this was anyway. Towards the end of the evening, we decided to try Manam, a newly-opened Filipino restaurant. A little pricey, but worth it. She made a lot of servers smile, as she asks for food. She liked the watermelon sinigang, because the warm soup had watermelon and tomatoes in it. She also made a friend and they had a dance-off! I wanted to take photos but I didn't want to distract them. They made so many people smile with their antics, even the servers that they were disturbing as they danced in the middle of the restaurant. It was a long day. It feels good being outside after being cooped up for so long. The toddler needs to spend her energy, or else she'd be bouncing off the walls! She passed out on the way home and we had to just change her without a bath again. This is life, for now. It has its own challenges, but with its own brand of magic as well. P.S. They were right, Olaf was hilarious. Idina Menzel is still perfect for Elsa, but Jonathan Groff may not be a great fit for Kristoff. He's just too polished for the role and Kristoff is rough around the edges. I enjoyed Frozen and had loads of fun with Frozen 2. Oh my goodness. #toddlernarratives
Free coffee!!! Yung ako ang totoong nakikinabang sa perks ng Philam Vitality. Si #gamerchef ang naglalakad, ako ang kumakain. Lol. #coffee #treats
Our smug little girl riding a train. Lol. #toddlernarratives
%d bloggers like this: