Archive for coffee

necessary luxury: coffee and rubies

Posted in delicious places, delicious stories with tags on September 3, 2009 by thatwasdelicious

After a day of teacher training, sitting folded up into small blue plastic chairs with a group of practical adults (“hoop earrings are not allowed in the dress code. have we talked about protocol for hair decorations? plastic bobbles?”) with real jobs, I walked out into blue fall sunshine and took a big breath. Coffee needed.

A small corner cafe, La Citadelle, looked bougy but deliciously impractical. Inside the high walls were painted a bright thick green, like leaves seen from beneath on a sunny day, and adorned with a gold art deco elongated clock and paintings of flowers. In between small black tables and chairs, an upholstered Oriental ottoman. The stubby man behind the counter flicked two bright black eyes at me, and greeted me like an old-school shopkeeper. “Come in, come in!” he shouted, as if I were lollygagging and holding up his whole operation of baguette-sandwich-making. His accent was French, or maybe Middle Eastern. I ordered my coffee, and as he poured, he examined the large amber pendant worn by the young woman in line behind me. “That is beautiful,” he said, raising his eyebrows and nodding intently.  “You like jewelry? I love jewelry, of all kinds. Here, I’ll show you.” He put my coffee down and reached behind the counter, bringing up two thick, glossy books about precious jewels and jewelry around the world. Opening the pages and flicking through pictures of Renaissance sapphire tiaras, Egyptian ruby rings, Imperial jade collars, he jabbed at the pages as we looked on, saying “So rich! The colors! So sexy!” Later, he told me that he always used to pick out his sister’s and his mother’s jewelry for them when he was a little boy in Morocco. In the meantime I know where to go when I want to wear my hoop earrings after school.

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