Bye bye Bowie

January 14th, 2016

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Photo by David McGough

When I was 20 years old, I lived in New Orleans and waited tables at a place in the French Quarter called the Café du Monde. Nearly every tourist who passed through the city stopped there, to sample French doughnuts called beignets covered in powdered sugar, and café au lait mixed with chicory. I worked the shift between midnight and eight in the morning, mostly waiting on drunks, but so avoiding the busloads of sightseers who trooped in during the day and early evening.

          One night a startlingly beautiful man arrived with what was clearly his retinue of three or four other people. They all ordered coffee but eschewed the beignets. The beautiful man — who earlier that night had played a concert in Baton Rouge — was in one of his more conservative periods, his hair straight and parted on the side, dressed in a brown jacket, a plaid shirt and a woven necktie. I realize that this is dating me, but this was back before he got his teeth fixed. The crooked choppers were the only imperfection in an otherwise flawless appearance, and sort of served as a reminder that he was an actual human being and hadn’t arrived from Olympus.

          Now I am really dating myself: in those days, the total charge for all of their coffees was $2.98. After I served them, one of the group gave me $3.00 and told me to keep the change. I never blamed David Bowie for getting my tip stiffed from me. The boor was a member of his entourage; the man who sold the earth couldn’t have been bothered to handle the money.

 

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The writing on the wall

December 24th, 2015

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Photos by Adam Peacock

I noticed these two signs walking through Coyoacán not long ago. For the Spanish-impaired, the one on top says “One in five workers cannot afford the basic basket” (which refers to a set of groceries, such as eggs, milk, bread, beans and tortillas, which are supposed to be subsidized by the government here). The one on the bottom says, “One per cent of the population has half of the national wealth.” Have a happy new year, everybody.

 

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Mexican humor

December 7th, 2015

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A doughnut stand, seen recently in the metro. Opera fans, take note.

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Under new management

November 19th, 2015

 

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Photo by Hamish Anderson

The French café Padam, on Avenida Veracruz between Calle Durango and Calle Sinaloa in the Colonia Roma Norte, was recently acquired by the guys who have run the pizzeria Zazá around the corner for a decade. One of them, Lalo, actually did time in the kitchen of a Parisian restaurant, so he knows the territoire. I’ve eaten there a few times since the place changed hands and have had excellent versions of traditional French cafe fare, like the croque monsieur, the salade Nicoise or (pictured above) the salade Lyonnaise. They also do a standout chicken in rosemary sauce, and have one of the best 100-peso comida corridas in town (yesterday I ate a cream of shrimp soup, a salad with fresh lettuces and roasted vegetables, and a piece of grilled fish). For the moment, they open for breakfast and lunch and close their doors around sundown. If only we could convince them to stay open for dinner.

Labels: Mexico City

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Chucky and his sister Catrina

November 9th, 2015

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Photo by Juvenal Acosta

The night of the Day of the Dead at cantina Ardalio, Avenida Revolución and Calle José María Vigil, these two figures appeared. Most of the patrons, lubricated by alcohol (and perhaps secretly frightened by the visitors’ spooky outfits),  unstintingly handed over cash gifts for their trick-or-treat efforts.

 

Labels: Mexico City

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