Monday, April 25, 2011

Calabria Cafe

I know I promised more cherry blossoms in my last post, but I have some photos with a slight Easter flavour to them so I wanted to blog about them before they hit their past due date.

One popular, colourful street in Vancouver is Commercial Drive.  It includes the city's "Little Italy."  I met up with friends and we stopped for lunch at the Calabria Cafe, drawn by its name because Calabria is the area of Italy my grandfather came from.

Easter eggs awaiting pick-up by the Easter bunny hang over the head of the  Man of the Year
while cafe regulars pore over the newspaper from pillar to post.

Orders for paninis or focaccias or rich dark coffees or pastries or...or...or...
(so hard to decide!) are placed at the counter
beneath a ceiling reminiscent of that found in the Sistine Chapel.
A waiter looks on while a patron dithers over her choices.
Hands gesticulate over a tabletop while recounting a story of love,
or indiscretion, or indignation, or indigestion...

In the Cafe Calabria, it is ever the right time to sit and sip, take a break, and watch the world go by.
Dolce far niente: the sweetness of doing nothing.

From cafe philosophers to motor cyclists, "V" is always for victory!

Unless, perhaps, it's for Vittorio. 
Maybe this gentleman's name is Vittorio, or Vito, or Vincenzo, or Vinnie, or Valentino...

Cafe patron seeking inspiration while his muse looks on

It's so relaxing and refreshing to sit and people watch, imagining stories to go with the faces.
What do you suppose Vittorio's story might be?  Is he a lovelorn poet?
A recent widower?  A brilliant philosopher? 
An art critic from Italy, e-mailing his beautiful wife back home?
What do you think?
I'll just go get us some more coffees while you ponder.


  1. Past due date ? But that's what's wonderful about blogging, there is no past due date, you can keep pulling photos about Easter out of your hat for months to come, and no one will care, here in this time warped alternative universe, where "everything can be replaced, and every distance is not near" ("I see my light come shining...")

    So, you were enjoying strong coffee, good friends, muses, and leather jackets proclaiming victory, but you weren't even just a little tempted to take a broom handle or something similar and give one of those hanging Easter pinatas a good swift whack to see what goodies might come tumbling down from above ??? I've seen my sweets come tumbling, from the west down to the east, any day now, any day, I shall be replete...

    Ah, the vicissitudes of vital questions in Vancouver, vacillating between "V" names and vibrant, voluptuous tales to tell...

  2. Owen, Owen, Owen,
    Those are Italian Easter egss, not pinatas! There is nothing inside the colourful foil wrapping but chocolate and air. (I know because I was so disappointed when I finally, as an adult, got one, after coveting them throughout my childhood; having had to make do with colourful baskets stuffed to overflowing with chocolate eggs, bunnies, chicks, jelly beans (I only liked the black ones) and one large solid milk chocolate rabbit that was to be shared, grudgingly, with the adults). What was I saying? Oh, no bashing of Easter eggs! But I was very relieved to find out that was all you suggested I do with that broom handle!

    I do like your idea that the blogoverse is ever expanding, shrinking, warping and eating its own tail in the time/space continuum. Christmas every day if we want it! Blogging outside of the box! Any day now, I shall be released.

    I see the salt air of Brittany has recharged those little grey cells of yours. Veritably vitalized your vibrancy and vanquished all vestiges of vile visions and vexing vicissitudes you were recently victim to! Very good. Very good; very very good.

  3. What an oasis this place feels to be. Living now nearly seven years over here, places alike are for sure much a need, to escape into dreams, life strength indeed.

    Please have you all a wonderful Tuesday.

  4. The kind of place I love. Folks in leather, in berets--all with funny stories, I'm sure. (I spy you with the camera!) Vinnie-Valentino with the cool sideburns? Working on the great Canadian novel.

  5. verily i tell you, the man is the devious mastermind behind a viral guerrilla art project - he is, right this minute, directing his troops...

  6. Robert,
    Yes, again, you've summed it up perfectly: an oasis. A place to get away from the every day everydayness of things. And yet, somehow, still be in the midst of it all, but aloof, floating...maybe a little high on the caffeine.

  7. jann,
    Oh yes, you must know such havens quite intimately. Not that I'm insinuating anything untoward with those beret and leather clad patrons!
    The Great Canadian novel!!! hahaha. Haven't heard that expression of wistful thinking in ages. Love it!

  8. manuela,
    I had no idea! I am so naive!!! Here I was, busily imagining plots redolent of bodice-ripping book covers and you cut right to the crux of the matter and crack his mild (mis)demeanor! The Drive (as locals call it), is indeed, just the area where such a one would hang out, plotting his nefarious art bombs!

  9. These images make me want to go to Italia or France! I am determined! This summer or die! Or I could go to Vancouver...

  10. Dolce far niente -- a great slogan for Italian Rest Homes.

  11. Ah Vynnie, what venerable words you find to venerate the vertiginous valleys of vacations in the blogosphere and voyages to Vancouver, where all the vacuum cleaners are Hoovers... (never before perhaps has any poet living or dead managed to rhyme Vancouver with Hoover)

    Anchors aweigh on a sea of coffee...

    And if they're not pinatas, they oughtta be...

  12. Margaret,
    Italia or France!? Yesss!!! Vancouver, okay...but given the other options... well, Cafe Calabria is more like a poor relative.

  13. Shirl,
    Yet another great example of your gift for marketing slogans! You coulda been a contenda.

  14. BrOwen,
    Thank you for pointing out that you were rhyming Vancouver with Hoover. I am not as sensitive as I once was to the subtleties, nuances, rhyming schemes and intricacies-not to say vagaries- of fine verse. I shall have to suck it up and try harder to absorb, verily to inhale, the richness of poetic verbiage when next it veers into sight. A valuable lesson.

  15. what a great cafe to hang out in - I have cherry blossom this week - first time I have seen it in 6 years - what a wonderful sight!!

  16. Ah the chocolately pull of Easter! I think that chap is sitting there prowling the blogosphere searching for his very own Decollete...and wondering where his other arm is:-)

  17. Catherine,
    So there you are! Too bad I wasn't still out west; I'd for sure have gone to Seattle to meet you. Don't you love the instant confetti effect of the cherry blossom trees?

  18. Saj,
    Wouldn't it be funny if he turned up here and recognized his own photo. No...he'd probably want to sue me. Or do you mean by "searching for his own decollete" that he might be looking at porn sites???

    I think he lost his arm when BrOwen accidentally struck him while whacking at the Italian chocolate Easter eggs, thinking they were pinatas.

    I'll go see if they have any Grappa to add to your coffee.

  19. That's such an awesome coffee shop. (My grandfather on my dad's side is from Genoa). So Vinnie, reformed hitman turned auteur of course!

  20. Oh, so now I'm guilty of assault and pinatterie against some poor, unsuspecting café customer ! Oh dear, oh dear, whatever shall I do if the bureau of international virtual crimes division catches up with me ??? And I just wanted a few of the Hershey's Kisses which were surely stashed in those hanging chocolate eggs...

    Did you know they don't even have Hershey's Kisses in France ? Not that I've found anyway...

  21. Stickup,
    Reformed hit man! haha! Very discerning on your part. I bet he'll be cooking up a best-seller with that kind of background. My Italian connection is also my grandfather on my Dad's side, but my grandmother's family was also from Italy (Napoli). Other side are Brits, so I'm both restrained and emotional in temperament.

  22. BrO,
    Next time I'm in Paris I'll bring you a bag of kisses--foil wrapped ones, that is.

    Now just watch where you're swinging that anchor!

    (I do hope you're recovering from your most recent bout of rust lust.)

  23. That is an awesome cafe. The ceiling is beautiful.

    Whole coffee beans run through my fingers make me feel relaxed - the texture, color and scent are soothing. So different when I drink it.

  24. Romancing Italy,
    Definitely a good sign if you approve of this Calabrian styled cafe! All that was missing was a table of older gentlemen playing cards.
    I haven't run whole coffee beans through my fingers, but they do smell wonderful and I love their sheen. Am too impatient to deal with them in the morning so usually buy ground.
    Great to see you here!