as requested, the French woman downstairs

Down the stairs and over one from my office is a tiny coffee shop/bistro place.
There is a counter up against the window, running the length of the store with stools and four or five tables with wifi.
I get a small decaf cafe au lait there every day. Some days I spring for an almond croissant.
The women behind the counter have gotten to know me - and I them. One of them only moonlights at the cafe and is a financial consultant during normal working hours I've learned in my three months of employment.
The counter-girls are warm and chatty and two flat screen tv's show surfing and skateboarding videos as alternative rock music plays in the background.
It seems that the place is either managed or owned by a French couple. Actually, I'm not even positive they are a couple.
He is tall and thin and has very short salt-and-pepper hair. He doesn't often work behind the counter but is very gracious when he does. He has twinkly eyes.
His female counterpart is not always there when I pick up my coffee but she is usually working when I go for some soup at lunch-time and I've been enjoying seeing her.
She is not especially tall and is slim and has auburn hair that she wears tied back in a scarf.
She is very French - I cannot explain what that means but I think you can imagine.
She wears simple but flattering outfits and ties her pashmina at the back of her neck (I'm guessing to keep it out her way while she works). Her blouses are often slightly low-cut and she often wears a skirt or dress and has a sing-song kind of voice. I'd love to catch a glimpse of her shoes and tights but I've never seen her without the counter between us.
She bustles about in a busy but happy way and pours my soup gracefully.

It's wonderful to have a place like this cafe a short elevator ride away from my desk, especially when it is so cold out.
I told her so the other day having come in shivering after slipping away from my desk late in the day.
It's so good to have you downstairs here on a day like this, I shuddered.
Ah, no, she said, it is so good to have you just upstairs, she replied and so I became even more enamored of her.
I was further endeared of her last Friday when I made a bold move. I wanted oatmeal for my breakfast but worried that the oatmeal at the cafe would be made with water. I like my oatmeal made with milk. I thought about it as I walked from the train and decided to take a chance.
When it was my turn at the counter I ordered oatmeal with fresh fruit...she asked me if I wanted it made with milk or water!
Heaven.
Hot oatmeal with fresh blueberries - served up by a charming French hostess.
Another small thing that starts my day beautifully.
I craned my neck over the counter just before she handed me the bag - she wears clunky flat black boots.

Comments

Jen said…
What wonderful detail! If I'm ever the victim of a violent crime, I hope you witness it.
Tuli said…
What Jen said.
smalltownmom said…
I love your observations. What a lovely, friendly place.
eurolush said…
Mmmmmmm. Almond croissants.
Anonymous said…
Eurolush, why were we struck by the croissants and not by the French allure and ambience of it all? And I NEVER eat croissants!
Paola
NorahS said…
What a great place to have so close by! Your descriptions are wonderful.
barbra said…
I feel like I am there!
Anonymous said…
Je l'adore.

jbhat
Miz S said…
French women are often so lovely and graceful.

So, did you approve of the clunky black flat boots?
Sadie said…
You are so fortunate. In this economy, I have to brown bag it to work and bring coffee from home. I'm glad I can visit the charming cafe via your posts.
Ah, another fine day where I get to live vicariously through you.
I adore the French--they have such style. Such panache.
Geggie said…
Reminds me of the Italian deli/grocery down the street. The man is from Calabria, but also lived in Morocco and Spain. He has made his home in Chicago for 17 years now.

He is always gracious. Always offers a sample of some tasty bite. I always asks me about my parents who he met in August when they came to visit after being displaced during the hurricane. He is such a sweet man and has a lovely business (it helps that his sandwiches and salads are wonderful!)
alice c said…
Tying her pashmina at the back of her neck makes her sound like Juliette Binoche channelling John Wayne.
Amy A. said…
It makes me want to open a cafe. And be slim and French, naturally.
Anonymous said…
I am charmed by your lovely lunch time observations. And hungry.

ErinH
Stephanie said…
I love it there. thank you.

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