Resolutions mean nothing to me. But quiet is a resolute panacea. I’ve given up a few things this month to make room for meditation, drawing, reading and the occasional blustery foray into the few hours of sunshine that we get in January times.
No sex. No music, television, alcohol, meat, sugar, diet soda, dancing, makeup/jewellery, staying up late, harsh words, daydreaming, the like. No chaos.
Where I could explain to you in detail the how-it-works of the siphon drip system that Café Falco offers and the origins of it’s countless artisanal accoutrements, I will instead impress upon you that what’s truly important is the expression of inventive serenity that it all adds up to. It’s hidden in an industrial part of Mile End, the ground floor of an imposing, grey-striked building with an uneventful front and a dubious entrance door. The inside reveals, though. Probably one of the nicest places to experience the dead of winter – the warmth and precision of the homespun / futurespun cube-space sets off the snow and slate-sided buildings from across the street well – and really, how better to appreciate the human creation of windows and walls than with hot hands cupped around one of the best kitten-smooth coffees in the neighbourhood? Stronger than the usual but still long (ie: not espresso), like coffee should be (to this non-European, anyway).
Falco also offers repast for those wanting a bit of gentleness and brown rice to hopefully negate greasy memories. A chalk menu lists the Japanese/French fare – rice bowls with tofu or meat, sticky onigiri, miso soup, salads, sandwiches on fresh bread from nearby Boulangerie Guillaume and sweet things (muffins etc) from the same place.
The miso soup was perfect. A cup of energetic stillness, made with a proper dashi and sipped from from a dark umbre bowl. The rice and tofu dish is the kind of thing that I used to eat while vegan, each element (carrots, tofu and lentils) carefully dressed and seasoned individually. While it’s hard to handle with chopsticks for the exact reasons mentioned here – maybe that’s just a clue to either work more patiently on one’s eating technique, or perhaps use the broth from the soup to clean the last few grains from the bowl as monks do.
The most surprisingly delicious thing was the onigiri – made with sticky soft rice and filled with chunks of sweet salmon – it was a delicate but un-shy example of the form. It’s not something very difficult to make, but making them this well is rare, and I really should go back to try the others. I think there were 3 or 4 varieties that day.
There’s a hammock in the corner and shelves of thin brown pottery, sculptures, a falcon, globe lanterns and a happy-looking staff. Few private tables, but then, we’re all eating next to each other anyway when we go out to that third place, might as well be neighbourly about it. And peaceful.
(lunch for one, with siphon coffee, rice bowl, soup and onigiri = 16$. Pricey, but organic and very good)