I woke up, reluctantly, but with one thought firmly in my mind: crepes. Ham and cheese, to be precise. And a mocha. (An indulgence saved for the occasional Sunday). I bundle into my most pajama-like clothes (fleece hoody and sweats, all black, so I look like an untidy sort of ninja) and out the door, down the hill to the Essential Bakery. There are plenty of open parking spaces; the bakery is nearly empty. Only a few other tables are occupied, and there is no line. Everyone has left town for the holiday weekend, and I am too early for the brunch crowd.
I had been hoping for a ham-and-Gruyére crêpe, but time has passed and the seasons have changed; now they have a bacon-and Swiss crêpe instead. I order my crêpe and a mocha and buy a loaf of bread, stumbling over the pronunciation of pugliese. (Later I will slice some for lunch, to eat with a smoked-salmon spread; it has a crisp, chewy crust and a soft interior that has a faintly sour tang to it). The guy at the counter tells me that he hears all sorts of variations on the word; he goes with an approximation of the Italian pronunciation.
My mocha comes in a big cup, the white foam swirled with a coffee-colored leaf. I drink these rarely, a treat saved for Sundays I have to work. They have the best espresso here, and my mocha has the dark intensity of espresso (but never bitter) smoothed out by chocolate. It wakes me up. I sit back and sip my coffee and wait for my breakfast and read about Bill Bryson's adventures traveling alone around Britain.
The crepe arrives, folded in quarters, sprinkled with chives, and scattered with cracked black pepper. I like eating things wrapped in other things; it is like opening a present to discover something wonderful inside. The crepe is soft and eggy and just crisped around the edges, almost sweet against the mild cheese, the savory bacon, all of it gently spiced by the black pepper. A man walks in, exclaims, It smells fantastic out there! Bacon, comes the reply from behind the counter.
Work is waiting for me; I have to leave. But it is enough that I have this moment to myself before moving on.