Cafe Allegro

Seattle, Washington

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Cafe Allegro

cafe allegro is downstairs from the pensione, college inn, right across the street from gould hall, the university of washington college of architecture, which i had gone to visit in the spring of 1998 to investigate their graduate program. the inn is housed on the second through fourth floors of the tudor style building. the cafe is housed on the first. i had completely overlooked it in 1998, my interests not having been fully cultivated, it was of course not until i arrived at graduate school elsewhere that i began my descent into the sober liquor, at first drinking cowboy coffee at my desk and, after being chastised by my parents, venturing into more mature forms of coffee consumption. but here, in my adult life, visiting the area, and having slept 3 out of the preceding 36 hours, cafe allegro leapt out like a mirage, a monumental mug rising from everstretching fog banks like mount rainier.

without thinking at all of the actual time of day, our spirits, or our thirst, we entered quickly and claimed a table. sitting, staring through the plate glass at gould hall initiated a slipping through time that went beyond a reshuffling of memories and into a physical movement of my body through reconstructed settings and mindsets each sitting concurrently framed around my body as i lounged in the cafe. it was 1998, gould hall, interview, wandering the city aimlessly, ghengis khan chinese food, the freestanding terra cotta facade, the bookstore going out of business, it was 2pm, atlanta, saturday afternoon, i was sitting down to lunch, cats swirling about my feet, work on monday, wide streets, houses set back from wide streets, it was 11am, the university district, the barrista is lively and cracks wise when i ask for a glass of water, he feigns anger and irritation to gain our trust, to insure that he is ‘down’ with us. this is always an awkward situation. you appreciate the approach, you have used it before on creatures such as coworkers, but in this state of mind you wonder whether it is as you saw it. this is the first person you have spoken with in seattle, surely he wouldnt be so surly. it wasnt until days later, at pizza pi, that you realize what a complete asshole the proprietor of a small business in the city could be. but this gentle looking stocky man is merely being playful and the fresh repoire carries on through your stay in the cafe. the two of you discuss being playful yourselves and joining in the fun by flipping over the table when you are approached again. you have always wanted to flip a table over. you put away the remains of your lunch, the falling table might injure the cats, or spill coffee on your interviewer, then you take to the streets of seattle in search of vegetarian pho.


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Cafe Allegro

4002 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105



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CAFE TABLEAUX
is a compendium of literary, anecdotal musings on coffeeshop and cafe culture.
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