Cafe Ferlucci Villeray — Overhyped Hole in the Wall

I had a meeting with my new editor and she told me of a marvelous boutique cafe in Villeray. I looked at the website and saw rave reviews and how it was cozy and for all, and how Italian it was but with a twist. What got me was the “boutique” part of it.

I’d first fallen upon a boutique cafe over a decade ago on the world’s most captivating island —Manhattan, where else? I had decided to stay at a boutique hotel in Chelsea. It all made so much sense. You get this faux hipster feeling while feeling like you’ve achieved something higher than the average Joe just by understanding what a boutique hotel was. A boutique cafe is something different, artsy, postmodern. You know.

As I finally managed to see the entrance, I walked in. There was 20-year-old postmodern mood music playing. Boutique? Not really. The young lady at the cash looked at me and turned away quickly. I verified I wasn’t asked and went and found my editor in an adjoining room.

The main room looks somewhat normal. Passable, anyway.

This is the most attractive area of the cafe, which is where I was ignored by aforementioned lady.

The first room has very few tables. It feels very run-of-the-mill. The most unattractive part is the paper napkin case from 1970s diners, napkin cases that belong with those old quarter-for 1 song jukeboxes. No jukeboxes here. Mr. Ferlucci, or whatever your name is, a small table jukebox, even a non-functional one, would be boutique-like. There were two female university students sitting on chairs facing outside. They had their computers on a one-piece table. That looked fine, at least.

Would you sit at this table for longer than you needed to? There’s the napkin holder along with a matching ugly sugar holder. Maybe the sugar being brown makes it boutique-style? I’m trying, reader. I’m trying. I can’t help but feel like I need to eat a cheap greasy burger. But I digress.

My editor was having an Americano. Ergo, she knows nothing about coffee. I felt like ordering a cortado, but I decided to make it easy and order a double cappuccino. I started being treated well when they saw me sitting with my editor.

The cappuccino was good, but nothing to make a special stop in this hole in the wall for. The desserts, I tried three, were above average. Again, nothing like the reviews. The crowd consists mostly of female university students who are studying silently. Then you have these artsy types who are having serious discussions about something. They are more my age.

The way I would describe this would be retro-diner. Nothing artsy about it. Nothing boutique about it. It is a highly exclusive place the would make a first-time outsider feel very unwelcome.

Atmosphere: 6/10

Food: 7/10

Coffee: 8/10

Service: 5/10

Advertisements

Ted Kouretas’ New Book of Postmodern Poetry—-Interview

Book available here

A Fine Line is a book written from the perspective of a nihilist looking to find order in the chaos. Looking in all of the predetermined places gets him nowhere.

John Sutter: Is this a work of fiction? I mean, there’s a lot of things going on here people would pay good money for.

Ted Kouretas: Nothing is totally fictitious. Fiction always exists within reality.

JS: But is the narrator you?

TK: It’s a troubled me. Yes. Or rather, perhaps.

JS: When did you write most of the poems on here?

TK: Almost all of them were written in Greece. I was in the big city. Athens is a multi-faceted place. You go from luxury to misery in a small block’s walk. I experienced both. Most of the poems are attempts at acceptance. They ard actually me trying to make sense of things.

JS: Do you make sense of things?

TK: I have now. But lest we forget these were my carefree hedonistic years. I had no borders. At the time, I was addicted to sensual desire. I needed to experience all my needs. This takes you to dangerous places.

JS: But there’s a lot of nostalgia in many poems.

TK: We always opine for the good old days. We think we’ve leadnsd from them when in fact we’ve become corrupted from them. It’s more like the demoralizing mediocre old days. A ship of fools with all decks on board.

JS: So do the old memories free you somewhat?

TK: Hopefully. They have in real life. Eventually. Duting the writings of the poems, there was so much addiction. There was so much pain. It was a way out.

JS: How do you feel about the disclaimer from the publisher?

TK: I’d be scared shitless and covering all my bases too. As you know, there is no truth these days other than the one preached by a select few. The walls are crumbling and our defense mechanisms are rendered useless. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

JS: I’m not sure I understand. Do you believe in fake news then?

TK: People think Donald Trump created the fake news mentality. Fact is, he was the only one unfiltered enough to actually state a big truth. Like him or not.

JS: What was your purpose in writing this book of poetry?

TK: Let’s be honest. I’m taking a chance here. My favourite musical artist, Morrissey, has gotten in trouble so many times for showing points of view. He gets called a racist by putting in the brain of a young man who admires the National Front. Of course being a neo-Nazi is inexcusable. But it helps to know why. Everything is a pattern.

JS: A pattern?

TK: Yes. Recruiters always go after the most susceptible. There are recruiters for the army, for menial labour, for prostitution, for drug dealing, for killing. The weak and disenfranchised are easy prey. Through learning about them, perhaps we can help curb the problem. To answer your initial question, my main purpose for this book is for the common folks to experience the joys and tribulations in the fine line between insanity and creativity. They should get into the brain of the nihilistic protagonist and see how his thoughts play a major role in his seclusion. This is what leads and maintains addiction.

JS: Any takeaway from this book?

TK: Never think you know anything.

Ted Kouretas describes himself as a postmodern iconoclast bent on showing taboo truths. With this book, he gives us a glimpse.

John Sutter is a PostDoc litarature fellow from the University of Alabama.

Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment—Review

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/15/adults-in-room-battle-europes-deep-establishment-yanis-varoufakis-review

I’m usually not one for non-fiction. And I’ve never read political fiction. It took a book by a man I admire to make me get curious. It also took the review above to make me pre-order from Amazon. And I was not disappointed. This is better than a riveting novel. I just couldn’t put it down.

The book is written for both the initiated and ghe laymen. And the truth of the corruption is as fulfilling to find out as it is disturbing.

It seems that even the highest-ranking servants of the people only serve the elite—the way democracy was serving them in the days of Ancient Greece, where we had sp much class struggle hidden.

We start thinking in paradigms throughout the book because Yanis serves us lots of them. He goes from historical and mythical parallels to the down and dirty truth while, all the while, serving as an impossible hero in a Greek tragedy. But, unlike Oedipus and his ilk, Varoufakis does nothing wrong.

What we learn is not pretty. In fact, what we learn is downright unjust. Kudos to Varoufakis for being true to himself in the book. Like his real-life persona, he gives us an unbiased view of the proceedings. He has the solutions. But greed for power manages to overcome any democracy.

Let the weak step forward. Let the ones destroying Greece and its people’s dignity get theirs. Yanis Varoufakis, to his credit, ostracises them in style.

Tripoli Restaurant Laval — The Definition of Food Porn

I hadn’t been to Tripoli Restaurant in Laval in a couple of years. We decided to go there on a whim; and we’re glad we did.

It was about 12.30 PM. A perfect time to dine on a Saturday, because you get to be in a mostly-empty restaurant and get a chance to breathe in the environment without being rushed.

The walls were full of pictures associated with the city of Tripoli or other parts of Greece. The tables and colours were mostly Greek-flag blue and white, like when you reach the island of Paros in the Greek Cyclades.

The waitress was a Greek-Canadian young lady who barely knew enough Greek for an order. I switched to English and she was very helpful. I was, as usual, very peculiar and difficult about the way I wanted my fish cooked. I had a sea bass and my companion took the traaditional salted cod (bakaliaro) with a side of skordalia (greek side that combines mashed potatoes and mashed garlic), see below. I took a Greek salad and my partner a lettuce salad, both with a healthy sprinkling of crumpled feta.

My salad was delicious, although there was a hint of lemon on it. It was fresh and very tasty.

The waitress brought some less-than-fresh bread to us in a basket (as per Greek tradition) but forgot the butter. A customer on the next table and I lifted the bread slices looking for the butter, but to no avail. It took a good 5 minutes to getbit after we asked for it. I wondered if this was restaurant policy or if the waitress had just been aloof. Either way, it was the only bad part of the serving, alongwith the arrival of foods at disproportionate times. But it’s nothing to reallycomplain about. The waitress more than made up for it by getting the order perfectly right and apologizing and being polite.

The guy at the next table got his lamb chops. I’ve had them before. They’re absolutely perfectly done with just enough sauce and lemon on them.

Then he received his traditional Greek fries, just the way grandma used to make them. Slightly burnt. Perfect for fish and chips, yet perfectly round.

The fish was mouthwatering. Just a bit of oil and salt and pepper. I didn’t add any lemon. It was perfectly grilled. All I needed was a chair and umbrelka in front of a Greek beach.

For dessert, on the house this time, were the ever-famous loukoumades (Greek dough puffs with a dash of sugar and plenty of honey.

I strongly recommend Tripoli. An amazing dining experience.

Parking: Yes

Atmosphere: 9/10

Cleanliness: 9/10

Food: 9/10

Service: 7/10

A Clockwork Orange — Always Timely

The film is older than I am, but that’s no reason to be unaware of it. I first saw it in film studies class at 18years old. And it has helped me understand others and the overhyped difference in the good vs. evil dichotomy.  It is the reason I changed my major to Sociology. 

The setting seems to be a post-war world where Russia seems to have won the war. So many Russian words and references. And our hero is tge leader of a gang who winds up raping a woman and giing to jail. He is abusee by the system, beaten up by the cops when he’s out, and windsnup coming ahead at the end and starting a new circle— that of corruption.

We see the whole gamut here. There is a reason for everyone’s behaviour. We should learn to understand why instead of how. Thanks to Alex, I hve been able to filter others while making itbpossible to teach my points of view unfiltered.

Alas, if only people would pay attention.

Ted Kouretas is a former member of the Droog Foundation, now defunct and completely erased from any internet search because of his close relation to Hillary Clinton. Remember, if there’s a will, there’s always corruption and the skewing of algorithms. 


Central Athens — Legal Prostitution on the Cheap 

The above is a legal sex studio somewhere in the centre of Athens. This is the Greek equivalent of an illegal massage parlour in Canada, especially famous in Chinatowns around the country. Prostitution has been legal in Greece since 2010.

During my last stay in the city centre, I decided to take the deal on trivago and stay at a cheaper hotel just south of the ever-popular Omonia Square, known for its seediness and abundance of purse snatchers. You can get a very good hotel room with fridge in Central Athens for about €60 a night.

I knew and confirmed the drill with a taxi driver. Just walk and stay on Pireos Avenue and you’ll be safe. The taxi brought me to the hotel using a side road whose houses looked abandoned by its original owners and that was now a liveable pseudo-haven for south Asians.

All this being said, Athens is one of the safest cities in Europe and the most affordable in western Europe. Central Athens is always close to the Acropolis, almost always visible no matter where you are.

This is an example of a street we passed by. At the time, I made a mental note that thus was simply a bunch of abandoned buildings. And although squatting would have been possible as another option, brothels never would. And the owners of the brothels were not pimps but simply government workers. The diaspora on the streets was not profiting from the brothels, the government and the employees were.

This building apparently has multiple brothels. The price for a hookup ranges from €10 – €20.

This is where we should make the distinction between brothels (more popularly known as bordellos) and studios. Brothels are mostly hidden and the clients know about them by word of mouth. This seems odd since they are all supposed to be legal. And being legal consists of medical testing bi-weekly. This is very important because those not passing the tests can no longer work legally. This may explain their hush hush existence and lower prices.

I started realising early on in my stay that my hotel was one of the popular ones for call girls to make outcalls to because of its location. The hotel was respectable and quite clean. It seemed a bit secretive, but I blamed that on a lack of motivation by the staff.

A housecall in Athens will set you back between €80 and €120. They advertised €350 for an overnight stay. The agency would give you peace of mind that these girls were well-bahaved, clean, and would not bleed you dry when you were sleeping.

There is no red light district in Athens, just studios scattered throughout the city. They are almost exclusively near the city centre and tend to be in industrial sectors, abandoned streets, or nestled somewhere barely in sight. The studio is the form of prostitution the clients are attracted to the most.

The rules are simple. You enter and sit down in the lobby, usually on a couch. You are then approached by the girls that are free. Surprisingly, most studios have few girls. And 80% of the girls are not Greek. Greek girls are usually a bit pricier. The most popular ethnicities of prostitutes in Athens are Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian.

After a girl is chosen, you can negotiate limits. This brings up the price. It seems that the studios are not as busy as they should be. They have been known to have to bring their prices down to compete with legal and even illegal brothels.

Then you have the freelancers, or street walkers. I don’t recommend going with them. They are probably illegal migrants or have STIs or HIV. This is dangerous in ways that are apparent.

Then there are the local Greek women suffering from the economic constraints that exist in the country. This has opened up a new market of renting a girlfriend. These are girls, almost exclusively Greek, who will offer themselves as girlfriends or guides for a day, a week, or however long is agreed upon. They are usually women who don’t want to be prostitutes and who give men the Greek girlfriend experience.

No matter what your preference, always be safe and respectful. Athens is a beautiful and safe place. Enjoy it.

Article on €4 prostitutes in Athens
A bit more insight on the subject
Myrto Papadopoulos’ study on prostitution