Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cafe Dolce & Chef Angel

I had been wandering through a few Panama blogs and had come across two reviews of a breakfast café on Via Argentina, just three blocks from our condo. As a morning change of routine we headed for the café to have a cappuccino and a muffin. We were greeted warmly by a Panamanian young man who had very good English. When we received our order I asked him where he had learned his English. He told me when he was a boy he watched Channel 8 in Panama City and learned his English from Sesame Street. We told him that was how our kids learned their alphabet and numbers, so it is a worldwide phenomenon.

The owner (Chef Angel aka Angie) walked in and greeted us in perfect English (maybe because she is Canadian) and we had a delightful long discussion. She was originally from Toronto. She has been in Panama for twelve years, coming from a business in Costa Rica, with some time out with her husband in Libya, unfortunately where he died. They had come to Panama originally for his job helping build the Centennial Bridge. After returning from Libya, she (already a chef by trade) bought the little café about a year ago.

She obviously is strong of purpose and completely remodeled and staffed the restaurant in two weeks, much to the surprise of the manana Panamanians. She has a “Mary Ann” employer philosophy about service, and training her employees to grow in the job. The café is cozy and fun and also has the benefit of an English language book exchange. We had so much fun we will be heading back for a full breakfast on Sunday (and relieve us of the weight of the books we don’t want to haul home).

P.S. We did have Sunday breakfast, which was excellent, including the breakfast wrap and fruit plate for Mary Ann, and the complete desayuno for me. We had another wide ranging discussion with Angel about life and problems in Panama, which included the local garbage problem to avoiding sudden death crossing the street, amongst many diverse subjects.

No comments: