Monday, March 01, 2010

El Almacen


El Almacen, in Spanish, means a general store. Silvio, the proprietor of this new cafe along the Queen west strip was kind enough to talk to me about what made this place stand out from the other indy cafes in Toronto, even though it's only about a month old. The draw of this cafe is its mate in a gourd tea. Mate is a tea that has a lot of medicinal value to it and traditionally it's drunk from a gourd. Not to slap tradition in the face, I did just that and sat at El Almacen for a few hours sipping this tea while sketching this place.

The gourds can be seen on display on the two shelves in this image. According to the small leaflets available at the cafe the mate tea's benefits include:
1. It has the same amount of caffeine as coffee but doesn't have the same side effects like jitters and yellow teeth.

2. It makes you look younger. It has antioxidants and a higher concentration of polyphenols (a strong antioxidant)

3.Boosts the immune system

4. Helps you loose weight. (I don't think I need to loose anymore weight)

5. You look cool drinking the tea straight from the gourd. (That's why so many ladies were staring at me...I was cool)

3 comments:

Carolina said...

That's very Argentinian... they do all this 'mate' and gourds thing as a very old tradition. I've tried the 'yerba mate' (the tea) and found it too bitter (I love sugar...!)
We need to see a photo of you and your gourd, we need some cool-ness lessons ;)
(((Excellent sketch by the way, I love the blue)))
Best regards,
Carolina

quirkyartist said...

Great to be cool! I wanna be cool too.

Wilfred said...

Carolina-- I actually added quite a bit of brown sugar to my tea.

Silvio informed me that there's a real sub culture to mate drinking and that when a person takes too long to finish his mate, the others waiting for their turn will say to him, "don't hog the microphone". I thought that was really funny and it probably sounds better in Spanish.

Quirkyartist-- cool is all in the head. ;-)