Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where to Write a Novel in Tbilisi, Part II

Life in Tbilisi has been a marvelously splendid, if busy, collection of anecdotes and antique-hunts. I've bought out what feels rather like the entirety of the Dry Bridge antique market in an effort to further transform my apartment into a 19th century kitsch-and-nostalgia wonderland/fever dream, (and wept not a few tears over un-affordable luxuries, such as the $6000 organ grinder, 90-lari dueling pistol, enormous golden $5000 Liberty angel/lamp suitable for an art nouveau cafe, and an incredible chair and table set carved from a single block of wood).

I've also met a number of lovely new friends, in large part through this blog and my web browsings, so thank you again, PasumonokInk, and Michael for highly enjoyable outings!

With that in mind, more cultural posts will have to be delayed in favor of a post on my new favorite Tbilisi place, my "local" cafe, the Persian Chaikhana (I'd been in September, but today's experience solidified it in my mind).

The gregarious proprietress in charge of Chaikhana does not offer you a menu, nor does she inform you of prices. Instead, she presents you and your merry band with steaming pots of Iranian tea, heapings of baklava, peanut candies, what seemed a bit like Turkish delight, dried fruits, refills, and other such un-ordered niceties (while lighting a roaring fire in a corner of the lusciously caravan-draped room), and, upon request, will produce a bill. (Three of us went through two large potfuls of tea and four plates of goodies, for 22 lari - pronounced highly reasonable, given the quantity of food consumed).

Also high on my list, though possessing quite a different aesthetic, is minimalist-elegant Kafe Literaturuli, which already occupies a favored space in my heart (The Batumi branch provided Boyfriend and me with shelter from the pouring rain during our rather ill-timed seaside trip last September). The Saburtalo branch of the small chain reminds me of one of my favorite cafes in the world - Vienna's Cafe Phil - with a sleek, minimalist (read: Apple Store) aesthetic, decadent cherry cakes, and two floors' worth of books.
Photo of the Vake branch, as Google won't give me one.
I'm told there's a branch nearer me that I've mysteriously managed to miss on several occasions (the only other one I've been to is the cramped outlet in the Amiran Cinema, which has no tables and, oddly, almost no books), which I ought to check out when I get a chance!

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