A Cafe Dedicated to Cats

el gato cafe guadalajara

Imagine a restaurant dedicated to cats. It might be difficult, since you might wonder why anyone in their right mind (or any frame of mind) would dedicate a restaurant to cats. But that’s indeed what’s happened at El Gato Cafe, a half block from the famed neo-gothic cathedral El Expiatorio, in Gaudalajara, Mexico.

Now imagine spending time at this cafe, eating there, perusing the menu. This was the situation I found myself in the other day. I’d seen El Gato Cafe on Google Maps, where  it has an extremely high 4.8/5 rating, and since I spend 98% of my waking hours in cafes I figured I should check it out.

I went at 3:30pm, certainly not the most happening time of day, and besides the waiter standing there looking expectant, and Elton John music drifting from the speakers, there wasn’t much going on. I sat down and began paging through the menu, which brought to mind an unabridged volume of War and Peace or other such Slavic tome. I’d never seen so many coffee drinks, and all of them seemingly similar. There was the Iced Cafe Mocha on one page, and then halfway down the same page the Iced Coffee Mocha. On the same page there was also a Cappuccino with Chocolate, a Coffee with Mexican Chocolate, and something like an Iced Mocha with Mexican Chocolate (I don’t remember exactly, since I have the memory of a turtle). I opted for the Hot Chocolate with Shot of Coffee, and as the waiter was walking away I said, “Actually, can I have it cold?” He didn’t bat an eye.

I immediately noticed a curious thing about the tables at El Gato Cafe. They’re all equipped with buttons so you can page the waiter. He said, “Press it for three seconds and I’ll come right over,” which seemed a bit excessive since there was no one there and I’m pretty sure even from across the room he could hear the sound of me breathing. I noticed there was also a button labeled “Surprise,” which seemed mysterious to say the least. Letting my curiosity get the better of me, I started reaching for the surprise button, and as I reached for it I noticed the waiter eyeing me while he reached for what looked liked a clown mask and a meat clever. I put my my hand down, and he went back to making my drink.

My beverage came, which was, strangely, exactly what I’d asked for. It was a hot chocolate, with a shot of espresso, and at the last second it’d been made cold, as if an afterthought, much how I’d ordered it. I sat back and listened to the music, which had changed from Elton John to something worse. I kept on looking at the menu, since there’s not much else to do when you’re at a cat-themed cafe by yourself. I noticed many of the drinks and food items had cat-themed names, none of which I can remember now. One of them had the word “Miauuu” in it.

I finished the drink in about four seconds, since I have the self control of a Labrador retriever. Then I paid for the drink, which was prohibitively expensive, and exited out to the street and back to El Expiatorio, where they sell tamales for 17 pesos, or, less than a dollar. It was nice to be out of a cat-themed place and into a place that was cathedral-themed, or street-themed, or tamale-themed, or normal-themed, or anything else-themed, a considerable improvement from El Gato Cafe.

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The Best Cafe in Guadalajara

Guadalajara has plenty of becoming places to eat and sip, or so it would seem after my short sojourn here. Much of the time I’ve been here has been spent traipsing around the Bosque de la primavera, an hour and twenty four minutes west of GDL, so my knowledge of the city still leaves a tremendous amount to be desired.

My favorite cafe so far is called El Terrible Juan, located in Colonia America, near the school where I teach, near the American Consulate where I also teach, and near Chapultepec, the most famous area in GDL for nightlife, gastronomy, and restaurants and cafes.

The reason I like El Terrible Juan is one I can’t tell you. It’s embarrassing. But the reason I WILL  tell you is because I like the sandwiches, and because the outside seating area is like sitting in a garden. You’re surrounded by vines and howler monkeys and other creatures of the jungle (minus everything but the vines), and you think at any point an ivy tendril might caress your hand and say, “Come, climb to the canopy with me! Climb! Before it’s too late!”

But the best part of El Terrible Juan, if you’re me at least, is the latte art. Or the lattes. Or the art. One thing I don’t like about this place is how many foreigners there are there. I hear way too much English being spoken, though to be fair, mostly it’s by me. I have yet to enact my “Spanish or Nahuatl Only” rule, but when I do I imagine life will get much more interesting. I imagine this blog will also be harder to read, since I don’t speak Nahuatl, and you probably don’t either. Nahuatl was the language spoken by the Aztecs, and is still (if my numbers are correct, and they always are) spoken by over a million people in Mexico. As far as I know, Nahuatl is not a tonal language like Mixe or Cantonese. In retrospect, I wish I had studied Mixe in Oaxaca instead of Zapoteco, because Mixe sounds prettier than Zapoteco. One must never underestimate the importance of tones. Tonal languages are, as anyone who’s ever hear Thai country music knows, the most beautiful. The most beautiful language that’s not tonal would probably be Finnish, followed in a close second by German. German, as anyone who’s ever heard an angry man spitting while he speaks it, is also a gorgeous, lilting tongue.

But I got off track. The  coffee! The latte art! The vines!