21 October 2005


My life has been completely uneventful in the past few weeks. I've read some good books and complained about the weather, but nothing really momentous.

Well, I had my first root canal. It's something. So boring. They had Who Wants to be a Millionaire on the TV during some of the procedure, but trivia shows are so fun when you can't shout out the answer. In my case I did get some correct answers, but all I could say was "ahgl" which didn't make any sense. Then a soap opera came on, to my utmost horror. Why is it that every time I've been subjected to one of these shows they play the same restaurant scene? A middle-aged couple sits at a table - not that they ever eat anything. Sometimes they have a glass of wine, which they will peer over seductively. There is the same dull piano tune playing in the background, and the couple is never interrupted by a waiter. I exercised all my self-restraint to keep from gagging, between that and "Mr. Thirsty".

There has been a possible death in my cat family. Not Zeno or Sino, of course, but the gang that eats dry food from our kitchen window. A black cat we call Sweetie has not showed up in considerable time. She was the last of four kittens that started coming to our window in 1999. There were 2 black cats and 2 tiger cats. The female tiger, Peep, was the friendliest. Sweetie was the only one who never allowed us to touch her. Perhaps she was the smartest, as the rest of the gang got bumped off within 2 years' time. Now there are all new cat families out there. Though Sweetie peacefully co-existed with them (with the exception of a family of orange cats that didn't last long), she had one long-term companion: a black and white tom whom I still haven't named. They were spotted mating, cuddling, and sharing food. Now he comes to the window alone, which he hardly ever did when Sweetie was around. I think foul play was involved, though 6 years is a long life-span for an outdoor cat.

Well, life goes on, hopefully a little more lively in the upcoming weeks. Are you still awake?

10 October 2005

Under the Weather

Look at my babies. I stayed home most of the day on Saturday - it was pouring out, come on! The window was open, with a screen in it of course. Both Sino and Zeno started sniffing the air by the window, like it was the most wonderful thing. Actually, it was quite nice.

P.S. Love the new Barnes and Noble on 46th and 5th - right near my job! Though it was a little chilly inside, it was just what the area needed. Bon and I indulged...

06 October 2005

In Astoria?

I must say I was floored when I found out there would be an actual tea room in my own town. The only thing surpassing this pleasant surprise was the fact that they use loose tea in real teapots! Shock of all shocks! I don't have to walk to Woodside or Flushing anymore; even better, I don't have to jump on the 7 train.

The Himalaya Teahouse is on 31st Avenue, which is a bit risky since it's the avenue least likely to be called a restaurant strip in Astoria. Still, it makes for a more peaceful experience. The inside is painted in dark blue and yellow. Usually the lighting is rather dim, but the staff occasionally adjust the lighting so one can actually read the menu. Generally I prefer a light situation I could read a good book with, instead of giving me the feeling that I may have stumbled into an opium den.

As for the menu...I love love love, and maybe I love, the fact that there is a wide variety of tea. Black, green, oolong, rooibos, flavored, herbal, iced, they got it all. Hot tea is served in Yixing teapots, which stay hot for quite a long time. As for iced tea, I recommend the matcha lemonade. It makes Starbucks' version taste like cod liver oil in comparison! Starbucks is no match-a for this place (wow that was corny), except when it comes to the food department. The dumplings are just fine, probably the best food on the menu. I haven't tried the soup yet, but I'm not usually up for soup when I'm already drinking hot tea. The soy beans in their pods with sea salt sprinkled on top....not really. Overpriced and incredibly boring. Finally, the dessert. It's some kind of flat pastry crust thing, perhaps reminiscent of what comes of baking in the high altitudes of the Himalayas. It tastes fine, but when it comes to tea treats, I feel an Oliver Twist line coming on.

The staff is friendly, no complaints there. The server, I should find out his name, told me they may have butter tea available soon. Sounds gross, but I must try it once.

Overall, I really like the Himalaya Teahouse, and hope it stays open! A few finger sandwiches might help, though.