28 February 2007

Funny Tea Room Name # 6

Let me preface this by saying that as I've never been to the tearooms in this series, I'm not knocking the tearoom itself - I just love the endless possibilities these entrepreneurs can choose from by simply using the word "tea" in their name. Or should I say possibiliteas? Sorry, couldn't help it.

Teance - Sounds kind of mystical - is someone trying to channel Lu Yu? Or do they mean to rhyme the title with Beyonce? Either way, one of these years I must get out to California, as they seem to have a plethora of tea rooms.

27 February 2007

Trippin' on Treacle

I can't believe I let years go by before having Tea and Sympathy's treacle pudding. This weekend I was reminded of how wonderful life could be, just sitting with a friend in a cozy little British tearoom on a kind of cold February evening. The treacle pudding is just a step away from being too sweet, and just a moment away from perfection. The custard poured on top does not take away from the flavor, it simply enhances it. I do recommend that if you have tea with it (I had chamomile lavender herb tea as it was too late for caffeine), you don't need to add sugar - the treacle provides enough sweetener.

There's nothing more to add. Try it sometime, you'll see what I mean.

23 February 2007

Recycling the Past

What is it with these childhood favorites being remodeled lately?

First Strawberry Shortcake started wearing jeans. Now Holly Hobbie has been reincarnated. Apparently the new Holly is descended from the original, and she has her own TV show. Good for her.

I don't completely disapprove. These latest versions aren't bad role models for little girls - and I don't think Holly or her friends will be shaving their hair off anytime soon. I would never encourage boycotting the products just because I'm nostalgic. I say to parents, Sure, go for it!

I was looking for the classic Holly Hobbie stuff with Bonnie this week, and it's kind of needle in haystack. Though it's not completely extinct, old Holly does play hard to get. Maybe it will become like Classic Pooh, where both version live side by side in harmony.

If only all problems in life were this stressful.

20 February 2007

Candy From a Baby?

So I went to get my taxes done, accompanied by Pam. The wait was slightly long, though not impossibly. We were just a little hungry and suddenly the little candy machine (like the ones in grocery stores but smaller) was looking really good. I had my eye on the Mike and Ike's, so I inserted a quarter and turned the knob. Out of nowhere this little girl came out with her mom, and the girl made a beeline for my candy, sticking her hand in the dispenser and helping herself. I was saying, "no, no" to her, because I was too surprised to say anything else. Then her mother grabbed her and smacked her, yelling all the time. The girl starts shrieking at the highest decibels, of course, and Pam and I just stared in disbelief. Then the happy family leaves...um, without even saying sorry to me or offering a quarter in compensation.

We couldn't help but laugh afterwards, and the rest of the waiting room joined in because that's what happens when the ridiculous happens. It made me think, though. How will the child learn how to behave when all she knows is smacking and screaming? Pretty sad. I may have been out 25 cents, but at least I got a laugh out of it while the kid learned absolutely nothing.

(I still love Mike & Ike's. My teeth don't, though.)

14 February 2007

Taking a Stand

I went to a new tea place in the East Village, called Gramstand. I didn't take any pictures, sorry, basically it was minimalist and clean looking. By the storefront window there are two green armchairs that looked cozy, but they were occupied by two girls chattering. I heard far too many f-words to enjoy my proximity to them.

There were also some lounge-type couches in the back, but as I was alone it didn't feel comfortable. So I settled on a table towards the center.

The service was friendly, order at the counter, and the tea I had, GramStandard, was good - much like Mango Indica. It was the spacing that got on my nerves.

I can't really blame the store owners. The place is large enough, and airy. Sadly, some patrons don't quite grasp the meaning of personal space - on a Sunday afternoon! - and before long I was surrounded by three laptop users. Literally surrounded. I know I have an almost superhuman sense of smell, but I tell you it's not a good situation when you can smell the breath of someone on their laptop, because that's how close he was. Tea and gagging are not a good combination.

I guess my verdict is that it's a decent place for those living roundabouts 14th Street and Avenue A, and I wish my own neighborhood could come up with a similar concept. But for me, it was too far of a walk from my other destination, Trader Joe's, for it to be worth it. I know I live and work in a crowded city, and I'm a laptop person myself, but people need to respect other people's space, just a little bit. And maybe there is something the Gramstand owners can do - after all some of my favorite tea places (Teany, Tea and Sympathy, Sympathy for the Kettle) are not large at all, and yet I don't get the feeling that I'm about to be crushed by a hovering laptop.

I do give points for a decent bathroom.

12 February 2007

My Tea Things #2

Combining two things I feel for: Sherlock Holmes and tea. Anyone who has shopped in the touristy areas of London will recognize this type of teapot: some come with pictures of English royalty, others have well known sites like castles and still others show scenes from famous British literature.

I've already gushed about Sherlock Holmes, and I'm not ready for a repeat performance. I've actually had a bit of trouble watching my beloved Jeremy Brett version, as this was something I shared with my Dad in the last few months of his life...I just can't bring myself to watch those shows anymore. Still, I love this teapot and its shape is just perfect - functional and scenic.
I will try to feature something for #3 that won't remind me of something sad.

06 February 2007

The Ultimate Love/Hate Relationship

My feelings on Grand Central Terminal all depend on the time of day I'm there.
Midday it's usually a decent place to stroll around. Most people are in lunch mode, and are sauntering about, looking at the shops or heading for the dining level. This is a nice time to head for Posman Books, a small bookshop but okay for browsing. I remember before the more recent renovation there was a Barnes and Noble, but I'm kind of glad it's not in Grand Central as it would be an overload I think. There's a L'Occitaine En Provence, which I sometimes visit during the sales. There are two Starbucks and an Oren's Daily Roast, not to mention the Grand Central Market, with is frenzied fancy food. I go there for my occasional Devon Cream fix. Did I mention there's a Junior's? You can't complain about the shops. This time of year one is thankful to be near a place that is shielded from the outdoors (it's beyond cold this week).
Here is the hate portion of the relationship: rush hour. Tons of commuters mingle with hordes of tourists in a mad dash for their destinations. Some days I get upset that I can't stand still for a moment without getting trampled on, and on other occasions I am frustrated at the folks who just don't move fast enough. There are passageways everywhere, and constant threat of collision.
In these ways I guess Grand Central Terminal/Station truly represents New York.
By the way, I took these pictures during a mid morning break. As I snapped one pic the flash went off and some guy passing in range kept repeating "Did you get me? Did you get me?" I pretended not to hear him.

02 February 2007

Not Petit on Taste

Le Petit Prince is on Broadway in Astoria, on the same block as Tierras Colombianas and steps away from many notable Greek restaurants. It's one of the best things to happen to Astoria in recent years. The breakfast pastries are out of this world, and their tea! They use Mighty Leaf as their supplier, and may I say it is mighty fine (the teabags are of good quality, therefore forgivable.) Here I've had one of the best Darjeeling teas in my life.
The tarts are sublime, actually everything I've tasted so far has been just about perfect. Even the Fraisier was enjoyable, and I don't normally eat strawberries. C'est Magnifique!
My sweet tooth is fully satisfied.