23 March 2010

Inspiration at Grand Central Station

Seeing the whimsical window treatment at Posman Books in Grand Central Terminal was one of the highlights of Monday afternoon. The bookshop is already one of the places that makes you want to slow down in the busy thoroughfare...




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How could I not drink it all in?

Now I'm moved to consider having another tea party at my place. It'll have to wait until May, as I'll be inordinately busy in April. Still, the planning is the best part, and it'll give me something to muse on throughout the hectic pace of this time of the year.

I don't think it'll be quite as mad as what Alice encountered in either the original or recent version of her story, but it's sure to be somewhat silly!

12 March 2010

Two Excellent Teas...

Two interesting names, to say the least.

People always ask me what's my favorite kind of tea. My answer is usually the same as when I'm asked about a favorite book: It Depends. There's a tea for every occasion, every mood, time of day, time of month, weather pattern, health concern - not to mention pairing with food. I don't really play favorites, though just like I lean toward different genres of books, I have tea types that generally appeal to me.

Now, if you were going to ask what's my favorite name for a tea, I could get more specific. "Monkey Picked" is up there with "Iron Goddess of Mercy", and "Dragon Well". These names go way back, and usually refer to true teas. Blenders get even more creative nowadays in marketing their teas, and rightfully so. It's easy enough for an Anglophile like myself to zero in on a catalog that has blends named after streets in London, or after royalty, because it adds to the fantasy. Baker Street Afternoon Blend, from Upton, makes me feel like I'm sharing a pot with Mr. Holmes, while I pour my heart out about a mysterious missing relative. I suppose if it was called "Bohemian Rhapsody Blend", I'd imagine myself in another time and place altogether, but I don't mind. We all need a little whimsy in our lives. Today, though, I'm going to share my thoughts on two of my favorite flavored teas, one a flavored black and the other an herbal, that have quirky names and are worth every sip.

"Amorous Almond" from McNulty's: What makes almond so ardently passionate? Does the agony of the leaves infuse love within the tea taker? These were my musings when I first purchased this black flavored tea. To be sure, it smelled wonderful. I suppose almond oil is added to the leaves, along with little bits of my favorite nut.

Well, all I can say is, the next morning after purchasing it, I did try this tea and was instantly in love. It's not only fragrant, but it tastes magnificent. Not only that, but you don't even want an accompanying pastry. I wouldn't decline one if offered, of course. Still, you know what I mean: have you ever had an exquisite almond pastry? This is pretty darn close. I'd compare it to a Pignoli Tart - with fewer calories. Ahhh...love is in the air.

If you're like me, well, you have my sympathies. But seriously, if you're like me, you can't touch anything caffeinated with a ten foot pole after 4PM and expect to get any sleep at night. Herbal tea's what's needed of an evening, and what can be better than a Rooibos with peppermint and little bits of chocolate? I know, there's probably trace elements of caffeine with the chocolate, but one can't be that sensitive. Some people, however, might take umbrage at the title of this wonderful feast for the senses: it's Tay's "Better Than Sex". That's a real provocative name, and possibly up for debate. Either way, it's really satisfying, and can lead to a good deal of "that's what she said" typed responses.

All told, if you're gonna come up with a conversation-inducing name for your tea, it had better live up to it. These two teas do their best.