09 November 2012

There You Are!

I'd been disappointed when The Tea and Honey Store vanished from its Grand Central Terminal spot.  It had always been a welcome site for me when I emerged from my obnoxious morning commute, in a way that perhaps only Lush would compete with (what with its olfactory appeal and all.)  But then my office moved locations, and since I rarely find myself in Grand Central it didn't matter as much to me.

This Sunday, I paid a visit to the City to go to the Frick Collection to see the drawings from the Cortauld Gallery, and van Gogh's Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier).  It was a bit crowded, but worth it.  After I'd had enough headed back a roundabout way to the F train, which is not my normal station, but the trains were still a little off-schedule after the storm.  I won't complain about this, since as I mentioned before, my area was hardly affected by 'Sandy', and therefore I'm in Thankful Mode.  Anyway, I passed DAVID's Tea on Third Avenue, then Alice's Tea Cup on 64th Street, and lo and behold, on the same street as the 'F' train's 63rd Street Station was The Tea and Honey Store!  Well, that was a pleasant surprise.  I didn't actually shop there since I really need to save for London and my upcoming root canal of doom, but I was happy to see it nevertheless. 

It's also further proof that we're developing another 'Tea Strip' in Manhattan.  The West Village has a whole section that keeps it the top tea-lover's destination, but the east 60s is giving it a run for its money.  And I have no problem with that.
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01 November 2012

Not TOO Shabby

After coming out on the unscathed side of 'Hurricane Sandy', I almost feel bad about having a First World Problems whine-fest. With all the time I had off this week, I should be writing about all the books I was able to finish recently, but that's not quite ready yet.  I've had this post on the back burner since last week, however, so here it is:

As you all know, one of my favorite activities is drinking tea.  I find the taste is enhanced when it's served in a pretty teacup.  Is the taste actually better?  I mean, does the shape affect the heat distribution or the pathway to the taste buds, making it a better experience, or it is just aesthetically pleasing? I'm inclined to believe the former, since there's a specific design of glass for nearly every type of wine and liquor.  The principal must apply to tea. 

I'm generally satisfied having my tea at home, but it's always a treat when I get to go out to a tea shop, especially when it's specifically tea-related and not an oh-by-the-way-here's-some-tea-if-you-don't-want-coffee joint.  One of the reasons I love this is the chance to try, not just different kinds of tea and cakes, but different teacups as well.  To me, it's one of those non-necessities of life that just make life a tiny bit more tolerable.  And, if you're paying royally, you might as well feel like a princess. 

A non-tea comparison would be going for a manicure.  If you have two decent-working hands, you can easily give yourself a mani/pedi.  You go out to a salon so that you can sit back and get the full treatment.  In my case the little massage makes it worth forking over those hard-earned dollars from time to time. 

Generally, when I go out to tea, I do feel like I'm treated well.  When there's an exception, I'll rant about it here.  If it's really excellent service, I will try to be effusive in my praise - I want to be a positive person.  So what terrible experience have I had recently?  None, thankfully.  I've just noticed something in my more frequented places that's slowly been getting on my nerves, and that's The Inferiority of the Teacups.  Why am I given cups that are chipped if I didn't order the Disney's Beauty and the Beast special?  Then there's the fadey cups - one too many lips have sipped from these guys.  And, probably the worst, are the Just Plain Boring cups that I could find in any diner. 

What gives?  I don't mind the cups not matching the saucer, as long as it's done in a mildly charming way, and I don't need pristine Royal Doulton for heaven's sake, but a little effort would go miles toward improvement. 

I like shabby chic.  I do.  I have to: my apartment is the poster child for shabby, with the occasional chic thrown in.  Zenobia makes sure no furniture is fresh and scratch-free.  My teacups, though, tend to be in lovely shape.  This is despite the fact that I use them often.  The ones that fade to blahness either get replaced, reused, or kept out of the way when I have company.  Why?  Because hospitality calls for this.  You give whatever your best is - unless said company is too clumsy for comfort, or a child who can't help himself.   Either way, my apartment is not a business - nobody receives a bill at the end of a visit to my home.  When I go out to tea, though, I tend to have to shell out a lot.  The least that can be done is a pretty teacup!