Sunday, November 13, 2005

the sympathetic nod


In compensation for not being able to attend the Chocolate Show, an extravanza of a substance which Robyn most appetizingly called, "the best turd colored food in existence," I bought a nice bar of Jacques Torres Wickedly Spiced 60% Dark Chocolate. Best $5 therapy I ever had. The description on the site says: Imagine what dark chocolate with ancho and chipotle chilis would do to you. It's a warm penetrating heat in your throat. Share this with someone special. I think sharing with all my selves count. They're all nodding back at me with ancho chili smiles.

Anyhow, last week, I was supposed to meet some friends for tea on Monday. When we were on the phone discussing a meeting place, I was clearly not really paying attention. I said something about tea and I said something about sympathy and see ya there. I went to Sympathy for the Kettle while my friend went to Tea and Sympathy. Our collective sympathetic bads.

I decided to go meet them as I'd never been to the Brit ex-pat outpost. We met up at, well, a café across the street (called "Soy". yeah seriously.) because there are rules. You follow the rules at Tea and Sympathy. The customer is not always right. You can't be seated without the whole party. But I brought the party and we entered the cosy establishment. (There are some rules on the door and on the menu - stuff like you can stay if there's nobody around but leave if there are people waiting. $9 something minimum per person. etc etc)

The atmosphere was at once warm and butter-like. In that it smelled like butter. It was fantastic. You can come here for traditional English fare like shepherd's pie, baked beans on toast, welsh rarebit and pretend you're in the land of the queen mum. Our service was brisk but not unfriendly. My friends got scones and something with rhubarb, I don't remember. And I got warm spicy ginger cake. I was unprepared because I didn't realize it was a pudding. So it was warm spicy ginger cake in a bath of warm custard. I was positively giddy. GIDDY with custard and cake sugary joy. Paired with black ginger tea, perfectly brewed and tea strainer provided (I kept forgetting to use it), it was a lovely nighttime teatime. It sounds kinda pricey for tea time but it was just as expensive as a fancy martini. CUSTARDDDDD!!!

I also found Teamap, a pretty nice tea directory with pictures and reviews etc. so go find a new tea house and drink a cuppa.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

I'm so sorry that you couldn't come to the chocolate show! We can do our own chocolate hunt! :) Or just food hunt. Or sugar hunt. Ooohh.
The most I've gotten at Tea & Sympathy was...a pack of fruit candies at their take-out shop. About that soy place, someone in my Food Management class did a presentation about it last year! I never heard of it before but then...there it was. I suppose it does pretty well.
One of my friends loves Alice's Tea Cup. Perhaps we should go? Hehehehehe.
Custard is awesome.