Tea Service at Cha-An

I went with my bookish friend, A, to Cha-An last week for dinner. They are located on the second floor and as of last week they only take cash.

They are rather small, and have a tea room in which they do 30 minutes Japanese Tea Ceremonies. Inside it’s very nice; the decor is very earthy and peaceful.

I decided to do the Afternoon Tea Set ($18) which came with two bagel sandwiches, scones with preserves and cream, an assortment of sweets and tea of your choice. The bagels were on the small side but were soft and yummy. I loved the salmon that came with the sandwich. I chose the genmaicha tea, which had a very earthy taste due to the rice that sits soaking in the tea. I loved it! I forgot the tea that A had, but I remembered that it was a fruity one and she liked it as well.

The bagels came in a little basket, but I was too hungry to remember to take a photo of it. I did remember to take a photo of the dessert though. It came with a green tea macaroon which was yummy. The scones were crunchy on the outside — due to some sugar-like crystals — but was soft on the inside.

The mochi dessert was A’s choice; all three were chocolate mochi and it was delicious!

The portions were small but filling, which was good. Usually tea services are so large that it’s difficult to finish it all; however, I was able to finish everything without issue. I’d definitely go here again; their lunch menu looks delicious.

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Brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup

I’ve been a patron to all three Chapters of Alice’s Tea Cup and every time I go I usually get the tea service, as there are usually people in my party who have never had tea or been to Alice’s. So when my friends and I decided to go to Alice’s for brunch, I was excited. Ecstatic. Practically giddy with excitement, and I must say, Alice’s did not disappoint.

The brunch menu had a lot of choices, including the regular tea service; however, while I did want tea, I wanted something more breakfast-like and so I decided to go with French Toast. The toast was infused with apricot brandy and it also had fruit coulis, vanilla creme anglaise and a few berries alongside.

I have to say, this was the best french toast I’ve ever had! I want to go back just to have the french toast! It was amazing. Fabulous. Fantastic. Magnificent and such.

 

My companions had some egg dishes which they enjoyed. I heard the potatoes were delicious! As usual, Alice’s did not disappoint.

The Whitney Museum and Foursquare

The Whitney Museum of American Art partnered with Foursquare back in February. Their partnership offered a badge to users – after checking in to certain places – so that the cost of admission for anyone with the badge would be $5 (as opposed to the usual $18). I visited the museum this past weekend, using the discounted price, and took a stroll through the exhibits.

A few of the exhibitions stood out to me. The Glenn Ligon exhibit was pretty heavy. It is available until June 5th and has a number of prints, photos, drawing and even some neon lights. It’s not light hearted and whimsical, it practically reaches out and punches you in the gut. I’ve never thought about my minority status in society as much as I did while walking through this exhibit.

I’ve been lucky to be unaffected by racism or prejudice when it comes to my colour and womanhood — or, if I have been subjected to any prejudice I haven’t noticed. However, while walking through this exhibit one thing struck me, that thing is, at a young age I never knew colour. I never looked at my brown hands and thought, oh, I’m brown and that person is white or black. I just saw people. Even now all I see are faces and humans and I’m glad for that bit of colourblindness.  However, it was only when another person voiced it that I realised that we were all different. I appreciate the differences and can understand the need to cling to your own “group” so to say, but I still don’t quite grasp it as I never feel comfortable with only one race or one social class.

One of the things that stood out to me about this exhibit wasn’t just colour, but also the need to be a part of a group, or to have an identity. It’s a longing inside everyone to be a part of something greater. That’s what grasped me most of all.

One of my favourite pieces was on the fifth floor. It was the Walk, Don’t Walk sculpture by George Segal, made to represent pedestrians in New York who move along in a zombie-like state as they carry on with their day.

I can understand this piece. Sometimes I feel the same way. When I walk down the streets it’s usually to get from one place to the next. Many times I have my ipod in my ears and I hardly pay attention to the people around me. No smiles, no chatting with strangers, just pure focus on getting to my destination. It amazes me that I could stand so close to someone on the sidewalk, waiting for the light to change and not even realise that they are there. How robotic it seems. Then there are times when I make an attempt to be aware and to see what’s going on around me. During these times I get a glimpse of beauty of the city I live and work in, or snatches of conversations that reveal a lot about the people around me. For example, there was a time when a woman on her phone was arguing with her significant other. I felt sorry for her, I wanted to give her a tissue so that she could wipe the tears that she was holding back. Couldn’t the other person wait until she was home to have this conversation? I thought. I didn’t act on my impulse, because if I did I would be breaking that unspoken rule, you do not listen to other people’s conversations, even if it’s happening right next to you. You just pretend that you don’t hear and you carry on your life.

The Breaking Ground: The Whitney’s Founding Collection was perhaps my favourite exhibition. According to their website:

At the turn of the twentieth century, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an heiress and sculptor born to one of America’s wealthiest families, began to assemble a rich and highly diverse collection of modern American art. This group of objects, combined with a trove of new works purchased around the time of the Whitney Museum’s opening in 1931, came together to form the founding collection.

The portrait of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was my favourite in this exhibit, I’m not sure why, it just caught my eye and reminded me of another time and another society. Then of course my imagination took over. What happened in that time? What happened right before, or after, or even during this painting? What was the world like?

I’m really glad that Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney decided to follow her dream as a sculptor and open a museum for American Art. I think it’s important to see our culture captured through art of all forms. The expression of an artist – what they are going through, how they view the world – is very important for others to experience. I think that once we can see the world through another’s eyes, it becomes difficult to ignore others and to stay in our little bubble. I was glad to have experienced a bit of the past, a bit of another person’s point of view and also to understand a bit more of myself through the art I saw.

The partnership and lower admission cost goes on until May 31st, I would highly recommend foursquare-ers to take advantage of it! Also, all images here were from the Whitney Museum website. I couldn’t take photos while inside, which is sad, but understandable. I’m just glad the website had the images that I wanted to keep in memory.

Meeting Holly, Cassandra and Lauren

I went to Books of Wonder last week — a great place for all ages! They were hosting a book signing event with Holly Black (LOVE her Faerie stories), Cassandra Clare (fan of her Infernal Devices series) and Lauren DeStefano (debut author of Wither) and a lot of people showed up!

The ladies read from their upcoming books and then did a bit of Q&A. I found the story of who Magnus is based on to be quite fun. I also loved Lauren’s eyeshadow (though you can’t really see it in the photo below).

There were a lot of people so it took me an hour to get my books signed! It would have taken longer, but someone was kind and gave me an earlier number.

I really wanted to chat with Holly and tell her that I was the nerd who graphed her word count for Black Heart. But I realised until later that the best time to speak to an author is while they are signing, even though I feel as though I’m interrupting them if I do. It’s quite hard to just stand there and wait until they are done because once the book is returned to you it’s as though your turn is over and well, it’s just awkward. Take my word for it .

It also doesn’t help that I’m super shy when it comes to strangers. So much so that when Cassie asked me what character I liked best instead of saying Clary I said Cassie. Le Sigh. I THINK I played it off well enough, but I won’t be surprised if she thought I was strange.

I loved that they gave us postcards from the characters in the book. Tres magnifique!

They also gave us a sampling of the books to come. I can’t wait to read Wither, however, it’s on a to-read list for now. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll be able to start. I love dystopian stories, especially because of the sci-fi side that they can take on. It’s fun to see the future others are dreaming and their thoughts on governments having full control.

The next big book event for me is BEA. I really hope I find my voice and am not shy there. I want it to rock!

Alice’s Tea Cup: Chapter II

‘Take some more tea,’ the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
‘I’ve had nothing yet,’ Alice replied in an offended tone, ‘so I can’t take more.’
‘You mean you can’t take LESS,’ said the Hatter: ‘it’s very easy to take MORE than nothing.’

Do you love tea? Do you love whimsical? Are you a fan of Lewis Carroll? If you answered YES to any of those questions then Alice’s Tea Cup is for you!

I love their scones – buttermilk, ham & cheese … yum …

I love their teas – this time I had the Ginger Orange Peach … yum …

I love their almost famous mocha cake!

I love that some of the tables have antique sewing machine foot pedals as their base.

I love the butterfly wings on the walls.

Most importantly, I love going there with friends.

Have you ever been to Alice’s to discuss books? Give it a try, you might end up at a bookstore afterwards, purchasing $50 worth of books!

Strolling around New York

Monday I took a walk around the city. I was meeting a friend for tea and had some time so I decided to walk around.

Then I decided to take photos (with my phone) of things I found interesting. Like this really intricate window frame.

Or these plants that look like women dancing in gowns.

But mostly I enjoyed the day, and enjoyed imagining – what would it be like to live in that blue attic? – and seeing and every now and then, appreciating.

The Roses on Park Avenue

The Roses is the work of artist Will Ryman and is on display on Park Avenue (from around 57th street to 67th street) until May 2011.

It’s like taking a step out of the real world and landing in Wonderland. These oversizes roses, petals and bugs are beautiful and having the city as it’s background add a layer of whimsical to it.

I recommend checking this out before they are plucked away at the end of May.

[more pictures on Flickr]