Monday, March 24, 2014

Beer and tea

This was a pretty busy weekend, and one that started with a book club on Friday. Sam's niece was staying with us that night, so I made some cookie dough for the two of them to bake while I was gone. I was thinking it was just for their sake because I'm nice, but really it's also pretty awesome to return to fresh-baked cookies.

The reason Sam's niece was staying with us was because her parents were running a half marathon in Queens on Saturday morning. Naturally, we woke up, bummed around, and made blueberry pancakes. Basically the antitheses of running 13.1 miles. We did make it out to Corona Park and the finish line in time to see them cross it though. We were hanging out at the finish line for about a half hour, and it really is fun to cheer on strangers, and to see the different reactions on people's faces when they finally make it.

They held hands crossing the finish line, which was cute.  
That night, we went with a friend to see a Czech band at the Czech Consulate. I must say, since my Czech friend has moved to the city, I definitely do a lot more Czech events. I'd been to one other event at the Czech Consulate before (a suitably depressing documentary about Stalin's gulags); however, Saturday's event was a free concert by an alternative rock band called Please the Trees. When we got there, we were surprised to find the audience was roughly the same demographic as for the gulag movie: mostly people over 60. It was not your typical rock concert audience, but all I knew about the band was that the poster my friend sent me had a naked woman on it, so maybe they had a greater reach? There was no chairs as generally befits a rock concert, but after enough people agitated for them chairs were brought.

The band eventually took the stage to a smattering of applause. Then they actually started to play. I'm not exaggerating when I say that within 30 seconds of their starting to play, about ten people got up and left. I think a lot of the audience were just people who come to all the events at the Czech Consulate  out of habit, and they hadn't actually investigated what this on was. In their defense, the band was not "a less exposed Arcade Fire" as advertised. They were interesting. We all agreed their covers were excellent, and their own songs a little less so. The lead singer actually had a pretty cool voice, and I think part of the problem was the equipment they were working with, but they also seemed to be rehearsing new dance moves or something. Something about their stage presence didn't quite gel. They do get points for a good band name though.

At one point the singer put down his guitar and put on a creepy wicker mask. Again, they could probably work on their staging a bit. 
After the concert (we stayed for the whole thing because we felt bad about their audience hemorrhaging so early), we went to the excellent beer hall below the Czech Consulate which serves a number of traditional pilsners. Now that was worth the trip.

On Sunday, I met at friend at the Coffee and Tea Festival which is my new favorite festival. It was in an armory pretty close to my office, but I've somehow never noticed this huge building. You could smell the hot beverage goodness wafting out of it before you even walked in the door. Inside there were tons of booths with different tea sellers, many of whom I'd never heard of. I would say it was 70% tea and 30% coffee, which was fine with me because while I drink a fair amount of coffee, I'm not much of a connoisseur, but tea I can get behind.

The land of tea and coffee!
We tried some interesting blends including one that was a tea but actually has espresso in it as well. I came away with enough samples to get me through the rest of the tea season (I don't really do ice tea, so once it gets hot here, I quit drinking the stuff). I actually only bought one box of tea at the expo, and that was less because of the tea (although it was good), and more because of the packaging. A mother and her two daughters run the tea company that grows all of their tea in Kenya. The packaging is all unique pictures of African life made out of banana leaves by local women who are paid a living wage. I'm not going to open it until I finish all my tea samples, so if I don't get to it by the time it gets warm here, I might make a gift of it, if any of my reader's are interested. The tea itself is a rooibos.
You can kind of see the cute packaging in this photo. 

Anyway, that about sums up my weekend. It's supposed to snow again this week, which doesn't really seem possible. But hey, at least I have tea.


  1. OMG there are tea festivals!!?? I have to find one in my area. I went to a chocolate (and wine) festival recently and it was awesome, but I realized some of my favorite booths were the tea ones that had somehow snuck in.

  2. This is the one we went to and it appears to only be in NYC and Philly, but I'm sure there are others: I only heard about it because my friend saw a groupon, but it was a lot of fun.