Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Streetcar Named Desire

Footprints on "GLORIA."

These twins look eerily like another set of twins.

"Kato" (You mean like Bruce Lee?).


"R.I.P." What's the "MORAL"?

Wandering Washington Square Park

Photo montage taken April 18. Washington Square Park, NY.

NYC's Coffee + Tea Fest and Ktown Cool-off

This is how we do.

At the Coffee and Tea Festival, Chloe and I downed tea sample after tea sample, ranging from persimmon to chocolate rooibos and even these goofy-looking organic coffee pouches that made us feel like we were chewing paper. Our collective favorites were Serendipitea and Tay Tea. Try Serendipitea's Buccaneer (Coconut, Chocolate Bits, Vanilla, Rooibos, Nilgiri, Indian Black Tea) and Tay Tea's caffeine-free Better Than Sex ("A sinfully delicious rooibos blend with bits of Belgian dark chocolate and peppermint"). Joe Tea was another winner with their cold Classic lemonade that actually tasted like real, fresh-squeezed lemons, rather than a sugar pill.

I think I would have appreciated the Korean tea brand Hancha a bit more if the green teas had actually been brewed properly. Due to mass production sampling, they left in the teabags longer than originally intended, lending each of their teas a bitter acidity. "Earth," a green tea, had a rustic flavor that almost tricked me into believing I had munched on grass. Not sure if that's a good thing...

Yoon Hee Kim from the Korean Tea Culture Foundation (also the owner of Hancha) demonstrated a Korean loose leaf tea ceremony. Unfortunately, it was hard to see what she was doing since she did not have a raised platform to view the ceremony and instead poured tea from ground level. Kim went into a detailed history of tisane tea and how Korean teas, specifically green tea, are now becoming more popular in other parts of the world. Chloe noted how she kept making eye contact with us (because we're so Korean...actually, we're not).

A scruffy, nondescript guy in a black hoodie and skinny jeans (doesn't this sound like a lot of people?) was peddling his photography. Next to no one stopped by his stand. Tough crowd.

When I passed by the Sacred Rose booth, a woman accosted me with a bottle of what looked like aromatherapy oil. However, upon closer inspection, it was actually rose elixir. She squeezed a drop onto my hand. I thought she wanted me to sniff it, but then she told me, "Lick it." With some hesitancy, I acquiesced. Nothing harmful, but it didn't exactly knock my socks off.

And what is this rose elixir supposed to do again? According to the flyer, it "softens and heals the heart with love to forgive the past pain that women have endured and encoded in their bones." A bit of a stretch, but um, sure.

Other highlights:
Zen Green Tea Liqueur: The suited up Japanese guy manning the booth made cocktails with the liqueur. The zesty, tart lemon-green tea concoction was so invigorating that we went for seconds. We hope Booth Man didn't notice. ("Really, you haven't seen us before. We're all Asian and we all..uh..look alike.") If only he'd given away a bottle of that stuff. I'd readily take up bartending if I had this liqueur on my hit list.

Some recipes:
1 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
2 parts Skyy Vodka
A splash of Fresh lime juice
Shake and serve in a martini glass.

Zen Saketini
1 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
2 parts Dry Sake
Shake and serve in a martini glass.

Zen Breeze (Virgin)
1 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
2 parts White Cranberry Juice
Serve in a tall glass over ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

Zen Milkshake (Looks highly adventurous. Attempt at your own discretion.)
2 parts Zen Green Tea Liqueur
1 part Skyy Vanilla Vodka
2 parts milk
Shake well; strain into martini glass. If desired garnish with a very small scoop of green tea ice cream.

Potential DESSERT usage: Served over vanilla ice cream or used as a glaze over a pastry dessert.

I spotted a woman chomping on a big ole raspberry croissant and followed her flaky trail. I ended up at A Taste of Home and stuck around to joke with the proprietor -

Me: What's the name of this?
Him: That would be a chocolate chip cookie.
Me: (thinking it was going to be some special, intricate name) Ah, I see. How about this? (points to another pastry)
Him: Mm..brownie.
Me: (Chomps on one, feeling stupider by the minute) Oh, they're good.
Him: Would you like to give it a name?
Me: How about Bob?
Him: Sounds good to me. You can name it whatever you want. :winks:

Ban chon. My favorite part of the meal.

Two hours later and all this liquidage has made me uber hungry. While we're not claiming Korean heritage, what do we go for? ......Korean! At Hangang.

It was a hot day - I was wearing jeans and sneakers, and the jeans were starting to stick to the back of my thighs. Gross. Should've gone with a skirt...

Oddly enough, Chloe and I were both craving the same thing, Mul naengmyun: slices of beef and vegetables over chilled noodles in cold beef broth soup. And loads of ban chon to go with it (a salad with ginger dressing and eight side dishes we couldn't finish, though we did our best).

Mul naengmyun, take 1.

Though Chloe says it's not the best mul naengmyun she's tasted, I was just relieved that the cool broth was rubbing off on my internal temperature. Within ten minutes I could feel the positive effect of the ginger-infused soup. Plus, I loved the starchy, chewy texture of the buckwheat noodles. The beef, however, was on the dry side.

Mul naengmyun, take 2.

Charmsoju. How...charming?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Admittedly, I've never tried mul naengmyun before, so I don't have much to compare it to. However, this cooling soup is the perfect antidote to an overdose of sun exposure. And who can resist the ban chon? My personal favorites are the dried squid and potatoes.

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