Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Precious

There is an article in today's NY Times about the proliferation of tea houses and tea purveyors in Portland, OR (it's in the Travel Section). And my first thought: it's all too precious. Of course this could also be a knee-jerk reaction to the subtle "Orientalism" of the whole tea fetish that seems to have swept through this section of the Pacific Northwest, with Moroccan inspired tea rooms, Japanese tea ceremonies, and people talking about the virtues of various Chinese white tea blends and Indian chais. Blah.

Is it just me or does it seem to be that certain things lend themselves to this type of preciousness--like tea--and that at the end of the day, what's so wrong with a bag of Lipton's? Of course, I am being hypocritical to a certain extent as a self-professed "foodie," but I also know that while I may prefer to have Creme Brulee for dessert when I'm out for a nice evening meal, there is also pure pleasure in a plate of Oreo cookies, and I actually prefer Log Cabin syrup to real maple syrup because that corn syrup/maple flavoring infused stuff is the taste I grew up on and therefore the taste I prefer.


JoAnna said...

My favorite tea place in Los Angeles in Chado's Tea Room. It's my postcolonial tea spot, where South Asian Americans have appropriated the traditional English High Tea. They have "modernized" or updated the food offerings with items like blueberry scones, cranberry chicken salad sandwiches and a tepanade and watercress cream cheese sandwiches. They also offer hundreds of kinds of tea from chrysanthemum and mate to fanatasy fruit flavors and fine black teas. I may also love the spot because the food is straight up yum!

Jennifer said...

Sounds definitely yummy! Actually, I have to confess for my own fondness for "high tea" -- in all it's colonial glory. The best tea I went to was at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. It was opulence incarnate--you could smell the colonial ghosts wafting from the damask drapes and the plush carpet and the silver service. It was pretty pricey for tea and nibbles--in 1997, $50/head (and this is when the conversion rate was definitely in the favor of US currency because of a recent Asian market slump). But it was worth it for the experience, and the tea and nibbles were amazing.