two teas

I went to the TenRen tea store in SF the other day and picked up two boxes of Chinese teas which I knew very little about. The first is a Pu-Erh, which is black, smoky, and somewhat fermented smelling. Although quite pungent, it didn’t taste nearly as strong, but it does form a dark heavy liquor. When it comes to smoky teas, I prefer Lapsang Souchong. A good Lapsang is like a fine peaty single-malt. How’s that for snobbery?

The other was the Ti Kuan Yin tea, named for the “Iron Goddess of Mercy.” I’m a bit of a sucker for those fantasy-novel-esque names, but this tea was light and refreshing, with a pleasant amber liquor and very little bitterness. Deb called it standard Chinese restaurant tea, but I found it to be better than that, probably because it was a single serving and not heated in a huge vat for hours.

The TenRen store is a pretty cheap way of getting samples of new teas, and since my tea-knowledge to this date has been very India-centric, I suspect there’s a lot to explore.


holy mackerel

I had a picnic today with Darcy of Kaseri and Morbier cheeses, a ciabatta from Semifreddi’s, and smoked peppered mackerel, washed down with some sparkling cider. It was tasty, but even after vigorous soapy handwashing my fingers still smell strongly of mackerel. Which is not a terrible thing, but a bit disconcerting. I wonder what Lady Macbeth would do…

Prick Up Your Ears

I recently saw Prick Up Your Ears, a biopic based on a book based by John Lahr (played by Wallace Shawn) about Joe Orton (played by Gary Oldman), a promising and very funny British playwright who was murdered by his ex-lover, Ken Halliwell (played by Alfred Molina). To those who say Oldman and Molina are not good actors, this film should prove you wrong. It’s a fine bit of work, and quite riveting for the entire 110 minutes. The director Stephen Frears of My Beautiful Laundrette fame, another gem of a film. And I’m not saying that because it has brown people in it.

Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance

by John Arden. This British play, from 1959, is stunningly relevant to our situation today. John Musgrave, a army serjeant, has deserted with three other soldiers, carrying with them a Gatling gun and a skeleton of a murdered comrade. He goes to the victim’s town, a small mining village in the middle of a dispute between the colliery workers and the owners in order to impress upon them the horrors of war, and the terrible arithmetic and Logic of murder. He calls all the town together and unveils the skeleton, dressed in uniform, in order to incite the workers to kill the mayor.
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