We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, January 10. 2011
(I hope this is my most inane post of 2011)
I don't get to malls very often, I am happy to say. Basically never, but I did join the Mrs. to check out Teavana on Sunday afternoon. We had run out of good tea. They had one of the Help Wanted signs. The place was busy. Help Wanted signs all over the place.
Well, it was a bit of an adventure for me. "Bird Dog Goes To The Mall." Your editor goes to lots of places, and loves to bang around NYC, but not malls or shops unless Home Depot counts. Nice clean mall with natural light and Palm trees all over. Packed with people, but I tried to avoid taking their photos. The main thing I noticed was the small-d democratic nature of the populace there. All types, all colors, every apparent level of evident prosperity or lack thereof, all languages, all ages, strolling, laughing, window-shopping, and joking around. A day off work. In the tea place, I heard German, Japanese, Chinese, French, and something I could not identify.
An agora. People having fun, spending money, looking at stuff. Too bad they couldn't have built a similar phenomenon on the town's streets, but perhaps people like the feeling of enclosure and predictability.
More Mall Adventure pics below -
If they know your wife by name at Neims, you're in trouble.
The people working at the teavana place had learned a lot about tea. I learned that you are never supposed to use boiling-hot water for tea.
Burberry Children? Good grief.
This is just one wing of the place:
There was a long line at the Starbucks. I guess I ended up walking into the tea place with a cup of black House Blend. Blasphemy.
Altogether an excellent adventure into a piece of America, but that should hold me for a few years. We did buy some nice teas which Mrs. BD took the trouble to pick out with the help of the nice people working there. She very much enjoyed her tea education.
Tracked: Jan 11, 04:58
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White plains mall? The one where you have to pay to park in their garage?
Ventured down to civilization. If it's free, it ain't worth the trip or the money. Usually, not always...
Christopher Hitchens in his column last week in Slate stated just the opposite of the advice Teavana gave. Proper English tea requires water to be boiling as it is poured over the tea in the cup or kettle, says Hitch.
Due to life's unexpected twists, I have not been to the mall in about seven years. Of course the good mall is a three hour drive from the farm now. Had no idea there was a Teavana thing.
Remember the Saturday Night Live sketch about the Tape Store at the mall? They sold rolls of Scotch tape. Eventually there must be a store for everything, if our society retains enough pockets of affluence.
The future is here now. There is usually a website out there that specializes in selling all instances of anything you could desire. However ... a quick google search couldn't find a "all tapes" store, but "www.shop3m.com" comes pretty close. I recommend 3M duct tape #8979 for your apocalypse grab bag. It stuck to and sealed a painted wood window frame through 7 days of rain, then came right off when needed.
Neiman Marcus was run out of Seattle, as was Joseph Magnin, and any individual small boutique that would compete with Nordstrom. Seattle being the home of Nordstrom. There are several malls in the Seattle area: Lynnwood, Bellevue, Downtown, South. All have the same stores, except the very, very wealthy and also powerful families (read Boeing, USB, Weyerheauser, etc.) they wanted a bigger, better mall. So, after 25 years of no competition they did open some other stores in Bellevue.
Simpson & Vail in Brookfield Connecticut - check them out for tea. It's an amazing place.
I've always loved tea, and one of my favorite English teamakers is Twinings which now, bless them, makes a truly delicious spicy chai. As one ages, doctors say, ones' taste buds diminish or get tired or something, and then subtler blends like English Breakfast no longer give quite the satisfaction. But Twining's Spicy Chai is a perfect wake-up tea for me in the morning, as well as an afternoon soother. I guess the Mid Eastern countries drink their chai with milk or cream, but this brew is perfect without cream, either sweetened or unsweetened, hot or room temperature if you have failed to finish the cup before it cools.
At least you could try it Bird Dog. Live a little.
'The people working at the teavana place had learned a lot about tea. I learned that you are never supposed to use boiling-hot water for tea."
you didn't know?
For the best tea experience, boil the water, let cool to below 80C, then reheat to 80C, and only then quickly draw and serve the tea.
That's how tea's supposed to be made, but I doubt many people do so these days outside maybe of Japanese tea ceremonies.
Haven't been in a US style mall in ages, but then I've not been to the US in 6 years and that time we didn't go shopping, last time that happened must have been 1997.
We've covered shopping centers approaching the concept here, but the atmosphere is different (not that I care, I usually make a beeline for whatever stores I need to visit and from there rush back to the car to go home whenever shopping is in order).
Here the carparks are operated by the cities, not the stores.
City charges for parking, some stores (especially the larger ones) reimburse customers out of pocket for that on purchase of a minimum amount.
I drink tea - prefer it to coffee. Not a biggie on green teas, black teas have much more flavor.
I'm not a gourmet tea drinker - I like herbal teas and the various blends like Earl Gray and such. As for boiling water, I bring the temp down after it boils - just below the boiling point. More flavor and the aroma is still good.
I was put onto PG Tips for black tea and I'm never going to any other. Apparently it's one of the most popular basic black teas in England and it's almost powder fine. And easily available through good old Amazon.
PG Tips (imported from the UK) is also available in Stop and Shop.
( I am a black tea drinker for years and I like it--but it is strong.)
I go for yerba mate, strong and smoky. Some of the directions for preparing yerba mate state that one should not have the temperature too hot, lest the flavor be to strong. For me, the stronger the better. I nuke a 20 oz cup of water for 7 minutes, and add the yerba mate.
Sorry, BD, but when I see these pics I'm glad I moved to a flyover state. I share your unease in & around malls. Pay for parking? At a mall? Maybe someday I'll drive the 600 miles over to the Mall of America to see what it's all about. Not sure if they charge for parking over there though. Certainly one should definitely stay away from malls between Halloween and New Years.
Here in Ireland, we are the biggest per capita tea drinkers in the world.
The rules of our house, when I was growing up:
- boiling water
- scald the tea pot
- spoon of tea per person, and one for the pot
- pour the boiling water
- let the tea "draw" for 4 minutes over a low heat
- Add tea and sugar to taste.
Tea bags, which were coming into vogue, were regarded as containing the sweepings of the floor.
Cranky remarks to follow: Teavana has 150 stores, which is fine if you like a homogenized, focus grouped, retail tea store "experience." I don't. House of Tea in Philadelphia is a GREAT tea store with very reasonable prices and fresh inventory. Also one does not pay mall rent and executive compensation and benefits with each precious ounce of tea. House of Tea does mail/online order, but it is more fun to go there as it is quirky and interesting. It is a family run business, formerly father and daughter, now just daughter. Also, black tea SHOULD me made with gently boiling water, green not. Never heard otherwise from any source.