Thursday, August 2, 2007

Part V: After the Pasadena Pu'er Event

This is an entry long overdue. Many things happened after the June 16th Pasadena Pu'er event until Mr. Chen Chi-Tong left Los Angeles on June 20th. I had a great time with the entire Wu Shing team (Mr. Liang, his wife, Chen Zhi-Tong, and Aaron Fisher), Guang, Mary and Bob Heiss (authors of the upcoming The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide), and the LA Tea Group. I'll summarize this post with short narratives and some photographs that I snapped during the time.

^ The morning after the Event and a long dinner party, we dimsummed in Chinatown. Mary and Robert Heiss joined us. After the dimsum brunch, we visited the famous Huntington Library in San Marino for some Afternoon Tea. I had a most pleasant and eye-opening conversation about olive oils with the Heisses. They are the quintessential experts in everything olive (and other gourmet foods too). What true gourmands they are! (The Heisses are the proprietors of Cooks Shop Here, a culinary shop in Northampton, Massachusetts).

^ After a sumptuous late dinner at a Greek fusion restaurant, Danica, Helen, Chen Zhi-Tong and I went to Danica's home for some tea (Mr. Liang and his wife retired to their hotel room). The tea session stretched until 4am in the morning! We brewed the stash that Chen Zhi-Tong brought along from Taiwan: 1930's sheng, 1950's sheng, 1960's sheng, and many recent vintages of his own Chen Guang He Tang Yiwu Chawang (2002 - 2007). Chen was most generous for leaving behind his Yiwu Chawang teas for the LA Tea Group.

^ After that late night / early morning tea party, we headed home for a few hours of sleep. Then, we drove to the beautiful Santa Barbara County wine country. There are basically 2 wine trails that we could choose from: Foxen and Santa Ynez. We trailed the latter by car, stopping at wineries along the way. The picture above is from our visit to the Zaca Mesa winery, where we sampled the wines in a very spacious tasting room.

^ We also visited the Fess Parker Winery (featured in the Sideways movie). After a flight of wine in the tasting room, Chen and I relaxed in the patio where he offered me a stub of his Montecristo No. 5 Cuban cigar. We had a nice conversation in broken English (him) and broken Chinese (me) about tea, wine, the Pasadena Event and future potential event in the United States. He was impressed by the people he met in Pasadena and by the great turnout. While Chen and I conversed, the others sat or napped in the field of green grass next to the vines. All in all, it was a very relaxing day with a perfect weather to boot.

^ Fast forward to Wednesday, June 20th. On Chen's last day before he left for Taipei, a few of us members of the LA Tea Group took him to a Californian BBQ ribs restaurant (Mr. Cecil's CA Ribs on Pico Boulevard) for one of the best and authentic Americano red-meat dishes. Will and I brought 4 bottles of excellent red zinfandel to down the meat and fat with. Though we managed to finish a lot of perfectly bbq-ed ribs, corn bread and hush puppies, the six of us were prudent enough to only consume 3 bottles of zin (most of us drove separately that day). Then at 11pm we said our goodbye's with Mr. Chen before I drove him to the LAX airport.

To be continued - Part VI: Tasting the 2007 5th International Pu'er Appreciation Memorial cake...

12 comments:

Hobbes said...

Great stuff, thanks Phyll!

In the top photograph I notice that (and this caused my pulse to race and my face to flush purple) someone is wearing a hat at the dinner-table?!

Calm... be calm... concentrate on the slow breathing...


Toodlepip,

Hobbes :)

Hobbes said...

In choking back the rage from noticing the hat-wearer, someone else is using a mobile 'phone??!?

I'm going to lie down.

xdustinx said...

An Englishman worrying about manners? I don't believe it. What's funny is that these two things seem so commonplace to me, that I didn't even notice them until pointed out. Although, I do agree using a cellphone at the dinner table is slightly rude.

~ Phyll said...

Hobbes, I hope you are still alive. The setting was most informal. We already finished with eating. The bill had been paid and we were casually conversing while getting ready to head out.

In any case, I think everyone was comfortable enough to be informal in the presence of each other by that time. I certainly did not notice those points until your mention.

I hope this will not turn into a discussion on manners :)

Brent said...

It's a good thing Hobbes didn't notice that someone had his elbows on the table! :)

-Brent

MarshalN said...

Unfortunately cell phones are hard to avoid these days, although some establishments in Hong Kong will still kick you out for using it. Those are usually more private clubs and stuff though... and I think Chinese table manners are generally lax...

Steven Dodd said...

Hobbes: Ahh, I'm not the only one who noticed those things. Let's hope the right forks were used and napkins were placed in laps. :]

Davelcorp said...

Dearest Phylldrew,

What I find horribly rude is the lack of tasting notes for the 1930s, '50s, '60s, YiWu Cha Wang, etc...

Come on -- please tell me what 70+ year old tea tastes/feels like.

MarshalN said...

I echo Dave's sentiment.

Surely you weren't too drunk to remember?

~ Phyll said...

I'll include tasting notes (more like tasting memory) of the antique teas in Part VI, then.

Tough crowd :)

Davelcorp said...

Oh Boy!

*** rubs hands together and pops some popcorn ***

kelly said...

Hobbes..

That someone wearing a hat is Aaron Daniel Fischer and he's the fucking tea-bomb. Senior editor for The Art of Tea magazine, he could wear his hat during copulation and I would be happy.

If he weren't married, I would move to Taiwan and beg for his hand.

I'm so jealous I wasn't at this event!

~khb