^ 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...