Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Almighty PG Tips, Plastic Spoons, and a Wine List That Speaks Tea.

Over the weekend I received an email from a person with the same name as me asking if I was a different person with the same name as the person who sent the email. Sadly I had to answer that I was not in fact the person named me. Thankfully he seemed like a nice person himself and it's always good to know you might be mistaken for someone else that doesn't suck. As I understand it the person he was thinking I am is quite nice as well. We all seem rather nice in fact.

Once the email moved beyond the identity portion he mentioned a very popular tea: PG Tips. Which I accept to be a fine tea, but unfortunately is not really to my liking. It's just a little off, I like my black teas a little perkier I think, but it's hard to nail down exactly what it is. His mentioning it brought back a tea story to the front of my mind and I shared it with him, so I'll do the same to you.

Last year around the holidays my girlfriend was working as a receptionist in an interior design firm (no link here) as the token hot receptionist (again no link here, sorry). Part of her job was to ensure that the clients' thirst was quenched. While they were waiting for the designer she was to offer them the choice of coffee, tea or water. I was beaming with pride that my girlfriend worked at a place that provided tea to the thirsty. That is until I found out the selection of tea consisted of an apple cinnamon flavored herbal tea, a very old box of vanilla flavored black tea, and what she called a bag of generic green of the kind you buy in discount shops for less than a dollar.

I was perplexed at this until I remembered that this was the same place that spent five hundred dollars on a newsletter (it worked out to about three dollars a piece, and was mostly spent on the extra thick shiny paper) but had my girlfriend washing the plastic spoons (it says disposable on the box!) that they gave to the clients. You can go to TJMax (we know they shop there) and buy a box of shiny stainless steel utensils for less than the cost of five newsletters.

Now when I heard what they were serving I gladly donated my box of PG Tips knowing that a tea lover would come in and subconsciously think "one of these things is not like the others" and be grateful.

Shortly after this my girlfriend lost her job and was quite bitter about the whole thing but I insisted that the PG tips stay. A decent tea loving person should not have to suffer. I wonder how she ever managed to work for someone that would supply their customers such a foul selection of such a fine beverage. In the email I spelled foul as fowl. Probably because I was thinking about how jive those turkeys were. As they often say "Never trust a spellchecker, always proofread."

The person named me also mentioned recently visiting the Dorchester Hotel in London and being presented with a tea list rather than a wine list. Now that is true class.

It makes me wonder at the stories you might have. Have you ever been to a place that pleasantly surprised you with either some tea that was unexpected based on location (perhaps a roadside cafe frequented by truckers on Route 66) or in a spectacular place like the Dorchester Hotel where you might have been expecting a wine list? You probably havent thought about it for a while, but I'm betting the story is worth telling. It's time to share your secret find and send us there. If they brew it we will come!

Now go have a cup, even if it's a tea I not particularly fond of. In fact, especially if it's PG Tips!


At 9/17/2005 09:40:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

An upscale Chinese restaurant I like, PF Chang's (I am in California, but they are a chain), has a tea list. This is the first non-teashop I visited that had one. I often get White Tangerine. My husband favors the oolong.

I wish more restaurants carried decent tea or herbal tea. My mother convinced me that one of the secrets of good health is to stop drinking caffeine after 4:00. I have, in consequence, laid in a bunch of different herbals for home but it is a difficulty when we go out for dinner. This problem is so severe that we often go out to lunch instead of dinner to avoid the problem.

At 9/17/2005 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Petty said...

I myself have eaten at PF Chang's a few times up in Portland and although they seem hell bent on making you buy their damn chicken wrap appetizer (to the point that they seem hurt if you refuse) I still like the place. Oddly enough I just found (literally five minutes ago) a bag of leftovers that are from my last trip up, it's not for eating though, the last trip up was about a month ago. They are right across the street from Powell's Book store, a place that should rank prominently on any trip to Portland. I usually don't get to have tea there for the same reason you mentioned usually going out for lunch rather than dinner. Of course, when I go to Portland lunch is always at the Tao of Tea. If you can find it it's a nice little shop, but the art of finding it is for another conversation.


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