room for tea pop-up

Pop-up exhibits are becoming the thing in NYC, and I have fallen victim to three of them – two by choice and one because of work. The first one (Color Factory) was cool because they set up cameras to capture and email your participation to you without impeding the fun, and the second (Rośe Mansion – for work) had a bit of educational value in addition to the obvious perk of drinking wine throughout the journey. The actual Room for Tea exhibition had plenty of Instagram-worth moments (which weren’t that appealing to us), but nothing to school me in tea.

What was really interesting and contributed heavily to my tea literacy was the tea ceremony add-on. A group from 7s Art hosted a traditional Chinese tea ceremony among the hustle and bustle of the exposition. The rite, starting and ending with a guided meditation complete with closed eyes and three strokes of the gong, was both relaxing and informative. I drink tea daily and even purchased an electric water kettle recently to ensure the proper brewing temperature for my weekend amusement, but it was a delight to take part in a formal process led by experts.

Breathing in the dried green tea leaves prior to brewing, inhaling the essence during the drinking, and both sniffing and eating the soaked remainders enhanced the experience. The pot was so tiny and so cute – just enough to give each participant a shot of each pour. I was surprised at how rich the tea was with the abbreviated steeping time and how the sweetness changed with each subsequent brewing. Did you know that some teas can be brewed up to ten times? Another revelation was how delicious and fragrant jasmine tea can be without smelling perfumey. Also, we learned you can fry used tea leaves and add them to eggs and other dishes. Really want to try this!

I wish I could duplicate this experience every afternoon. It’s probably not realistic since it would involve purchasing another electric water kettle for my office, along with the tiny teapot and several other accompaniments for rinsing and draining. Instead, I will continue to enjoy my daily tea and schedule one of 7s Arts Friday night sessions for a break after a hectic week.

staycation 2018: day 1

What better way to shake off the stress of work and jumpstart the relaxation than a massage? We found a new place that is known as a go-to for fitness pros – Fishion Therapy Center. Nestled in the middle of Chinatown, it is not fancy, and pain is promised, but the use of acupressure, scraping, and other methods find your trouble spots and release the tension. I love the sign that says “legitimate massage only”. The best part – it’s only $68 for 90 minutes. Derek was quite red in spots after his session, and I feel loose as a goose after mine. Definitely expecting to sleep well tonight, but may have some soreness tomorrow.

The day actually started with a trip to Sadelle’s to grab a bagel breakfast, but we were disappointed to find that their to-go counter was closed due to an absent employee. Strange that a restaurant can’t figure out how to sell a few bagels using the staff in attendance. We found a suitable alternative at Olive’s, so it didn’t ruin the staycation. Also, an exciting twist – we won the Mean Girls lottery for tomorrow night, and our seats are front and center.

Next on the agenda was a trip to Despaña, which you already know is beloved to us. We picked up a bottle of orange wine at the adjacent sister wine store before ordering an assortment of tapas for a late lunch. The chorizo tortilla, lentil salad, bonito and boquerones sandwich, olives, and black sausage dishes were all satisfying and paired perfectly with the wine. We didn’t notice the gazpacho on the menu until later but decided to grab one to have for dinner with our leftovers.

Strolled into The Laundress for some fancy detergent for our sheets to deepen the relaxation at bedtime. Lovely people and lovely products. They even had detergents featuring our two prized La Labo fragrances – Rose 31 and Santal 33. We settled on the classic with a lavender scent. Can’t wait to try them out!

Our final stop of the day was to Jimmy at the James rooftop pool bar. I’ve been wanting to wear my swimsuit and take a plunge in the pool while sipping a cocktail all summer but didn’t want to waste the money on an all-day pass for an hour of dipping. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the description from the hotel website and multiple other online reviews of the venue. Yes, the rooftop is open to non-hotel guests beginning at 5 pm, but no, the pool is not open. The “pool party” I was expecting apparently only happens on the weekends. We had two expensive and subpar beverages and then hightailed it off the rooftop.


Jimmy at the James rooftop – not pool

Finished the day off with our Spanish leftovers while catching up on Sharp Objects and The Affair. Great start to the staycation.



Everything is delicious at Lalito, but the olive oil cake is amazing! We discovered this gem in Chinatown a few months ago for dinner and decided to try it for brunch. Starting off with a delicious orange wine, we then moved on to the peach ricotta olive oil cake. It was clear that a lot of thought was put into every ingredient and texture – the crunch and softness of the cake, the drizzle of olive oil, the ricotta, the peach, and the thyme garnish.

The texture study continued with the coconut grits and pork, where the pork was both crispy and tender, and the coconut didn’t overwhelm. The celery and bacon salad was perfectly dressed with crispy celery and slightly softer bacon. And don’t miss out on the magical bathroom. I won’t spoil the surprise but highly recommend. A beautiful meal!