Monday, May 22, 2006

Some bits and pieces

Sorry I've been so quiet recently. To make up for that, here is a random collection of things I found interesting...

Queen Anne:
This past weekend we spent a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon with M-Jo's friends Eric and Michelle in Queen Anne. We walked from their place to the McCarthy & Schiering wine store for a rosé wine-tasting - they had some very nice stuff and the shop itself is very good. A nice selection of wine from all over the world (about 5/6 South African wines too), and very friendly, un-pretentious staff.

We walked back to Eric & Michelle's place and had an amazing dinner, which was preceded by some tasty Lillet aperitif's. I'd forgotten how tasty this is - similar to Italian sweet vermouth but with more citrus. After dinner, we took a short stroll to an amazing little park that has beautiful views of the Seattle syline - a great place to watch the sunset colours painting the Space Needle.
The funny thing is that the park's name is Bhy Kracke - we joked about the name within earshot of an idling police patrol car...

Koots Japanese Green Tea opens in Bellevue:
The first US store opened on May 13th in Lincoln Square, Bellevue. Coincidentally, I was reading about it in the Seattle Times on Sunday morning, and we stopped by later that day after doing some shopping nearby. The founder is the Japanase partner of Tully's (a Seattle-based coffee chain, way better than Starbuck's). After taking Tully's from nowhere to hundreds of stores in Japan, he moved on to his lifelong dream of opening a Japanese green-tea chain in the US.

The store is spartan and Zen-like in it's clean decor and open feel. They have a tatami mat seating area, and a pretty tokonoma. Their drinks obviously mainly feature Japanese green tea (matcha, sencha, hojicha and genmaicha) either brewed as regular tea or made into lattés with steamed milk. I've been enjoying the Starbuck's Green Tea lattés recently, so I tried something similar: the kuromitsu latté, which is made with matcha powder and Japanese molasses. Pretty good, but the molasses wasn't well mixed, so the drink started out fairly better and ended overly sweet. The molasses does give it an interesting taste (if you like the stuff). The white chocolate and hojicha drink sounds interesting...

Vino100: (website)
This is a new wine store close to Koots in Lincoln Square, and they offer 100 wines $25 and under. The layout is interesting too: instead of wines grouped by region or varietal, they are arranged from light to full-bodied, and each wine has a little placard indicating the body and dryness on a scale, so it's easy to quickly find a wine you might like. They have a good selection, so I'd definitely recommend checking them out.
They also offer wine tastings on Fri and Saturday, and classes on Tuesday nights.

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