I recently classed up my apartment with some nice Ikea placemats:
They make me feel like someone’s mom (in a good way), and they make our lovely pre-furnished furniture look a little more homey and a little less college-y.
Recently, Curtis and I went to Ten-Ren Teatime, a lovely restaurant in College Park. Their placemats were covered in pictures of tea. I couldn’t find a picture, but their rectangular menu was similar in artistic vision.
We stopped there because I had been to the Ten Ren’s Teahouse in New York’s Chinatown, right next to my favorite restaurant – Big Wong.
I’d bought bulk tea there (jasmine green, orchid oolong) and it was very good. I’d never, however, eaten their food.
Here I should mention the food situation in College Park. Curtis and I have tried lots and lots of restaurants, trying to find something edible. The College Park Diner has proved both delicious and affordable, and the staff is absolutely adorable. We’re partial to a few of the waitresses who already know us as regulars.
Other than the CP Diner, however, we’ve gotten disappointment after disappointment. I do not recommend the Tandoori House, for example, right on Route One across from my apartment building. Plato’s Diner is vile. Which brings us to Ten Ren’s.
Curtis ordered Kung Pao Tofu. I ordered Pork and Noodle Soup. And I got a huge surprise.
First, some Alice, in the house of the Duchess:
“The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full of smoke from one end to the other: the Duchess was sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby; the cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldron which seemed to be full of soup.
“There’s certainly too much pepper in that soup!” Alice said to herself, as well as she could for sneezing.
There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and the baby was sneezing and howling alternately without a moment’s pause. The only things in the kitchen that did not sneeze were the cook, and a large cat which was sitting on the hearth and grinning from ear to ear.”
This was almost precisely my reaction. My soup was pepper soup, and not much else. The noodles, cabbage and carrots couldn’t hide it – it was pepper soup. My face hurt for hours after the ordeal (because, of course, I ate it – can’t waste food when there are children starving in Africa). And this (more Alice) was stuck in my head:
The Duchess sings to her child:
““Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.”
(In which the cook and baby joined):—
“Wow! wow! Wow!”
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words:—
“I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!”
“Wow! wow! Wow!””
Finally, an Alice in Wonderland placemat for the road (although I think the above image would be much nicer in placemat form).