Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cake Like

Sitting on a tall stool beside the "bar" at Ten Ren Tea, I spot a tall man to my left being served a large, amber-colored bubble-tea. Beside it I see two single-serving mini-cakes, each wrapped beautifully as is typical of the goodies made by this Taiwan-based chain.

I take a sip of an earthy tea named Puer from a tiny papercup, then ask him what he is drinking. He says, "King's Tea." I recognize this blend of green Oolong and ginseng, known to be energizing while soothingly uplifting. I smile saying, "never saw anyone drink that cold." He replies, "actually, it's warm." I reply, "not hot, not cold. Like the weather today." He laughs and says, "yup, I guess so."

Then I say, "have you tried either of those cakes before?" He says, "no, have you?" I reply, "I've tried the smaller cake but not the larger one." Without a moment's hesitation, he picks up the larger "green tea cake," which is shaped like a heart, and places it beside me on the smooth white counter. Taken by surprise, with eyes wide, I say, "Wow, thank you! I didn't mean to..." He interjects, "hey, two cakes is too much for me, too decadent."

I nod my head slowly in a vulnerable "I guess so" sort of gesture, then offer my hand saying, "hey, I'm Judy." He shakes my hand and says, "Kenneth." We each enjoy a few sips of tea. Then he stands. He turns to go then turns back and asks, "hey, what's the other cake like?" I linger for a breath, remembering the taste of its candied kumquat center. Then I reply, "I like it. It's got bite." He smiles with a touch of mischievous recognition, slowly waves goodbye, then turns and heads for the door.

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