I taste tea for a living and developing palate memory is my favorite part of the job. To that end, the best meal I ever ate was a plate of mussels gathered in the morning, steamed in butter in the evening, and consumed on a bothy rooftop on the Isle of Skye. I believe the things we eat should include at least one of the following: friends, the outdoors, or getting one’s hands dirty. Or butter. Lots of butter.

  • I ate the day / Deliberately

    Posted October 25th, 2015 No Comments »

    “I don’t know if it’s a function of age or temperament, but I’m no longer seeking those major exclamatory notes of pleasure. I want a life that has pleasure contained within it.”                                               […]

  • variations on a theme

    Posted February 3rd, 2013 No Comments »

    …But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about […]

  • I could drink myself to death tonight, I could stand and give a toast. To those who made it out alive, it’s you I’ll miss the most.

    Posted July 29th, 2010 1 Comment »

    There are things I won’t miss: being on my feet all day, inhaling grounds while grinding bar coffee, my wardrobe of weirdly-stained t-shirts, working major holidays. Thankfully, these are outnumbered by any one of a hundred things I love about what I’ve been doing for the last six years. I’ve been fortunate to live in […]

  • Free and unlimited wi-fi is not a right

    Posted July 28th, 2010 3 Comments »

    …if you are a customer in a coffee shop. It is a perk, and in my best interest to provide since there is clearly demand, but you are not owed the internet as part of your coffee drinking experience. Free, unlimited internet access? THAT’S WHAT THE LIBRARY’S FOR. Other pieces of valuable information that will […]

  • for those of us prone to melancholic warbling…

    Posted May 24th, 2010 2 Comments »

    Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it–don’t cheat with it. Thanks, Hemingway.

  • Please do not steal your waiter’s pen.

    Posted July 15th, 2009 1 Comment »

    I spent the first real sunny day we’ve had all summer sitting on a park bench with Pheobe Damrosch’s Service Included, which, in addition to being a perfect park-bench kind of read, is a sort of love letter to the service industry, and the often-unappreciated dedication of a successful service professional. In 2006, Damrosch was […]

  • speaking of oolong…

    Posted July 8th, 2009 No Comments »

    There are a very few places I regularly order tea, mostly because I’m a jerk and am extremely picky about both the quality and preparation of what I choose to drink and there aren’t many places that do it right. Hazard of the job, no, having constant access to really stellar teas? MEM Tea Imports […]

  • Green beans and vitamin C, however much they nurture us, cannot save lives, nor sustain our souls.

    Posted May 17th, 2009 No Comments »

    Perhaps it was being in Portland, not thinking of work or inhaling coffee for the first time in months, the smell of Powell’s, the warm rain or some other mystic combination of good vibes, but I was primed to devour a good book and Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog fit the bill. I […]

  • And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.

    Posted May 13th, 2009 No Comments »

    …the last bit of silver cloud, doled out carefully over the last year. An old-growth Chinese white, mature buds plucked on the verge of opening, all covered with silvery down… Steeped in a clear gaiwan. 190ish degrees, three minutes. If my camera battery weren’t (perpetually) dead, I’d snap the buds, bobbing vertically in the cup, the […]

  • …the courses most alive.

    Posted May 5th, 2009 1 Comment »

    In thinking about where to even begin to begin the first steps of a new journey, I’m taking some comfort in knowing that what is new and strange to me has been glaringly obvious for years to those who know me best. Case in point: the letter excerpted below, written to me upon my graduation […]