Two weekends ago, I left my Leica point-and-shoot film camera on the IKEA Ferry on the way to Red Hook. It took me four hours (basically on the way back to Manhattan) to realize it was even missing. Rodrigo said I had acted like it was “the end of the world”. I was more upset over the lost film than the actual camera itself (even though the camera also had sentimental value). I don’t care if I have to spend $100 for another camera exactly like it, but I didn’t know if I was ever going to get a chance to go to Machu Picchu again!

Needless to say, I developed that roll of film the very next day. Circle Line Lost & Found, thank you!!!

And of course, because I’m bad at shooting in film, this roll also includes other scenes from Autumn and Winter (Blizzard 2016!!!!).



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The Russian Tea Room is an iconic restaurant in New York City. It’s one of those restaurants that you just know by name. My friends (Moz and Loreal) and I finally decided to give RTR a try during the holiday season.

When I think of High Tea, I think of endless delicate finger sandwiches with a pot of good tea. We made sure to eat breakfast early so that we would have empty stomachs for our meal. My friends and I also decided to dress up for the event seeing that it’s not every day that you go to the Russian Tea Room.

We booked reservations for Afternoon Tea on a Saturday afternoon. My first impressions of RTR were great. The dining room was opulent and inviting. Unfortunately, our experience went downhill from there.

I quickly noticed that our server was not very attentive minutes upon sitting down. My friends and I were kind of confused as to how the Afternoon Tea service worked. As our first time at RTR, I would have thought that the service would have been more welcoming. No one really came to explain the menu until our server asked if we were ready to order 10 minutes later.

On the bright side, it wasn’t long until we received our order, but the reason for the speedy service became clear to us as soon as we saw our meal. I should mention that it took another 5-10 minutes for our server to return to explain which finger sandwiches were which. The presentation of the sandwiches on the tiers looked… sparse. The portions were extremely small and I already had doubts as to whether or not the meal would be satisfying.

Tea Service at the Russian Tea Room

Upon the first bite of our sandwiches, we knew that the Russian Tea Room was not going to live up to our expectations. The curried chicken sandwich was extremely dry. The bleu cheese was tasteless. The shrimp sandwich tasted like tuna that came from a can. (Actually, since Loreal has a seafood allergy, she can attest that the shrimp was not fresh because she was able to eat it without any allergic reaction). I doubt that any of the sandwiches were freshly made.

If we thought our first course was disappointing, our second course was even worse. When we got our dessert, we didn’t even want to touch it. The dessert consisted of two chocolates, two cupcakes, and three scones. The scones were warm but I doubt that they were baked on the premises. The chocolate was mediocre. The cupcakes were a mess. It looked like someone had taken off the wax paper off the cupcake and put it on the plate. Clearly they were not freshly baked. I took a bite of each cupcake, a red velvet and a chocolate, and did not bother to finish it. Not worth my calories. Dessert was pitiful.

Moz and the Dessert Course

Red Velvet Cupcake at Russian Tea Room

 

English Breakfast Tea

All things considering, at least the tea should be decent, right? Nope. The tea was extremely weak. I ended up getting the English Breakfast. At first I wondered why my English Breakfast wasn’t served with milk. But once I poured my first cup, I realized it was because the tea was so weak that if I had added milk, it would taste like warm milk and sguar. The tea did not get any stronger the longer I steeped it. When I checked the pot to see the level of my tea, that’s when I noticed that they used a tea bag. Seriously? The Russian Tea Room doesn’t even use fresh tealeaves? Disappointing. To make it even worse, when our dessert round came about, our server did not serve us fresh pots with fresh tea bags. She simply poured even more hot water into our pot of tea. My cup of tea barely had any color in it and I had to ask for a fresh pot.

So the Russian Tea Room has become a tourist trap. For $50 per person for Afternoon Tea, the Russian Tea Room is not worth it. The food was barely edible and the tea was watery. I’ve read reviews where people try to justify the price for being a New York experience, but to be honest, the Russian Tea Room is a poor representation of the culinary experiences that the city has to offer. Save your money.

We’re sticking with Alice’s Tea Cup for our next tea outing. Quality food and tea we can actually trust.



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Regardless of your boy drama, it still looks and sounds like you are having an awesome time in London. It sucks that you won’t be going to Paris this time around, but I promise you that in the future, we will have our version of Anna and the French Kiss.

So in regards to some interesting points in your email, I decided to list them out because it might just be a more organized fashion to address all the random things:

  1. White coffee: Funny how I’ve never, ever heard this phrase before. I guess it’s something you really don’t know unless you’ve lived there for a while? Huh. Well, regardless, I had to look it up.
  2. Moz’s pasalubong: Actually, I did bring it up with Moz that you wanted to know what she would like, but I never actually got a response back. Instead she was just like, “Oh my god, are you talking to Lore? Did she get my texts? I tried messaging her back but I never got a reply!” and etc. So I had to explain the whole France fiasco (alliteration!) and I forgot to ask about the pasalubong again.
  3. Idin sounds like a total dream but the fact that he has not contacted you in any form means that he is a jackass. A charming, hot jackass. How unfortunate. At least now you have material for a manuscript. (And of course, I had to forward Letter #5 to Moz, but we both know it will be way too long for her to actually read so I [or you] will have to summarize it for her.)
  4. Writing for YA: I’m so glad that your friends didn’t snub you for your interest in YA literature. And it makes me even more happy to hear that they can actually see you as a young adult author. That is quite awesome. I think it’s cool that there’s a great diversity of interests in your writing group. Maybe that will help you grow as a writer than your actual writing assignments. 😛
  5. Facebook friends: You know, it actually has not occurred to me to creep on your recently added Facebook friends. This sounds like something only you would do. 😛 (Actually, I feel like Moz would definitely do it as well.)
  6. Quitting: This sounds like a topic that I shouldn’t blatantly say out on the Internet, so let’s try to be a little vague? Were you successful on your attempts to quit?

Okay, and not to brag, but the weather right now is really, really lovely in New Jersey. It’s not quite 80 degrees, little humidity and the sun is shining. (It’s supposed to be like this for the rest of the week, but I am NOT keeping my hopes up.) Which sucks because I’ve basically been depressed the whole day for no reason or another. And of course it has not helped that I basically sat around eating with Iya while watching romantic movies that were happy and others that were not quite happy. Neither type helped with my mood.

So I ate a ton of ice cream with whipped cream, butterscotch, and peanut butter chips. Nearly a quarter of a gallon. So now I feel a little sick, but it’s okay. Actually, I think the fact that I am writing to you is a much more therapeutic process than anything else. But other than my wallowing…

BEA was a ton of fun and I’m really happy that I walked away with under 15 books for review, just like I planned. So yeah, there’ll be plenty to read when you get back.

I’ve also been going to school for the last two weeks, which has not been that fun. It’s only for approximately five hours on Mondays and Wednesdays but my lab section starts at 8AM. This means I’m up and out of the house by 6:35 AM so I can commute in time. I am not a morning person so this hasn’t exactly been a blast for me, but I am making it happen.

Sometimes after class, I meet up with Moz to hang out, grab a drink or a bite to eat (most of the time, it is at Maharlika). Or sometimes, I’ll go out on a date. But yeah, I won’t go into too much detail on that. It can wait until you get back. (Although this is a little unfair because you wrote me the most descriptive passages, ever – dude, don’t rule out romance novels in your future, just sayin’.)

I’ve generally been busy for the last two weeks, and it really was only the last two days where I just couldn’t find myself to be entertained by anything at home. I’ve been cleaning, eating, reading, watching movies and TV, blogging, etc, but I’ve just been bored altogether.

But I guess it’s not necessarily a bad thing altogether because it meant that I finally had no other excuse to prolong my writing of a reply back to you. So here it is.

I miss you. Come back soon! 🙂

x

PS. I am reading David Levithan’s Every Day, and it might just be his best novel yet. Honestly, it is beautiful. While reading it during my lecture, I had to stop and copy a passage because I was just stunned by the loveliness of his writing:

“What is it about the moment you fall in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity? I suddenly realize why people believe in deja vu, why people believe they’ve lived past lives, because there is no way the years I’ve spent on this earth could possibly encapsulate what I’m feeling. The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself have crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.” – Every Day by David Levithan, p. 22-23 of the ARC



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