Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tea and Coffee and NYC and Me

I had been wanting to go to the Coffee and Tea Festival for years, and I'd kept missing out on buying tickets, so when I saw it come up on Gold Star for half price, I was all over it and I basically told Eddie that he was going to have to learn to like tea and coffee for a day. He wasn't thrilled about that part, but he was thrilled that I'd get free stuff because he likes my reaction to getting free stuff. And I got a lot of free stuff. Because that's what I do.

We got to the Armory a bit before 11, and we shouldn't have walked to the front door because we wound up backtracking around the block because the line was very long.  Like super duper long.  While we found the end of the line, Eddie kept repeating in amazement: This many people like tea?  I would answer, And coffee.  Yes, it's a thing.  People like these drinks.  Some people make a living out of them, like the vendors inside. Also as we found the end of the line, he commented, Wow, that smells good and I don't even like this stuff.  "This stuff" smelled super yummy.

We waited.  My only worry was that we would not get free bags.  Bags came with admission, but only a limited number were available; therefore, they were bonuses and FREE.  He asked how many.  I said around 1000.  He said, there were not that many people on this line.  I was like, How can you be sure?  He was like, there just aren't.  He is a numbers guy, so I trusted that we would get bags.

We totally got bags.  When we walked in, we signed in after waiting five minutes for two women to write their names on a piece of paper (literally: five minutes--even the registration guy was rolling his eyes at them).  Then we got our bags.  They were heavy and about to get heavier because I was going to fill mine with anything I could grab.  This is where I shine.  I grabbed Eddie and into the rows of tables we went in search of the best tasting tea or coffee--the freer it was, the better it'd be.

Eddie managed to find the only sport-related thing in the room: one of the vendors had set up a kids' basketball hoop and was offering free stuff for sinking a basket.  Eddie missed on the first try but then got it on the second and was awarded a tiny lime-green ceramic parrot.  Eddie urged me to shoot, so I did.  I got it in on the first try (once again proving how I'm better at the sports than he is), and I was awarded a tiny brown ceramic pair of puppies.  I have no idea what to do with these items; I don't know why they actually exist.  However, FREE is for me.

From table to table, from taste to taste, through crowds of coffee and tea drinkers, I basked in the delight of warm and comfy liquid.  I tasted tea that had bourbon in it.  My first time with bourbon.  I have a new friend.  I tasted coffee that was cold brewed and almost talked myself into having to buy a batch but then told the woman I'd come back later after lapping the place.  She was like, you can buy it now and I'll hold it for you, and I was like, No I don't want to be a bother, and quickly let the crowd whisk me away.

I failed a blind taste test, causing Eddie to mock me. In all fairness, I didn't know it was a blind taste test.  The woman was like, we're testing out flavors--which do you prefer?  When I told her the second one was more flavorful, she told me she was surprised because most people say the opposite, and then I learned that I'd liked Lipton over her brand (which I don't even remember).  I immediately lied and said that I use Lipton at work so I must be used to the taste.  She gave me a whole plastic baggie of her brand of tea and I said, I'll bring these to work!

The only tea I drink at work is the tea I bring, which is Trader Joe's Green Tea.  I'm a good liar on my feet to save face.  (Right now at work, I'm drinking whatever I got from the show.  Haven't bought tea in weeks!).

Some other highlights were the honey tasting (dip a stick in honey and lick--so simple!), the tea ice cream tasting (so friggin good), the Mexican hot chocolate sample (mmmmmmm), and the Cabot cheese spread.  Why was a cheese item at a coffee and tea festival?  Not a rhetorical question.  I'm simply puzzled.  However, cheese is good and it was very unexpected so score another one for me.  Eddie did not partake in the cheese even though he likes cheese.  He couldn't push to the table the way I could because I'm small and sneaky.  And again, this is what I do.  The only thing he actually did get on his own was candy from the Verizon stand, and the woman was pushing it on him because she didn't want to eat any more of the candy from her big bowl of sugar. 

We'd looped the Armory in about two hours.  Yeah, that's right: two hours of tea and coffee goodness.  He asked if I was hungry for lunch and I was like, Nope.  He was like, Seriously, you're not hungry?  Shocking, I know.  But I was full from all the tea and coffee and few snacks.  I nibbled a piece of the Verizon candy and he got McDonalds.  There, I unloaded all my goods and found that I had at least two of everything because we both got a bag, and they were both so heavy because both had two bottles of drinks in them in addition to all the tea bags and coffee pouches and biscotti samples.  I hit the jackpot on this one. 

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