Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The ground shook, yet again

It was a little over 8 in the evening when I heard a cracking noise from below. Not downstairs, much deeper. I mean, beneath the house. I don't know why but that's always what I hear before an earthquake when I happen to be indoors. Maybe, in reality, they are preceded by an underground noise? In the past, earthquakes would occur without my knowledge in the middle of the day while I am at work or late at night while I am sleeping. I would just read about them in the paper the next day.

It must have been around intensity 5 in the richter which is probably already terrifying enough on the epicenter. The house made some creaking sound here and there. When I felt it, I stopped what I was doing not because I was scared but I was thinking what I would do next in case the shaking intensifies or it becomes prolonged. I was hoping that something wouldn't fall and break, like the skylights or the wine bottles. It turned out to be uneventful which is something to be thankful of.

Our wait continues for the Big One.


(The photo above is the city hall of San Francisco on a cool Northern California evening.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Matcha in the City

I recently acquired a new drinking ritual. No, it does not involve alcohol but I know some of you wouldn't mind if it did.

I first heard of matcha from my small chats with a barrista at a Peet's. Matcha is a powdered green tea used in tea ceremonies, and as a flavoring in ice creams and other sweets. You have probably seen its instant, liquid concentrate version at a local coffee chain. For a newbie matcha drinker, I am more interested in the pure, powdered form.

Luckily, I was able to find some for sale in Lupicia at the San Francisco Center so I didn't have to go to a Japanese specialty store. I was told it comes in two types - thick and thin. I don't remember which one I took but it must be the one that costs less. :) Now I can enjoy the rich, creamy flavor of matcha at home. Although I must admit I need more practice in whisking the tea to create the foamy consistency typical in tea ceremonies and also to reduce the bitter green clumps in the blend.

Here's a recipe of Matcha Latte which I found online.
o Add about 1/4-13 teaspoon good quality matcha to a mug
o Add 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar or 1 or 2 packets of your favorite sweetener
o Add heated or steamed milk to the rim, stir
o Sprinkle with light coating of matcha
o Alternative - heat in microwave for approx. 2 mins, watching very carefully for the first sign of foaming, the remove)

This is like bringing tea drinking to a higher level and making me a more serious tea drinker.


(A picture of properly whisked matcha tea)