Sunday, February 20, 2005

Elderflower and Spinach

It rained yesterday. Our original plan, to walk around Chinatown and watch New Year festivities, washed away with the rain. Instead, we went to have lunch at Ikea.

I've never visited an Ikea before, though I hear about it often. I shared a plate of Swedish meatballs, which were good, and had a croissant sandwich, which was stale. The restaurant was having a Lunar New Year special, but neither of us felt like trying it. We sat near the window and looked out at the rain and at the roof of the building across the street. The roof curled at the corners, and there were banners hanging from the windows with Chinese characters written on them. Fusion, said Winnie. I thought it looked Japanese, and said so; That's because they copied the style from us. It's like Macs and PCs, she replied.

I finished my coffee, and we explored the store floor. I'm a poor shopper, and was dazed by the weekend crowds; but soon enough we wandered to the food section, which was uncrowded and interesting. Signs hanging on the walls described the foods: lingonberries and elderberries, coffee and crispbreads. Lingonberries are like delicate cranberries, according to one sign; does that mean you have to add lots of sugar before they taste good? asked Winnie. I wasn't sure. As we left, we bought a carton of a drink made from elderflowers. It tasted a little like the cold chrysanthemum drink sold at some milk tea places.

For dinner, I tossed spinach with garlic, olive oil, salt, and a little vinegar. I thought it was great, but perhaps I should have used less salt. We brewed a pot of masala chai, which we sipped with some cookies. Tea, cookies, and public radio are wonderful accompaniments to a rainy evening, particularly when they're shared.

On the ride home, I read Newton's Cannon (Gregory Keyes). I finished it this morning. I read The Briar King last year or the year before; I wasn't blown away, but I enjoyed it enough to keep an eye out for his other work. Besides, I didn't want a great book to chew on, not right then. I wanted something diverting and easy to read, and I had what I wanted.

This afternoon, I have some quiet time to work, and that's a fine thing, too.

  • Currently drinking: Russian caravan blend