(Taking a break, again, from anything that even remotely resembles a restaurant review.)
I will clearly never, at this point in life, ever learn to appreciate tea the way that Marie does. Or the way that her mother does. Or the way that pretty much everybody in Europe seems to. That’s perfectly all right; I appreciate tea just fine on my own terms. Tea, served sweet and chilled, is, six days out of seven, my favorite thing to drink. I may enjoy a Buffalo Rock, or a Kutztown Birch Beer, or, once in a great while, a bottle of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout a whole heck of a lot, but really, nothing beats a nice glass of iced tea.
I find hot beverages colossally unpleasant. They don’t taste like anything to me; I couldn’t tell Earl Grey or Jasmine apart in a taste test, because my gag reflex is so strong that my immediate reaction to any hot beverage is “get it out of my mouth right now.” It is instantaneous, and it is reflexive: I can never learn to appreciate the taste of something when my entire body screams against having something so uncomfortable and wrong inside me. Learning to appreciate the subtle and complex differences between the two makes as much sense as learning to tell the difference in texture between bamboo and pine by having each inserted under my fingernails.
And yet, seeing just how much my wife enjoys a mug of tea in the morning, and noting how much pleasure it brings her, I get a little envious. I find myself wishing that I could enjoy hot tea as much as she does. And so, once or maybe twice a year, I will find myself in some coffee shop or other, and I’ll order a cup of tea. Maybe I don’t try often, but I try.
The Friday before Christmas, I had some business in Dunwoody that would keep me busy until lunchtime, but I had the opportunity to grab a light breakfast first. I remembered that there were some bakeries up and down Buford Highway, and so I stopped by White Windmill, a Korean-owned place about a mile north of the perimeter, figuring that a pastry or a croissant would be a little better for me than a pound of grease and gravy.
It’s an interesting place, with tables and shelves and baskets completely full of individually-wrapped treats of all shapes and sizes, and price points all over the map. I enjoyed a brief departure from the world just looking over all the food and enjoying the smells, wondering what each crispy or flaky treat might taste like. After a few minutes, I retired to a table with a book, a chocolate pastry, which was pretty darn good, and a cup of piping hot jasmine tea. I really enjoyed the heck out of that pastry. I’d be happy to stop at White Windmill again for baked breakfast treats any time.
Twenty minutes later, I left, dropping almost all of my hot tea in the trash. It was still too hot to drink. Ten minutes previously, I had taken a single sip and burned my tongue. It remained sensitive and left me unhappy for the next four days. Marie, who still uses the teapot that I purchased for my kitchen back when we were still dating, somehow enjoys tea. Lots of tea. Indian tea. And biscuits. I’m sure there are also people who enjoy having bamboo slid under their fingernails, too.
Other blog posts about White Windmill which actually present the experience sensibly:
The Blissful Glutton (Jan. 14 2006)
Amy on Food (Mar. 4 2009)
Food Near Snellville (Mar. 18 2009)
Food Enthusiast (Jan. 12 2010)
Chow Down Atlanta (Nov. 14 2010)
A Lifelong Romance… with My Whisk… (July 2 2012)
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!