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Asian Persuasion 

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
25 The Boulevard
Richmond Heights

Today our apartment has transformed into Biosphere where we will dwell for at least the next four months. One day each fall — when we resign ourselves to the reality that it's actually almost winter and not just a string of cool days that the city will snap out of like a teenager does his emo phase — we cover all of our windows with Frost King's Window Insulation Kit. The "shrink film insulates" will protect us from the cold nights, holding the heat within our apartment as we lug space heaters from room to room, the cord dragging along the hardwood floors like a lazy tail. When the long nights decide to shed their flannel blanket, so shall we. We'll take a knife to the plastic sheets and cut away our cocoon-like existence, ready for spring's new oxygen, ready for its sunlight to warm our pale wings.

Living in Biosphere is in direct conflict with our recent attempt at naturally cleansing body and spirit via Yogi DeTox tea (see last week's column). It's the exact opposite of taking deep breaths of fresh air and letting nighttime breezes lull us to sleep. Yet even as we were trying to attain inner calm over a cuppa last week, we couldn't shake the feeling that the concoction would taste much better with some alcohol. And behold, when the drinker is ready, the tea with alcohol will appear.

It comes in the form of the Asian Persuasion, the first drink listed atop P.F. Chang's China Bistro's cocktail menu: "Charbay Green Tea Vodka shaken with fresh brewed organic green tea." The Asian Persuasion even has a Chinese character next to it that loosely resembles a thumbnail sketch of an Aztec temple's profile, indicating that it is a "house signature" item. (And from the looks of the cocktail menu, it's also the character that denotes said drink will cost about $9.) Tea plus alcohol. That's our kind of detox.

The drink's name alone makes us snicker — it sounds like a Far East version of the Spanish Inquistion. The Asian Persuasion is cold and comes in a martini glass; oddly, it resembles a cloudy pale ale, complete with a frothy head.

You don't have to lick the side of a city bus or take a shot of suntan lotion to know such things would be foul-tasting. Likewise, we've never taken a big bite out of a real-looking faux apple and swallowed its plasticy, acrylic juice. But after this drink, we're pretty sure how that'd go down — which is to say, not well. We can only finish half of it. Maybe, we think, this is a cosmic message telling us that good-for-you tea and bad-for-you alcohol aren't to be mixed, and we should get back to our regularly scheduled detox. But that can't be right. What of sangria and screwdrivers and bloody marys?

"Opportunities surround you if you know where to look," says the fortune cookie that comes with our bill. Now back in our plastic cocoon, we're still thirsty but have a renewed sense of inspiration. We open our refrigerator, eye a jug of grape juice and a bottle of merlot, and mentally get to work.

Got a drink suggestion?

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