It's Thursday evening, the glorious night of 55-degree weather, and the Central West End is positively buzzing. People are ecstatic, rubbing their eyes in disbelief as they waltz by our outdoor table at Cha Yoon Sushi & Elixir Tea Bar. Very sleepy interns drift past on their way from Barnes-Jewish Hospital. A Rollerblader spazzes, arms flailing as he hits a bump. Tonight, it's more than enough to simply sit and watch the exercisers exercising, the eaters eating, the flirters flirting. A man who looks like John Ritter sits with another who's a ringer for Ted Turner. "I'm about a two-hour drive north of here tonight," says the Ritter guy to the pretty SLU-student server. "What's a good tea for that?" She suggests the Mind Over Muddle. A glowing chartreuse Impala drifts by, pumping the Ying Yang Twins.
At the next table, a pair of thirtysomething women are catching up with each other: "He hasn't really taken time to talk to me since he's been back home," says one. "I'll try and talk to him, and he'll just talk over me. He wants to talk about the Rams."
Cha Yoon occupies a cute little storefront in the CWE and has been offering teas, tonics and sushi for two years now. The place rode the wave of the whole bubble-tea phenomenon of a couple years ago and continues to provide St. Louisans with many flavors of the liquid-and-boba (tapioca balls) drink. But we're looking to unmuddle our mind in order to fully appreciate the parade proceeding down Euclid on this heavenly night -- so we too order the Mind Over Muddle, "a mind-focusing tonic." For good measure we add an extra shot of "Men's Essential Sex Tonic."
The Mind Over Muddle arrives in a pint glass, iced, and has a plum and raspberry flavor, more of the former than the latter. It's a bit tangy and rich, with an abrupt tartness. Mind Over Muddle contains three naturally occurring ingredients that have been revered by shamans, sages, emperors and Taoist mystics for centuries. Specifically: ginkgo biloba, which stimulates brain function and boosts memory; schizandra, an antioxidant tonic that is good for the liver; and gotu kola, which apparently enhances brain performance. Because our brain always hums along at optimum RPMs, it's hard to tell a difference. The flavor is rounded off by the addition of the essential sex tonic, or at least we think so. The tea doesn't taste robust or anything, and, honestly, we don't feel any more virile after pouring it into our system. But we see clearly the people who continue the parade. The adolescents out for a stroll, the friends catching up on each other's Christianity. An elderly couple glances into Cha Yoon; she says, "Tea and sushi -- oh, they have those little balls in them." They walk away. A chubby bow-tied man squeezes through the tables; he's the same guy spotted this morning on the MetroLink, a truth that adds a perfect symmetry to the day. Behind him, a couple hold hands; she looks up at the stars, then utters, "It's a beautiful night." They turn the corner and head home.