In the same building 109 St. Marks Pl. where Zen One Sushi used to be and where I had one of my first great experiences with those delectable raw fishies, there is a nearly-as-enchanting eatery called Sympathy for the Kettle, a tea shop with a small scattering of tables inside. We had a pot of white peach tea, steeped to perfection, and a pair of tarts mine was chocolate covered with raspberry in the middle. Definitely worth a return visit to this East Village gem.
Also visited the new Astor Center, 399 Lafayette St., for the first time since they moved. It makes the old Astor Wines, which did have a fair amount of charm, look sad in comparison. A really attractive below-street-level space with many more wine racks, a walk-in cool room, a bar for tastings, and what looked like a lab in the back for who-knows-what ... perhaps forensic wine experimentation.