Don Yee’s Tea Cup — which was situated on the second floor above what it now Judi Wyant’s shop on Pacific Avenue — was the required after-work pit-stop during the cocktail years before 1989. The charmingly murky bar was attached to a Chinese restaurant, though no one actually remembers dining. Cocktails were the whole point of the Tea Cup, where Yee in his dapper burgundy smoking jacket presided over a dark wood bar and a lounge appointed with low velour over-stuffed couches and chairs. It was wall-to-wall movers and shakers every Friday evening — including countless Tandy Beal birthdays and the last time Tom Brezsny ever occupied a bar stool — and many a martini was downed over conversations about Frida Kahlo, Neil Young and independent films.
In fact I was on my way to the Tea Cup when the earthquake struck that fateful October, forever removing this sin-stained watering hole from the local map. But not from our hearts or minds. I’ll lift a glass to the ultra-cool Yee, who left us last week for some mirrored back bar in the Great Beyond. . . . And farewell too to the juicy, ribald, brilliant empress of olive oil, Betty Pustarfi, whose way with culinary wisdom seasoned our local landscape during the 80s and 90s. Pustarfi, who opened and operated Capitola’s Jones & Bones along with her partner Jennifer Jones, knew more than any six people about the great oils of the Mediterranean and she shared her knowledge generously at memorable workshops, tastings and field trips all over the Monterey Bay area. Betty didn’t suffer fools, but she spread a lot of joy and revolution in her years among us. She will be missed.