I know them as Star Mints. Apparently this is an error. They are Star Brites Mints. However, since the manufacturer feels it necessary to spell its middle name phonetically instead of in English, I feel under no obligation to include it here. In fact, I guess the brand name doesn't matter except that Star - Mints are ubiquitous. To my knowledge, every after dinner mint I have had has been a Star Mint. And, to their credit, the experience has been consistently satisfying.
Need I describe them? Sweet, tasty, small, ever so piquant, and never sticky. After bar-b-que, or smoked salmon, Pad Thai, or garlic chicken, it's just the thing to finish off a meal when every one else is going for the chocolate sin cake.
When I have been virtuous, turning down the abundant opportunities for gluttony-bordering-on-obscenity so prevalent at American restaurants, I console myself that there will be a friendly Star Mint at the door bidding me farewell. As I watch cake, ice cream, mousse, flan, whiskey, and dessert wine arrive at the table for my compatriots while I sip tea or coffee, I am lighthearted, knowing my sweet lifeline will be there. When we have donned our coats, when we head to the car, when most of us are stuffed to the gills. . . I will dip my hand into the courtesy bowl for a mint. And, it will be there. It must be there.
I can't go on a this particular moment about how I feel when there are no mints, no bowl. There might as well, at such a moment, be no restaurant, no meal. . . I'll come back to this when I have the strength.