Archive for the ‘tea’ Category

6
Dec

Escapism in bookstore format

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

In New York visiting my grandmother. She went to sleep at 7:30pm, so I said I’d head down and see if I liked the movie they are playing her, and if not walk around a bit. She said she’d worry terribly and had no idea why I’d put off going out until so late (because you are asleep, then, grandmother, and so I will not be neglecting my duties to you).

So I slipped out to the new Barnes & Noble near her.

(On the way there, I popped into Bed, Bath, and Beyond – because it was there – to see if they sold individual measuring cups, and they do not. I’ll try Williams Sonoma on Monday)

Tried a new tea – Harney & Son’s Bangkok Blend: green tea, lemongrass, coconut and ginger. Just a smidgen too heavy on the lemongrass, but otherwise quite pleasant. It’s main problem was that it tasted a bit more like food than tea, so now I want to use this flavor to make rice some day.

Read 10 pages of Age of the Conglomerates to discover that it’s nowhere near as innovative as it thinks it is. And sucks at world building, to boot.

Wandered around the travel section reading up on Birmingham and Wales. I need to get the last couple days of hostel reservations nailed down – maybe I’ll give up on Brecon Beacons and try Swansea, but I am ridiculously enamored of the idea of Brecon.

Stepped out of the building to go back to the old folks’ home, and it was lightly snowing. I really need to get shoes, but it’s kind of neat to have snowflakes falling on my toes.

7
Jul

tea and a movie

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

GeeksDoItBetter and I watched The Hard Word with Guy Pierce. It was a heist movie I picked up randomly because VHS is cheap as can be these days. But we both like heist movies, and this was the video we picked.

But, ummm… guys… you’re doing it wrong.

When you meet the characters in prison, you kind of think one of them might have a dark secret… well, the closest you get is confessed to the shrink to get into her pants and doesn’t affect the action at all. You’d think that the merry band of thieves might not trust each other 100%, but no, they’re brothers and they’re sticking together through it all. You’d think the obvious bad guy might be a misdirection from the sneaky bad guy, but no. You’d think that when one of the brothers gets sick before the big heist, it would be part of some clever plan and create opportunities for deception; but no, he just whinges a bit and gets on with things without it really affecting his job performance. When they lose the money, you’d think that it might be someone double crossing them to steal it all for his/herself; but not so much a double cross as the main guy being stupid enough to tell the Bad Guy where he stashed the money. Really. So you’d think that when the Bad Guy comes back to the six months later with another heist proposal they’d find some way to double cross him and steal all the money, but no, they just shoot him. *blink*

Not the movie I was looking for.

Also, it would have helped if the female lead could act… or even move her mouth when she talks.

And I tried a new tea over at [redacted]’s: Republic of Tea’s Yerba Mate Latte

tasting notes: deep, chocolaty brew. An exotic blend of cocoa and Brazilian mate, featuring small amount of natural caffeine. Rooibos, cactus flowers and almonds add depth to this deep rich brew. Add steamed milk for a creamy herbal latte.

It was every bit as rich and tasty as promised, but it was right on the line as to whether it should have dairy in it. On the one hand, it’s rich and desserty; but on the other hand, it’s green and red teas and not too bitter or dark. I ended up putting milk in it, and was pleased.

I have ordered a canister for myself. ETA: …or I thought I had.

25
Jun

Novus Tea

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

At the party at work, I tried a new brand of tea: Novus Tea‘s Kenilworth Ceylon. It’s a tasty black tea with no off notes. It doesn’t brew as darkly as mighty leaf, but it had a full enough flavor that I was willing to add cream. I might sneak up to the end of the party to also try the Egyptian Mint – usually mint tea does not appeal to me, but something about the packaging was seductive.

27
Nov

Bring Tea and Oil

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

I am pondering putting in an order to Mighty Leaf for some more luxury tea. I can’t really afford it this month, but maybe next month.

And I’m noticing that they always have free shipping for orders over $75, so if anyone in the area wants to join in the order, that’d be awesome, too.

But here’s what I’m pondering while I’m not actually buying yet:

one from Column A: (Sexy Dessert-type Black teas that I’ll drink any ole time)
Celebration
Pear Caramel
Orchid Oolong (and don’t let the Oolong part fool you, this is a yummy dark tea)

and one from Column B: (Warm and Toasty Green teas full of flavour)
Hojicha (on sale right now, if I buy 100)
Kyoto Rice

My mother would go in on the order by buying their Darjeeling, but while it’s a very wonderful tea I’m not sure it’s wonderful enough for the price. Other places do very well at your standard black teas.

Oh, and remember when I was pimping the olive oil people? Alejandro & Martin? Well I liked their oil, but I got an email saying that they are probably going out of business. The only discount is off shipping if you spend over $250 (HA!), but I did go and pick up a couple 100mL bottles before they completely ran out.

28
Mar

food excerpts from my trip to Seattle/Vancouver

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

Seattle
There were also some hardcore attempts at pimping me the glories of Starbucks, but they don’t have much there I like – though the hot chocolate was tasty. The tea, however, was much better back at home base.

Vancouver
The three hour drive to Vancouver wasn’t bad, even with the border checkpoint and the sudden turns with very little advanced signage.

After rallying in [redacted]’s room, a troop of us went down to start enjoying the organizational fiasco that was this convention. We went down about half an hour after registration was due to open only to find that the huge line hadn’t started being processed and that they were having everyone who wanted to get into the convention line up together, whether they had already registered the night before, had pre-registered online, or were registering that day – all in one line. YAY!

So we made our first foray into the food court in the mall attached to the hotel – and thus began my attempt to eat *everything* in Vancouver because the food was cheap and tasty! MMmmmm!

I went to a singapore joint and had sour long beans and spicy tofu. By the time we had finished eating, the line which had been deep into the food court had vanished – sadly, we soon found that they had just found a different path around the hotel to wind the line instead of having processed everyone who had been waiting.

…and then taking [redacted]’s son off on a quest for food (esp. red bean buns) which ended up at a noodle place that was only mostly acceptable.

…Ummmm… and that was pretty much it for the night (until the dessert thing at 10:30), so I took the opportunity to explore the city and make sure I’d be able to find the theatre the next morning. I boarded by the SkyTrain two blocks from the hotel (metrotown station) and went toward the city to the end of the line (Waterfront station) only to discover that my fare would include a trip to North Vancouver on the SeaBus. Now it had been rainy for the first two days we were there, (record-breaking amounts of rain), but that evening the sky cleared and there was a beautiful sunset – and then I got to cross the water at night with all the city lights reflecting in the water. If you’ve ever traveled with me, you probably know that something like this is my favorite way to first see a city: at night and near water. (I think things like the London Eye are just about the best thing ever to do fresh from the plane with an edge of jet lag and nothing but peaceful beautiful city for the entire ride.)

I wandered around London Quay. I walked uphill (upmountain?) through a residential area for a while before giving up on getting far from the water and shifting east a few blocks to walk down a more commercial street. I stopped by a friendly liquor store that had very little in the way of scotch and passed a couple nice restaurants that were out of the league of the cheap, tasty food I knew I could find. I passed by one of the restaurants that I am pretty sure I read about on Joseph Mallozzi’s blog, but I can’t find it after a quick look. I’ll (maybe) post the name later because the menu I grabbed is still packed (it was just a paper one for take out, so quit thinking I’m a thief).

Asked around the bus drivers for the location of the theatre – found out it was on the central Vancouver side of the water and that I could find the right street by the Tim Hortons. But it was getting late, I hadn’t had dinner, and there was a dessert party to go to, so I just took the SkyTrain home instead of exploring for the right street.

No worries – I was up early enough the next day that I left well ahead of everyone else, so I took the opportunity to weave about the streets a bit and do some touristing on the way to the theatre.

I found that I do not like Tim Hortons, and I am wondering whether that is a moral failing on my part. I tried the old fashioned glazed (a cake donut) and the honey dipped (a yeast donut), and both were too sweet. The honey dipped was almost like a Krispy Kreme but over the line as far as sweetness goes. Even the tea tasted a bit stale and uninteresting. Just as well, because ditching the tea meant that I was free to try Blenz‘s Royal Tea Latte, which was Assam and rose petals steeped dark and then flavored with a couple squirts of vanilla syrup before being topped off with foamed milk just like a latte. MMMMmmmmm! I considered buying a canister, but then I realised that it wouldn’t be anything like the stuff they were making from ingredients at the store (and one small canister was 13 CAD).

…Ummmm… *ducks head* I skipped one of the panels to have lunch. MMmmm – buns and water dumpings from this place with handmade noodles – so good! The bubble yea place had fresh papaya, so they make me a tea with papaya and coconut milk and no tapioca. If I had known you could get bubble tea without tapioca bubbles, I’d have been drinking it long before now.

…Right, so, end of convention. And now it was time to hunt for my misplaced knitting. I started off by going back to the theater with the screening and leaving a description and my contact information there – no luck. And then the only other places I had to look were at the hotel (or in the rental car of the people I don’t know), so I set off west on Davie Street toward the area that the guidebook one of my roommates had brought said was the gay area of town. And, oh man, was it! *delighted* There was a jeans and underwear store called Priape, and many other delightful things. I stopped by an indian restaurant (not Indian Bistro, but a few blocks west) because the manager, Jerry, saw me pondering the menu and was very eager to invite me in. He seated me by the window so that I could better watch the “parade” of people going by. This lovely, candle-lit restaurant would be a perfect date restaurant (as confirmed by the sexy couple at the next table) except for the manager stopping by to tell hilarious stories that were both charming and terrifying: about how he was queen bee of the restaurant and had to fire one of the older waiters who did not respect that when he first came to manage the restaurant, how they were short staffed tonight because the other waitress had a hot date and was “itching to twitch” that night, and how back when he had first come to Vancouver in 1974 and had been smoking a joint with a lovely young fellow (both hiding under a windbreaker) he had been jumped by the cops and arrested – and wasn’t he lucky they chose one of the rare times he wasn’t there giving head – and that his case went to the supreme court (of Canada?) because he had just been smoking when he’d been harassed for his homosexuality. And the food was tasty – I had lamb vindaloo (actually spicy) and lots of fresh hot bread (with free refills on naan). And then I slid out just in time to catch the bus to go back to the SkyTrain – no waiting. :)

20
Mar

Storytime for Space Hamsters

   Posted by: Livia

So I very rarely boil water in the microwave. Occasionally, I’ll melt stock or heat water that I’m going to add to something I am cooking over high heat, but in those circumstances, I am rarely patient enough to do more than take the chill off the liquid.

I certainly never boil water for tea in the microwave…

… because of the A-Team.

There’s one episode where Murdock eats a sandwich cold out of a vending machine, instead of microwaving it, because he’s afraid that the space hamsters will get in it.

Shortly after watching that episode, I was microwaving water for tea, and noticed how breaking the surface tension by adding sugar caused a wash of white foam on the top. Space Hamsters!

So, yeah, to avoid the space hamsters, I always boil water with a hot pot’s heating element or on the stove.

This was a public service announcement.

13
Dec

Happy thoughts

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

Just off the top of my head, and subject to change without notice

Teas I Love
Breakfast
Twining’s Irish Breakfast
Ahmad’s English Breakfast

Cheap Anytime Tea
Red Rose Tea – as cheap as Lipton’s, but much tastier.
Orange Pekoe – or any generic chinese restaurant tea.

Grotty Weekend Lounging
Lapsang Souchong (the best I’ve had was from Reading Terminal Market, but I’m not picky)

Dessert Teas
Mad Hatter’s Teaparty (available locally at the Last Drop Coffehouse)
Orchid Oolong (available locally at the Walnut Bridge Coffee Shop)
Celebration (only had at the Hershey Hotel)

Chocolates I Love
Lindt was made for milk chocolate. I like their mini candy bars of creamy rich milk chocolate and hazelnut… but I have found a deep-seated love for their extra-dark truffles. These are not the blue-wrapped truffles that are easier to find… they are wrapped in black.

Dolfin‘s Dark Chocolate with Pink Peppercorns.

A jar full of chunks of Schokinag chocolate

Anything made by my friend who is a Chocolate Goddess

Thursday
Trip to Boston – was wonderful
point a: I had managed to secure a fairly cheap ticket
point b: I got a call asking me to move my 2:30 shuttle to 3:30 because I was the only person on the 2:30 one. My flight wasn’t until 5:30, so I said yes a paid half price.

So then, when I was offered a chance to upgrade for $35, I felt perfectly justified whooping with joy and calling it a bargain.

YAY! The highest class was business class, but I was in seat 2A. Yep, I had a random upgrade and *still* ended up in a window seat.

We flew over populated areas low enough (or on a cloudless enough day) that I could watch all the pretty lights the whole way.

We got to chose assorted pretzels and chips from a little basket, and drink orders were taken while we were still taxiing on the runway.

AND there was a little wall between my seat and the person next to me, so there was no physical contact… with the added bonus of having the seat belt fit without me having to ask for an extender.

Friday
I was dropped off at Central Square because it was on my brother-in-law’s way to work, and then I walked to Harvard Square.

On the way, I had breakfast at Dado Tea. The tea was excellent, and they had lovely benches where I could sit by a fountain and be warmed by the sunlight filtering through the window glass. The scone, however, was spongy and tasteless and not particularly scone-like at all.

Stopping into a lovely used book store that smelled like fresh wood, I ended up with not only the couple maps I had wanted, but also a random old science fiction paperback as well.

I walked by 2-4 gaming stores. I tell ya, Boston has more gaming stores and comic book stores than any other city I have ever been in (that I have noticed).

I wandered around and looked in fancy stores with stuff I didn’t need and just treated it all as entertainment. There was a Tibetan store that had some lovely jewelry that was affordable, but I couldn’t quite justify buying any of it as I haven’t worn any jewelry at all in several years.

At the Harvard Book Store, I found an even better map (which I have already torn and might need to go back to get another) and a remaindered copy of a Josephine Tey book I hadn’t read yet.

Randomly walking around the square, I ran into someone I had known from college. So we’ll make plans to meet up for lunch/tea sometime next week.

By the time I decided to sit down a bit and stop walking for a while, I went looking for another good teashop. The first place that looked promising was a Peet’s Coffee, but while I will admit that it seemed a haven for coffee lovers, it was too busy, too crowded, and way too coffee-ish for me to stay. Then I ended up at Burdick’s – they had a nice tea selection, but looking around a bit let me know that what I clearly wanted way hot chocolate, instead. OH, man – incredible hot chocolate. It was a bit more bitter than I could take, but each table had a sugar bowl – and when I sprinkled sugar on top, the hot chocolate was so thick and luscious that the sugar didn’t even fall through to the bottom – just floated and liquidised on top… and then sipping it would coat my tongue in bitter liquid, and my upper lip would have sugar crystals – amazing.

Walked around a bit more, listened to buskers, and went home. Buses are oddly confusing because some stops have route maps, some just have route numbers, and others just have a signpost with a T telling you that some bus might stop there some time, but specifics are for wimps. :) All in all, I think I walked 4-5 miles. And, for all you hear about Boston drivers, everyone was surprisingly friendly to the pedestrians. I had drivers stop and wave me to cross even if I were still completely on the sidewalk and just looking vaguely interested in crossing that street. Huh.

Saturday
I met RubyNye! Sexy, lovely woman! We spent a lot of time talking about her insane commitments to writing some 8 stories in a few months. And I’m not telling you anything about them because most of them were for secret exchanges – but I can say that they all sound fairly brilliant.

We started out at the Someday Cafe, which is everything I think a coffee/tea shop should be (lots of choices in loose leaf tea, eclectic comfy furniture, friendly banter behind the counter, and music just a touch louder than a restaurant). Then dinner at some diner-type place in Harvard Square with green in the name. And then back to Davis Square for more tea at the Diesel Cafe, which was larger and trendier – with sharp edges, an industrial feel, and lots of game (board games and pool tables)… the scenery might have been better at Diesel, but I hold to the first cafe as the epitome of a comfy teahouse.

And we made plans to get together again on Wednesday… possibly for a Harry Potter viewing.

So my family – haven’t seen too much of them, but we are getting on well. The plan is to spend all day today bonding.

18
Mar

tea closet

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

This weekend I have completely finished off the partial box of Irish Breakfast and the 3/4 full box of Peach Tea.
Now I am putting a dent in the 48-count Red Rose tea and the Tippy Assam.
It is a pity that I had already finished off my nice, strong English Breakfast.

It’s time to buy more tea. *g*