Friday, April 28, 2006

Tea at PF Chang's

My Mom, Sister and I spent last weekend in St. Louis. It was our yearly "girls' weekend." I look forward to these every year! This was #4. While there, we had dinner (and tea) at PF Chang's. I was rather surprised and pleased at the quality of tea at PF Chang's. We shared a pot of White Tangerine tea. They brought the tea in a cast-iron pot. I didn't get a look at the tea leaves, because the tea was pre-steeped. However, someone knew what she was doing; the tea was just right. They had a number of tea options. I wish I had been a little less impulsive and paid more attention to the choices. :-)

We all enjoyed the tea. It was light with just a hint of fruit. No bitterness. A lovely cup, served in a lovely teapot. There was enough tea in the pot for each of us to have 2 cups of tea, plus a little extra. (The cups are the small, handleless type.)

Here's a photo of the family outside of PF Chang's.

A Friday Flower

The DH (dear husband) says I should call this my "Tea and Flower" blog! :-)

No apologies from me, tho. I love flowers and plants - they are our children!

This is the first iris we've had blooming. It just popped out this morning. I've been watching it slowly grow from fat leaf to flower bud to full blossom.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

St. Louis Zoo Photos

No tea news in this post, but some fun photos from a recent trip to the St. Louis Zoo with my mom and sis.

Me with my hand on a (fake) cobra. I really don't like snakes. Silly as it seems, this was a big deal. >-)

I love elephants!

This is my favorite photo! This giraffe would eat grass out of kids' hands. It had a really long, black tongue, but I didn't get a shot of that.

This polar bear is splashing around. He or she was sooooo very playful! First, the bear dove into the water. Then it started play with the balls. It would float on its back and toss the ball into the air, then catch it. If bears can be show offs, this one was!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Queen!

Today, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, turns 80 years old. Happy Birthday to The Queen!

This website has all kinds of information about The Queen's life and her birthday celebration. You can even send a personalized birthday greeting to The Queen!

I find it interesting that, while today is her actual birthday, her "official" birthday is celebrated in June - and not always on the same day. This year's official birthday will be June 17th.

My favorite part of the website is the decade-by-decade look at The Queen's life.

I'll be celebrating with a cup of tea, appropriately Imperial Oolong.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kitchen Angels and Whole Wheat Shortbread

My kitchen angel was with me yesterday!
I decided (last minute) to make some shortbread cookies for a meeting with a friend. Well, I hadn't planned ahead and we were out of white flour (we don't usually buy it). So, I just made them with whole-wheat. I also sprinkled in some lavender, for the heck of it. You know what? I was pleasantly surprised - it worked pretty well! The photo below shows the dough after it's been "bopped" out of the shortbread mold, and one read to be bopped.

When I do this again for general consumption, I will probably go 1/2 and 1/2 on the whole wheat and white flour. For the DH and me, we're used to the heartiness of whole wheat, so I'd leave it the same.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tea at the Adolphus - Dallas, TX

Two friends and I recently had tea at the Adolphus in Dallas, TX. If you ever find yourself in Dallas, I highly recommend the Adolphus for tea! The tea is served in the beautiful hotel lobby.

Friends at tea (I'm in the middle)

My favorite part, aside from the company of my friends, was the Tea Captain. She is knowledgeable about Afternoon Tea and the teas being served. The teas are presented on a cart, in silver tins. A larger urn keeps the water piping hot. The Tea Captain pours loose tea leaves into a paper filter and steeps in the pot. She returns to remove the filter and pour the first cup. It was a marvelous tea experience - one I won't soon forget! We each picked a tea, one for each course. We chose: Green Passion Fruit, Organic Darjeeling, and Caramel Pear (a dessert tea). They were all very delicious!

Tea Captain at the Adolphus
Also notice the beautiful tapestry in the background

The food was wonderful! We started with shortbread cookies. Then we moved to the assortment of finger sandwiches. Next came the scones with cream and raspberry jam (below). Desserts were a wonderful selection of small sweets. We ended with an assortment of truffles. My favorite was the champagne and white chocolate.

Scones, jam and cream, and desserts

Here is a photo of some of the Adolphus architecture.

As we were leaving the hotel, we found a picture of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, from a state visit a few years ago. It's fun to think the Queen might have had tea in the same room as I did! :-)

Monday, April 17, 2006


Over many cups of tea in the past few weeks, I'd been studying up on the opera Carmen by Bizet. I attended my first Opera performance last Friday. Fortunately, my neighbor went with me. She's just completed her master's degree in Opera and I've had the privilege of hearing her at two recitals.

I was prepared, as I knew the story and I had listened to the music several times. Still, it didn't prepare me for the full experience. I walked away with a few thoughts:

1 - Carmen is an enticing and fatalistic story of a manipulative (but likeable) Gypsy woman and the men she seduces. I learned that in its time, the opera was considered scandalous. In fact, Bizet didn't live to see the opera's success. A shame!

2 - I was in the balcony and I had absolutely NO trouble hearing the performers, even tho there was a live symphony. It is really amazing how well the performers' voices project. This is one of the main differences between opera and musical theater. In musical theater, both the musicians and the singers are amplified. Not in opera.

3 - It was an interesting experience to have the setting of the opera be in Spain, listen to French singing, and read the text in English! (The opera house projected the words in English above the stage. This is done very subtly, but is a big help.)

4 - I'm very grateful to my friend who educated me on the history of the opera, the cast, the musical elements, etc. I think going to an opera prepared is a smart thing. :-)

5 - Was Carmen a heroine, standing for women's independence? Was she conniving, selfish and shallow? Was she all of these things? These are the questions I left with.

On an unrelated note, notice that I changed my template. The other one was messed up with the sidebar and I couldn't find the problem in the coding. So, I swapped. This one reminded me of spring and green tea.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I've heard the phrase "golf-ball-sized hail" but saw it for myself last Friday, 4/7. One of these is a real golf ball. The others are hail. Can you tell the difference? The hail broke through the plastic door handle on my car.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Junk Food and Schools

The good thing about tea is that it's an alternative to drinking water and it does not have added sugar! (Unless you're adding it, of course.)

On that note...yeah to IL for passing a law that bans junk from food being sold in schools. Too bad high schools got around this.

In our society, it's OK to risk the health of our children because schools get subsidized by selling candy in vending machines!! Does this strike anyone else as insane? Childhood obesity is soaring, and that's a really important health concern! Kids that are overweight are much less likely to be active, healthy adults. An estimate I saw in a recent Time magazine predicted over 60% of our children would turn into obese adults. And most children aren't overweight because of health problems. Nope. It's because of bad nutritional habits and a lack of exercise.

I know that educational leaders need every penny they can get - but let's not continue putting them in the position to endanger the health of children in the process of getting it! Let's fund education the way it should be. Let's cut spending on other things - like war - and redirect it to our own crisis.

Reference article: