Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chocolate and Orchids and Poems

These chocolates and the orchid came from some sweethearts. Thank you, my circle of friends!I thought the poems fit well and hope you enjoy both the visuals and the poetry.

Cocoa, divine
by Dorean Malandra-Dara

O sweet divinity
dark lusciousness of a time put off
guide me through the tides of crimson rushes
there is none finer that I may know
than perhaps a dip into the passions
that ethyr knows not

my dark love
bind the curse by one and two and three
rid the pain from thee
as i indulge in your flavorful essence
once more.
just an indulgence here and there
but once a month thou art my saviour
dedicated to consume and devour
until all pain has been curbed
and lust dissolved.

Woman as Orchid
by Isolde

People say that Orchids are hard to care for,
An urban legend that swirls around those bright
Beautiful red blue orange pink yellow dark light
Flowers goddesses that
Lean and lounge sensually from every
Elite doorstep, every corporate hallway
And are so often looked past in florist's windows because
A vicious reputation precedes them.
Yet my orchids grow, wild and fair
With hardly a care from my almost-
Green hands, reaching, floating,
Dripping down their own stems
Filling the world of my room with
Such an effortless exotic grace and Pop.

Orchids are women, a female flower
Then women are orchids as well?

Women are lush, curved, open and pinked
Sometimes blooming, sometimes waiting
Catching the sunlight as it dapples in
White yellow spots on our shiny leaves,
Stems and buds.

People say that women can be hard to care for,
An urban legend that swirls around our
Long hair and pointed shoes,
Every day goddesses that
Lean and lounge and work and play
And hurt and cry and love and laugh
And try and fail and try and win and
Hope and pray and want and need and
Walk past you, day in and day out
Searching for a place or a way to set down
Our own roots, our own strength
In a world that sighs and says
"they are pretty, but too much work...I'll take
A peace lily instead."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harney & Sons Tea Tasting: Bancha

Bancha tea is an everyday green consumed widely in Japan.  Bancha comes from the same plant as Sencha tea, however it is picked in a later harvest.  This later harvest makes for a lower-grade tea.  Even within Bancha, there are a number of grades.

Bancha is made with both leaf and twig, which you can see in the picture above.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this tea.  I prefer smooth teas.  Ones that are what I can only describe as "metallic" are not among my regulars.  However, I liked this tea just fine.  I drank several cups.  Mine came from Harney & Sons.  Not sure of the grade.

The wet leaf plumps up.  I steeped for 2 min at 175 degrees.

As Harney described, the liquor is bright yellow. 

All in all, this was a flavorful tea.  To read another review, check out Angela's.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cherries in 3 Steps

Step 1:  Find an abandoned cherry tree and pick a lot!  (A mix of red and black cherries shown.)

Step 2:  Make this simple cherry syrup.  I used honey.

Step 3:  Serve with ice cream and live in the moment.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tea Chai Te

One of the best parts about being new in town is the chance to explore all the tea spots!  I am so grateful for a diversity of tea establishments.  Wonderful though my Midwestern town was, it lacked a good tea shop.

Here there are several and last week I visited Tea Chai Te.  This place has a fabulous balcony, and since the summers here are pleasant and not humid, the balcony is a great perch from which to people-watch.  It looks over trendy 23rd Avenue.  The DH enjoyed a bubble tea (surprisingly, not too sweet) and whiled the time away as I visited with a new tea friend.
People-watching porch

I had a hard time choosing from among the many tea choices.  I settled on an oolong and a bowl of vegan stew. Both were good.  The environment inside is relaxing and cozy, with vintage furniture and a casual feeling.  Perfect for a long chat, which mine was.  My companion and I got to know one another and discussed the tea industry for nearly two hours.  How time flies with good company and tea!  

Smelling wall

I'm certain I'll be back.  Next time I hope to try the shop's kombucha.  Tea Chai Te also sells kombucha starter kits, along with a variety of teapots, cups, and loose leaf teas and tisanes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I'd never heard of Tayberries until I found them recently at my local Farmer's Market.  According to Wikipedia, the tayberry is a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry.  I found the flavor to be, surprisingly, a bit of both.  I was skeptical that I would find both flavors, but I did.  Note this:  "Unfortunately, Tayberries do not pick easily by hand and cannot be machine harvested and so they have never become a widely grown berry crop."  That explains why I'd never seen them before!

If you get a chance to try a tayberry, please do!  I recommend eating them just as they are.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can't Get Enough Of...

Pictured here with Sweetcakes. I'm so glad we got to spend time together in this very special place.  She and Esme gave me a gift membership. 

We enjoyed the gongfu tea ceremony with a Wuyi oolong tea.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Grandpa and Green Plums

The DH (dear hubby) found a couple of abandoned fruit trees recently.  We've been enjoying foraged cherries, red plums and green plums. Have you heard of green plums?  I had not, and they are spectacular!  Sweet and fleshy. 

Plums make me think of my grandparents' farm in the summer.  They always grew plums - red and dark purple.  I ate many a plum straight from the tree and spent the afternoon with sticky chin and stained shirt. Grandma and Grandpa had an ongoing friendly debate about the best care for the plum trees, and forecasts of the harvest.  Grandma's plum jelly is among my favorites!

I would like to write Grandpa a letter and tell him about these green plums.  I would like to share with him my adventures in this foreign land, so similar and yet so different from my home.  Grandpa passed away last week and I miss him.  He taught me to enjoy life slowly, respectfully and simply. 

Thursday, July 01, 2010