Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm Back!

[Internet Photo]

I returned from my vacation Saturday night, and have lots to share when I get settled in. Yesterday was a graduation party for my granddaughter, Brianna, so I haven't even unpacked yet.

L-R: Tiffany [granddaughter], Lori [daughter], Marissa & Brianna [granddaughters] and me.

[Daughter-in-law Sharon, Bri's mom, on right]

More soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tea Tasting at The Rendezvous With Tea

On May 23rd I wrote a post about a tea shop that recently opened in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan.  The name of the shop is The Rendezvous With Tea, and you can read the post here.

A friend and I returned to the shop yesterday for a tea tasting.  Naszreen, the owner, likes to hold the tastings on a Monday, for a maximum of ten people.  Today was the second tasting she's held, and more are scheduled for future dates.  

The tasting area was all set up when we arrived and we were told we'd be tasting eight teas.

Naszreen began by sharing tea's history.

Then the tasting began.  A delicate white tea was first - Silver Moonlight Wild White. The dry, unsteeped leaves were passed around in a dish so participants could see and smell them. It was a light and delicious tea. 

The second tea was a Kenilworth black, orange pekoe tea from Sri Lanka [where Naszreen was born].  It was a smooth, full bodied tea.

The third tea was Buckingham Palace Garden Party - a black tea flavored with Bergamot and Jasmine.   It was medium bodied with a coppery color.

The fourth tea was Ti Kuan Yin [Iron Goddess] Oolong from Fujian, China.  

The fifth tea wasn't really a true tea since it didn't come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.  It was Peach Rooibos, from the red bush in South Africa.  

The sixth tea was a herbal tisane called Orange Grove Vanilla.  Its ingredients were Apple, Rosehip, Orange, Sunflower, Hibiscus, Red Thistle and natural flavors.  The tisane was used as a palate cleanser before tasting the last two green teas.

The seventh tea was Green Snowy Mountain Jian, from the Wuyi Mountains in Yunnan China.   It was very light without a strong vegetal taste.

The eighth and last tea was an artisan flowering Ginseng Lily tea.  The long hand tied green tea leaves unfurled into a beautiful flower as it steeped.  It was very good.  The last two teas were my favorite at the tasting.

When we finished the tasting, Naszreen served a tea sandwich and cupcake.  The sandwich had three layers - the top layer was beets, the middle layer carrots, and the bottom layer cucumbers.  She said it's a popular tea sandwich in her homeland, and because it is red, yellow, and green it's referred to as the "Traffic Light" sandwich.

The cupcake was made with Lavender Green Tea and Almond Meal.  It too was very good.

We selected one of the eight teas from the tasting to drink with our food.  I chose the Snowy Mountain Jian green tea.

The tasting began at 11:00 a.m. and concluded at 12:30 p.m.  Thank you, Naszreen!  It was a lovely experience, and my friend and I are looking forward to returning for the next tasting in July.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cristy's Royal Garden Promenade Tea

Last Saturday my girlfriend, Sandy, and I traveled to East Lansing to attended Cristy Bennett's June theme tea - Royal Garden Promenade.  Cristy said when she saw the fabric for her tablescape, the symmetrical patterns made her think of royal gardens designed by famous landscape architects/gardeners. And it was as though her porcelain figurines of 17th and 18th century ladies were promenading the gardens.

The fabric can best be seen on her dining room table and antique buffet.

Decorative touches of periwinkle blue, plum, and ivory coordinated beautifully with the fabric.

Birds and bird sanctuaries can always be found in gardens, and Cristy incorporated them into her decorations too.

~ Gorgeous Tablescape ~

Cristy always decorates her fireplace mantle, and if you look closely you can get a peek at her figurines that were promenading.

Close-up view of her figurine mantle lamps and figurines.

~ My place setting ~

~ Personalized Keepsake Menu Card ~

Cristy even found the right color of carnations to coordinate with the tablescape.  The flowers and vase were ours to take home.

The three course high tea began with a toast of Sparkling Chardonnay White Grape Juice.

The 1st course was a chilled Strawberry Soup accompanied by Cristy's Signature Pinwheel Scone [Strawberry] with Devonshire Cream.

The tea served throughout the meal was a premium blend of Ceylon, Assam and Kenya black teas from Tealightful Teas.

The 2nd course was a Fruity Chicken Salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Cheesy Pimento Crostini, and Fresh Fruit Cup.

~ The dessert course was a Strawberry Banana Sundae ~

~ Sandy [R] and Me ~

Thank you for another fabulous tea, Cristy!   The next tea will be August 23rd and the theme will be Hankies, Handbags & Hats, Oh My!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Reflection...

My father is no longer living to celebrate Father's Day with.  He passed away on April 8, 2011, but I was blessed to have his Christian influence and example until he was 93 years old. He was trustworthy, dependable, and consistent. His love was unconditional, and I always felt safe and secure when he was near. When I was little I used to say I was going to marry him when I grew up! 

~ Daddy and Me ~

In a tribute to him at his 80th birthday party I told him because he was such a wonderful earthly father, he made it so easy for me to put my faith and trust in God, my Heavenly Father. It's awesome to know that as much as my earthly father loved and cared for me, my Heavenly Father's divine love is far greater than I can imagine or comprehend. 

This Father's Day I celebrate God's promise that someday I'll spend eternity with both of them!

 [Internet Photo]

May God bless your week!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fun Postal Deliveries

This has been a week of postal deliveries.  Don't you enjoy getting packages in the mail?

You could say it was Christmas in June when the first package arrived.  On May 30th I blogged about Tea-themed Napkin Rings.   At the time of the post I had placed an E-bay  bid on a set of four "A Cup of Christmas Tea" napkin rings, but because the auction hadn't ended and they weren't mine yet, I didn't mention them.  They're still in their original box, and I'm happy to add them to my napkin ring collection, as well as my "A Cup of Christmas Tea" collection that I blogged about previously.

Two Beatrix Potter books and a figurine also arrived in the mail.  The used books came from Amazon, and I was surprised to see one was from an elementary school library.  I wondered why they parted with it since Beatrix Potter's books are classics? Both are cookbooks with cute stories, and Beatrix Potter's illustrations. Not surprisingly, they both have recipes for children's tea time.

The figurine is Tabitha Twitchett.

With Tom Kitten, I now have a pair.

My "Tea Angel" collection has grown by one more angel too. The whimsical angel doesn't have a manufacturer's marking, and is made of resin.  Her sign says Tea Party, Honey Cakes, and Love Muffins.

Back view of her angel wings.

She's taken her place on the shelf with her sister tea angels.

And last, but certainly not least, was a package from Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, KY.  In March of this year, I attended a gathering of tea bloggers and friends in Berea, and we stayed at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel.  [You can read about the gathering here.]  The last day of our stay, Mr. Gary McCormick, the hotel's General Manager, stopped by our table at breakfast and said he would be sending something to each of us.  Time lapsed after the gathering, and I forgot about it. A package with Boone Tavern's return address was a pleasant surprise this week, and I must say it's the first time I've ever received a gift from a hotel where I've stayed. What a kind and thoughtful gesture!

Inside the package was a tin of Boone Tavern's signature tea blend [hence the delay in receiving the gift since it took awhile for for Elmwood Inn Fine Teas to create the tea blend and packaging], and a handcrafted pottery mug made by the students at Berea College.

How fitting for Boone Tavern Hotel to ask Elmwood Inn Fine Teas to create a signature blend for them since their tea business is also located in Kentucky [Danville].  The blend is made of hand-picked single-estate black teas from India and Sri Lanka.

My friend, Linda J., of Friendship Tea blog coordinated the gathering of tea bloggers and friends last March, and as the hotel's tea director/advisor she was instrumental in Boone Tavern having a signature blend created for the hotel. Kudos to Boone Tavern, Bruce Richardson at Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, and Linda on this fine accomplishment.

Now I'm off to make myself a cup of tea with Boone Tavern Blend!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Celebrating a 48th Wedding Anniversary!

Yesterday was Jerry's and my 48th Wedding Anniversary.  I can't believe how swiftly the years have passed.  I used to think people who've been married this long were really old. But now that I'm here I've changed my mind!  When's the last time you've seen tissue flowers affixed to a wedding vehicle?  ;-)

~ Then ~

~ Now ~

We spent a quiet evening having dinner at Andiamo's Restaurant.

You can tell where this restaurant's priorities are. They have an extensive wine list, but when I ordered a cup of hot tea I got a generic tea bag from Cadillac coffee company. Quality teas don't bring in the money that fine wines do, so wines get all their attention.  I'm glad good tea is readily available at home.

The waiter brought our bread basket out first.  We ordered grilled Portabello Mushrooms with Zip Sauce for our appetizer, but I forgot to take a picture.  They were so good, and I especially enjoyed the Zip Sauce.  Our server said it was made with clarified butter, vegetable broth, and other "secret" ingredients.  I went online to look for a recipe when I got home and discovered the sauce was originally created in Detroit's Lelli's restaurant by their chef in the 1980's.

I had Pasta Fagioli soup instead of a salad.

Next came a side of pasta - Farfalle [bow ties] with Marinara Sauce.

I ordered Chicken Marsala and Jerry got a Filet Mignon.

Then the waiter brought the dessert cart to our table.

It was a toss-up between Butter Pecan Cheesecake and Tiramisu, but the cheesecake won out. Jerry practically had to roll me out to the car, but I enjoyed every bite!

Here's to many more years together, Jerry!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Marie Antoinette Tea

Yesterday my girlfriend, Lori, and I went to O'Mara's for their monthly theme tea - Tea With Marie Antoinette.

The tables were decorated in keeping with the theme.

Lovely teacups at our table.  My tea of choice was Harney's Pomegranate Oolong.  It was very good.

There were only 18 attendees, and three of those were men.  

The tea began with the soup course, and I selected the Potage aux Legumes [Green Vegetable Soup] topped with Gruyere Cheese Toast.  So delicious!

The sandwich course consisted of Pate on White Toast Points; Croque Marie - Gruyere French Cheese Spread, Dijon, Ham and Tomato on Egg Bread; and Poulet Crudites - Chicken Salad with Pecans and Sliced Grapes on Cranberry Almond Toasties.

Liver isn't something I enjoy, so I didn't eat the Pate on Toast Points.  The other two sandwiches were excellent.

Chef Anita demonstrated how to make Chicken Salad.

As always, they had Brie with Fresh Fruit and Crackers.  Before wrapping the Brie in Filo Pastry, it was glazed with Port Wine reduction.  Of all the ways they've prepared Brie in the past, this was definitely my favorite.  Chef Anita said it was simply 1 cup of sugar to 1 bottle of Port, simmered until it was reduced to syrup.  

The main entree was Quiche Lorraine [Bacon, Chives, Nutmeg and Swiss Cheese], and a Mixed Greens Salad.

Dessert was a Pink Lemonade Scone, Macarons [mine was a delicious Pistachio], Angel Food Apricot Jelly Roll, and Wafer Cookies.

It was a fabulous tea, and a wonderful afternoon spent with a great friend!   July's theme will be Boston Tea Party.  I'll be sure to tell you all about it!