Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tea at a London Pub

In the US, we might not consider a bar a place for afternoon tea, but it's pretty common in the UK.  When I was recently there, I had a lovely tea at Browns Brasserie & Bar. 

Tea was served in the traditional leaves-in-pot style, and I poured through a filter to strain. 

The food was delicious! 
Sandwiches: Watercress and egg salad, salmon with butter, and cucumber with cream cheese.
Scones with jam and clotted cream
Desserts: Vanilla custard, chocolate-covered cream puff, whoopie pie (might not be the British term!) and lemon tart

These serving trays seems to be "en vogue." The one from the yacht was similar.

I want to make a comment about British scones - here is a classic example. Simple, lightly sweet round scones, one plain and one with dried fruit.  The decadence comes from the addition of the jam and cream.  

It was a lovely, leisurely experience (though I got lost finding it, which was another adventure!). I had an entire corner to myself, and the pub wasn't busy yet so I was able to sit and write and sip.  I hope you have the chance to take tea in a pub someday, too.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tovolo TeaGo and Hotel Room Tea

I haven't written about tea technology in some time. I thought I had all the gadgetry I needed, until a friend gave me this Tovolo TeaGo as a holiday gift.  It's great for travel. You can pack loose leaf tea in the stick and when you are ready, make tea. When done brewing, press the plunger to extract liquid and cap it to keep it dry.  It's a useful and clever implement!  It can be a little difficult to get those pressed leaves out, but as I discovered, a chopstick works very well.  

I used my TeaGo yesterday, for a few minutes of peace in my hotel room before packing to leave London.  I appreciate that this hotel has a window seat, where I enjoyed the tea with a leftover scone. Tea helps me savor the moments. 

If you have a Tovolo TeaGo, what do you think about it?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tea on a Yacht (London)

Well, I enjoyed something yesterday that I had never dreamed. I had afternoon tea on a yacht. I'm in London for a work trip, at the Excel convention center. It's quite far outside of downtown London and I wasn't sure I would find much extra curricular fun.  How wrong I was!  There are lots of hotels out this way that serve afternoon tea, and a really cool museum I will write about soon. 

I had read about the Sunborn Yacht Hotel and its tea service before I arrived.  It seemed nearby and I was trying to figure out the train system to get myself there. Imagine my surprise when I went for a walk and discovered the yacht was moored literally next door to the convention center! Oh, lucky me!

It's not what I think of as a yacht.  It's very large. The picture above shows the lobby entry. The staff is exceptional. When I called to make a reservation, the restaurant hostess took me on as a special case - I was calling outside the 48 hours notice and I was a party of one (they typically require two). She spoke with the chef and called me back - I would be very welcome.  

The restaurant uses Tea Forte served on a pretty white tray.  Here you can see not only the tea service but also the view from my table. I saw the Thames and skyscrapers of London.

Scones: Fruit scones with jam and a giant vat of Devonshire cream (below), of which I did my best to consume.

Sandwiches: Cucumber with creme fraiche on rosemary white bread, grated hen eggs with chive mayo on wholemeal bread, honey roasted ham with salted butter and mustard on onion bread and smoked salmon with cream cheese on walnut date bread. I believe it was black walnut, a special flavor.

Desserts: Berry macaron, cream filled tuile cup and chocolate cup with espresso bean

I was dining alone and didn't have any of my normal friends with me - a book or my journal. Instead, I sat and appreciated the view.  Below you can see a gondola that goes across the Thames. I hope I work this show again next year!  :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"White" Tea in Britain

Hello!  I'm in London for a work trip and stopped at a popular coffee shop (Pret) yesterday. I asked for an English Breakfast tea. No question of whether I take milk - the tea came out "white" as it was called.  I love how tea transforms itself across cultures!

I spent the weekend prior in Paris, so I'll post some photos of that soon.  And I'm finding ways to sneak in afternoon tea because that is a MUST do!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice 2015

Here comes the sun!  It's alright....

Belated Happy Hanukkah,  Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa Greetings

Wishing you a peaceful year's end and joyful celebration of light

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Making Space

Photo by Ana Martinez

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” 

~ Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Hello, fellow tea lovers - Wow, my blogging has slowed dramatically!  There are a number of reasons, but one is that I am making space for some new things in my life. My tea studies in Chado continue to grow and delight me, and I have recently begun a journey of facilitating writing workshops. Tea and writing are such good friends!

I will continue to blog, though less frequently.  I love hearing from you and appreciate your participation in this conversation about tea and life around it. Thank you!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

For All of It

 I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.

~Kristin Armstrong