Food

My Favorite Teas

Oh hey guys I’m back with a really exciting post about tea. I didn’t become a tea drinker until the late age of 21 and even then I strictly stuck to Chai tea. And most of them were in latte form, so does it even really count? Does this post even really count? DOES MY LIFE EVEN REALLY COUNT? tumblr_lza98wF1aY1r61bvjo1_500

After spending time in rainy countries I understand why people need tea in their lives. It’s so cozy and comforting. I don’t even drink it for the caffeine. I drink it for the warmth. The town that I live in seems to celebrate their love for tea by having a hundred tea shops. I’m exaggerating, they have like, 6. And one of them is called Special Teas.tumblr_mtt7fuTVI41qzdzbuo1_1280

One of my favorite tea shops goes by the name Silk Road Tea. They have a store located in the Chinatown of my city and it’s pretty pimp. They sell many a tea with plenty of accouterments. They hand out samples (a must, if you want me to frequent your place of business) and they even have a spa. So yeah it would be safe to say that Silk Road Tea is my everything.tumblr_mghu8sUijn1r5kl7zo1_500

Their teas have fantastic names such as Philosopher’s Brew, Gunpowder, and Angelwater. One of my faves is called Seamist/ Mermaid’s Potion. I basically only drink this one for the name. It tastes very minty and light and has a bit of lemongrass and seaweed mixed in. This tea is comforting during all seasons and it’s a good reminder that I’m actually a mermaid.imgres

I also recently ventured into the popular David’s Tea store after trying some of my friend’s Bear Trap tea. Bear Trap has a very fruity taste because the ingredients include elderberries, apples, rosehips, hibiscus, blackcurrant, raisins, strawberry leaves, lemon verbena, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, and papaya. Needless to say that this one smells delicious and is totally different from most herbal teas. I also think it would make a great iced tea in the summer time.imgres

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this tea before, but I’m a real fan of Golden Sail Brand China Lichee Black Tea. It’s just a plain black tea that comes loose in a sweet tin. I like how basic this one tastes. Whenever I go out for sushi I really look forward to the black tea that they serve with the meal. I also realllly look forward to the sushi as well, don’t get me wrong. I don’t know where you can specifically find this brand, but I’m guessing you can wander around any China town and find some. It’s also available online.url

I’m also a pretty big fan of Tazo’s Awake tea. It’s essentially an English Breakfast tea so that’s what I usually opt for at Starbs when I want something warm, but not fattening. 0079452220078_500X500

And lastly, a little tea that my husband picked out at David’s Tea which turned out to be one of my absolute faves is The Earl’s Garden. It’s a black Ceylon Tea with a floral infusion of blue cornflowers and calendula petals as well as strawberries and bergamot oil. It’s like the perfect tea. And it smells divine. If you’re a fan of Earl Grey and feel brave, definitely give this one a try.10084_s

What kind of tea do you like to drink?tumblr_mzioepNSG31sp0k8to1_500

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Food, Music

“You’re So Vain” and other events.

Last night I had trouble sleeping. I never have trouble sleeping. Sleep is my thang. Here in Victoria, we don’t need AC–we just leave our windows open to get a nice breeze. Last night however, I got less of a breeze and more noise.

The apartment behind us, where our windows face, was playing music extremely loud starting at about midnight. One would assume they would be playing party music or some kind of top 40 crap, but no. Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” started playing on repeat. Needless to say, when I woke up there were definitely clouds in my coffee.images

After that, ELO’s “Evil Woman” came on followed by an entire ELO Greatest Hits album. I think someone from my building shouted at the late night DJ but that only made them repeat whatever song they were playing. They wanted no interruptions. Maybe they were going through a tough break up and were choosing super appropriate songs and then got distracted by how many good songs ELO has to offer. By the time “Living Thing” came on, I had the shut the window and turned on the fan.

Today Paul took me to lunch after I was done volunteering. We went to one of our favorite Thai restaurants. I always get this red coconut curry stuff that’s super bad for me but tastes like a tapestry of wonder on my tongue. I mainly like to go there because of one of the waitresses there. She’s very androgynous-looking. She’s always so happy and willing to get whatever Paul and I need. Occasionally she calls me “sweetie” and I kind of love it.

Paul: She never calls me sweetie.

Me: And that’s why she’s my favorite.

Paul: That’s good because she’s right behind you.

Me: *mouthing in her direction* I love you (As she turns back into the kitchen)

As I walked home from eating my weight in spring rolls, I saw a girl with a “leminade” stand. Of course I had to purchase a cup to quench my thirst. The little girl wasn’t totally willing to pour me a cup so her mom did the dirty work. I glanced down at the prices and under the list it said “made with love” so I had to ask, “This isn’t by any chance made with love is it?” The mom laughed. The kid did not look at me. Can’t win ’em all.

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Food

Girl Guides

Okay so I guess it’s Girl Guide cookie season in my neck of Canada right now. It’s fine if you didn’t understand anything I said in that sentence because I’ll explain. In Canada they wrongly refer to Girl Scouts as Girl Guides. Like, who do they guide? They’re 9 years old. You can scout when you’re 9. But you can’t guide people because most people are smarter and have more life experience than you. So Canada, you’re wrong again. Sars (sorry). But seriously everyone in Canada might have Sars. Even if they don’t, lets start the rumor.

I was eating the Girl Guide cookies that my husband bought us me and thinking about writing a piece about this heinous topic. But then I thought that I wouldn’t have enough to write about. BUT THENNN I remembered that I’m nothing short of genius and can write about even the most trivial of subjects.

Literally the only two types of  cookies the Girl Guides have to offer.

Shouldn’t these gals, sorry guides, be selling their cookies in the fall? Isn’t that when kids sell their cookies? I might be wrong but I thought that Girl Scout time coincided with the start of the school year. I mean, I was only in Brownies (for maybe a year?) but I don’t remember selling cookies in the Spring. Or ever.

Perhaps the most shameful thing about Girl Guide cookies is that they only have two different flavors. Like, we have 11 flavors in the good old US of A. Some people would argue that’s because we’re fatties. Which is true. Other people might point out that our country spends too much money on stupid things. Also true. But they’re probably just jealous because we have spending money from our good friend China.

At least in the states we give our Girl Scout cookies charming names like Do-si-dos (a cute nod to the square-dancing patch), Caramel deLites, Savannah Smiles, etc. Still living the American Dream obviously. The Girl Guide cookies don’t have names and are described as “chocolate cookies and vanilla creme cookies.” Ummmm wait what? Do you have no pride? girl-scout-cookies

Girl Guides even have a similar cookie to the Thin Mint. Their version is called “chocolatey mint cookie” and I really wish I was joking, but I’m afraid thems the facts.

Can we just have a moment of silence for Canada’s Girl Guides and their lack of cookie names and flavors? Don’t get me wrong though, I will still eat any cookies that anyone buys for me.

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Food

Foo Asian Street Food

I don’t think it’s any mystery that I like food. I also love eating out. To me, food tastes better when it’s prepared by someone else. It’s about the experience. I’d rather pay a little extra for service, a good meal that I couldn’t make myself, and the relaxation of not having to wash dishes when I’m finished. It’s just worth it to me.

I love finding new restaurants to love–secret spots that no one has heard of or popular places that my friends have raved about. The other week, my husband and I passed a tiny spot called Foo on the way to the movies. We had walked past the place many times but never  ventured in to see what they had to offer. Last week we decided to take a chance and I’m so glad we did.logo1

For those of you who’ve been to Wagamama in England (I think there is one in the Brisbane airport, one in Boston, and maybe one in DC–trust me, I keep my eyes open for Wagamama locations…) it’s kind of like that but on a much smaller level. They describe their food as “Asian Street Food” which my stereotypical mind automatically thought was code for “We Cook Cats and Dogs.”  I was wrong. It’s actually code for “We Prepare Amazing Food That Will Keep You Coming Back For More.”

Foo’s menu is the perfect size. There are only about 12 options to choose from along with about 4 daily specials. I like how simple they make things. Nothing is more daunting than a Cheesecake Factory menu with so many pages that you feel like you’ve finished reading a short novel afterwards.

The ambiance is so cool and hip and that’s saying a lot coming from me. I immediately hone in on people and places that try too hard. It turns me off. But Foo is just cool. They play 80’s and 90’s pop music and have two rows of window seats where diners can people watch while they eat their grub. I usually don’t like seating like that–I hate having to balance on a stool while eating with chopsticks (I could join Cirque du Soleil after that) but it just works with the atmosphere of the place.

My husband tried their Rare Steak Salad. He's much more adventurous than I am!

My husband tried their Rare Steak Salad. He’s much more adventurous than I am.

So far I have tried two different items off of the menu: Pad Thai with Pork and Prawns, and Red Coconut Curry. The dishes they serve seem so perfect and clean–each served in a white bowl–but they actually give you a lot of food. Very filling and delicious. The flavors aren’t boring or predictable.

I know that I really like a restaurant when I try different things on the menu. I’m usually a creature of habit and will find one thing I like and stick to it, but at Foo everything sounds so delicious and actually is scrumptious, that I find myself having to try a little bit of everything they have to offer.

Overall, Foo is a fun and easy place to eat where you will have a good meal guaranteed. I’m going there again tomorrow and I can’t wait!

Should I get the Pork and Pineapple Fried Rice, Beef and Brocoli Chow Mein, Butter Chicken, or Caramel Chicken? Choices, Choices…

 

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Beauty, Exercise, Food

Projects

I have a lot of projects I’m working on. But they aren’t like home-type projects. Or projects that anyone else would consider a “project” but they’re projects to me and this is my blog so I win.

Drinking tea. I know I know. Drinking tea isn’t really a hard thing to do. I mean, you have to heat up water which can kind of be a pain, but other than that, it doesn’t take much skill. I just have a lot of tea in the house for some reason and my OCD keeps telling me to make room in the cabinets. What can I get rid of? How can I make space? The answer was simply to drink all the tea that we had in the course of a week. I’ve been having 5-6 cups a day which is weird because I usually hate drinking water or anything that isn’t Diet Pepsi, but I had to do it to make space for other food. (I realize I could have simply moved the tea, or given it to someone else, but no.)tumblr_meexwxdvog1qdqeteo1_500

Teeth whitening. Ever since I questioned my dental hygienist about whether I should get my teeth whitened, I’ve been interested in the process. The only reason I became more interested is because my hygienist’s answer was that my teeth were “pretty white” but “they could be whiter.” Well there you have it. They aren’t perfect and this is making me feel gross. I didn’t feel comfortable asking my parents to pay for my teeth whitening (well, that’s not true, I felt totally comfortable but it just didn’t end up happening) so I bought an at-home whitening kit. And no, I didn’t buy Crest White Strips. I’m not made of money! I didn’t think the kit was doing it’s job until Paul and I were eating lunch the other day and he told me my teeth looked white. AWWW. Love that guy.

Lotioning. I’m getting prepared for tanning season, or summer as other people refer to it. If your skin isn’t moist and lotioned nicely, your tan won’t stick, and you’ll be ugly. At least that’s what I tell myself. Plus, lotion smells good and it makes your legs look silky. Nice, luxurious lotions can be costly though. I purchased three good-sized bottles for $40 from Sephora and the scents are so weird. The first one I used was Lemon and Sage. It was okay, and thankfully the sage was kept to a minimum. I didn’t want to come off smelling like a lost love child of Stevie Nicks. The scent I’m currently using, and second in the pack is Blood Orange and White Pepper. Like, who was in charge of that combination? It sounds like a new potato chip flavor. But it’s actually more orangey than peppery so it’s not that bad. Actually, it’s not bad at all. Luckily, the last scent is Raspberry Champagne. Save the best for last. Always always. Except with food. Definitely eat the best things first so no one else can have them.s1242437-main-Lhero

Running. UGH. I thought I was over this torture. I hadn’t been consistently working out since I moved to Canada. I used to be one of those people who worked out all the time. Then I moved and got distracted. I tried working out, doing different things so I wouldn’t lose interest, but I lost interest a lot. The other day, however, I ran on the treadmill for a bit and I really liked it. So I guess I’m getting into that again. *sigh*

Do you have any “projects” that you’re working on?

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Food

Chinese Food

Okay so I was feeling weird about not writing anything for a while (even though I shouldn’t feel bad…YOU DON’T CONTROL ME) so in an act of desperation, I carefully chose the topic of Chinese food to entertain the troops.

If I meet someone and they say that they don’t like Chinese food, I immediately make a mental note that I can’t ever really be friends with that person. We just won’t be able to bond on a spiritual level. My best friend told me once that she didn’t like ice cream and it took me a while to process it. But I forgave and forgot. Mostly because I can’t afford to lose my only friend. And she still loves me even though I don’t like cheese. So I guess we’re even.

Speaking of cheese being gross, I think that’s one of the reasons that I like Chinese food so much. NO CHEESE. These are my kind of people.

I think we can all agree that Chinese food is best in buffet form and second best in P.F. Chang’s form. There are always good hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants, and even some uber classy ones, but let’s be real. No comparison to buffets or Chang’s. Sometimes Chinese food is just better when terra cotta horses greet you.pf-changs-2251

The best Chinese buffet that I’ve encountered in my life was a place called Kowloon (Ft. Wayne, Indiana). Maybe it’s just because I was a child when I ate there, but I remember the buffet being so long. A short buffet is the sign of death. A long buffet means lots of choices and delicious food. One of the things that made Kowloon stand out in my memory was that their ice cream was really good. Usually Chinese restaurants lack in the dessert department, but Kowloon had all the bases covered.

The best fancy Chinese food place I’ve been to was in D.C. called Tony Cheng Restaurant. This place was expensive! My order (1 dish) was $40. BUT I literally had a plate full of shrimp the size of my head sooo I guess it was worth it?

The best chain Chinese Restaurants are tied–P.F.Chang’s for a sit-down, nice meal and Panda Express for when you have no shame whatsoever. P.F. Chang’s fried rice is like butta. And for Panda Express I have two words, Orange Chicken.

Did this person order a plate of Beef w/ broccoli and Orange Chicken AND a to-go Beef w/Broccoli and another side of Orange Chicken? My hero.

Did this person order a plate of Beef w/ broccoli and Orange Chicken AND a to-go Beef w/Broccoli and another side of Orange Chicken? My hero.

And my favorite regular non-buffet, non chain, non expensive Chinese Restaurant would have to be a place near and dear to my heart called China Cafe (Suburbia Illinois). Their food was always solid and delicious. Their sauces were good. And it was family run so the owner’s daughter would always come over and talk to us. She was probably 6 at the time. It was just an awesome experience overall. Plus, at the end of the meal they would give us these amazing almond cookies that changed my life.

You might think I’m crazy, which I definitely am, but Chinese food is a big part of my life.

What are some of your favorite Chinese Restaurants, chains, or buffets? Any favorite dishes?

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Food, Vacation

My Trip to Seattle

I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to figure out what to write. I kind of hate writing about trips I’ve taken because I’m really bad at describing events. At least I think so. My friend decided to meet me in Seattle this weekend. Let’s call her Natalie, since that’s her name. We had a great time eating, shopping, and sight-seeing. But mostly eating. Here is the full account of our trip. Hopefully you’ll feel like you were there in spirit.

The first day we ventured out towards the Space Needle. Buildings that distinguish cities are always the first stop. Paris = Eiffel Tower, NY = Empire State Building, Chicago = Sears Tower, etc. And by “etc” I mean that I can’t think of any more examples.  We walked along the waterfront for a while. There are lots of souvenir stores and seafood stands which made for a fun walk. We got to look at all of the piers with the ships lined up. As well as the new Ferris Wheel that was erected (heh) during July.

The Space Needle was made for the 1962 world’s fair to demonstrate what buildings would look like in the 21st century. Hmm nice try architects.

I had been to the top of the Space Needle during my previous visit, but only to the rotating restaurant. Natalie and I went to the observation deck. We weren’t expecting much, but we were pleasantly surprised when we got to the top. Tourists are able to walk around the entire 360 degree crown of the Space Needle. We took some good pictures. There was also a Starbucks and plenty of places to sit. Sitting is definitely one of my hobbies. Bonus points!

Later that day we did some shopping and then ate at this cute little Italian restaurant called Luigi’s Little Italy. It would’ve been super romantic if Natalie and I were a lesbian couple, but alas, we were not. The food was super good and put us into a carb-coma for the remainder of the night.

Mmmm yum!

On day two we went to Pike’s Place and the Original Starbucks which are both next door to each other. There’s not a whole lot that distinguishes the Original Starbucks from any other except the sign out front is brown with the first drawing of the Mermaid instead of the green, modernized one we see today. Other than that, just a regular old Starbucks.

I can’t remember if she’s a siren or a mermaid. I wonder if she can walk on those two tails of hers….?

Pike’s Place is basically just one big market. People sell things from leather goods to flowers to mini doughnuts. There’s a huge fish stand there that is famous for their workers who throw and catch any fish that’s ordered. They sing and yell–it’s a fun watch. I managed to find a creperie and ordered one Crepe au Chocolat (Crepe covered in Nutella). Natalie, not having ever had a crepe or Nutella, finally tasted heaven.

After that (I hope no one is still reading this…) we went to Seattle’s Underground tour. It was cool because we actually got to go underground (weird, right?) and see where Seattle’s original streets were. Apparently the city was 15 feet lower than it is today. They had to raise the city streets because the ocean kept eroding the land and making the streets muddy and stuff. I don’t know, I zoned out half way through.

At night we went to a really good sushi restaurant called Nijo. We had something called Dancing Shrimp and omigosh it was amazing.

On our last day we went to the Seattle Art Museum. It had some good stuff, but it wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be. They had some Georgia O’Keefe, John Singer Sargent, and Robert Reid so it was definitely worthwhile.

Love me some Georgia.

After that we went on a boat tour of the bay which was fun. It was nice to see the city from afar. I like city-scapes. But I don’t like them enough to go on the deck of the boat when it’s cold out. So I stayed inside the boat for most of the ride and observed from the windows.

Overall it was a great trip full of fun memories and lots of food. My deepest apologies for this long post. I hate myself for writing this much.

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