Everyday Can Be Ice Cream Day

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If it were doable I’d have every post be an homage to a holiday, birthday, or some other occasion/event.    I’m gonna change it up again, while still keeping the integrity of the tea discussion intact.

This leads me to the belated celebration of National Ice Cream Day, which was on the 17th. Yes I’m a week or so late.  But as the title says, any day is the perfect day for ice cream. And the title says so, so you must believe it.  That’s a bit of sarcasm for you.

As an added bonus, it’s National Ice Cream Month.  I could go on rambling about how every month can be ice cream… well you get the idea.

HaagenGreenTea

You may have heard of this company, Häagen-Dazs, and they produce said ice cream. Several weeks ago I went searching for their Green Tea flavor at a multitude of grocery stores, to no avail.  What I did find, you can read about here and it was fantastic.  This time I wasn’t even looking and while lumbering along the frozen food aisle, it magically appeared.  Yes I find it magical.

So with all that pedestal raising out of the way, I had high expectations.   I haven’t tried any of their flavors of anything in a couple of years.  It could be more, but it’s never on my radar.  Not for any particular reason, other than I like to support my local ice cream parlors and independent brands, where I can.

And more reviews of some local flavor may be forthcoming.  But I’ll say this, if I did a blind test, I would not guess this is green tea.  It tasted like vanilla with an added dimension of something unknown.   It would take a while to get to Matcha.    So I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy.  Even with this scorching heat and a refreshing treat (hey, that rhymed!) I was dissatisfied.

HaagenGreenTeaIceCreamUpCloseIt’s not terrible, it’s just not as advertised.  The nutrition facts tell a story of high fat, sugars, and green tea listed at the end.  I may be reading way too much into this, but I find that hilarious and ironic.   This is why you shouldn’t always expect the best, even if their reputation speaks for itself.

However, my hope for you is that you enjoy your favorite flavor of ice cream, not just during this month-long event, but all year round.  It pains me to say that while summer accelerates, we still have time to relax outside with our favorite drinks, food, and company to go along with it.

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Even if what you might be noshing or sipping on may not be the best, the place you’re in may be able to compensate for that, as was the case for me.

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It’s been feeling and nearing triple digits for the past few days, that may be unbearable for some.  I have found myself wanting to remain inside as well but I will never complain about this heat because before you know it, it’ll be gone.  And I want to enjoy every moment of this season I can.

I’m wishing everyone a happy and healthy next couple of days as we remain near record highs.  Stay safe, stay hydrated, and hope you enjoy some comforting teas and ice cream.

Back to my regularly scheduled posts next week. Maybe 🙂

Stay cool,

Ideen

 

It’s The Holiday Season

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I make myself laugh sometimes.  Which holiday?  It’s almost becoming comical the signs I see all around me.   You might see  them too.   On the date of this post will be a full moon. You can’t write this stuff folks.  Well actually I’m gonna write anyways.  More on this in a few paragraphs.

Additionally, maybe you’re away on vacation or as some pals call it, holiday.  It’s the Summer, enjoy.  We should enjoy all year round even if the occasion doesn’t match the weather or the time frame.  This leads us to my second annual Christmas In July post.  I can’t just reference an anniversary without leading you to last years inaugural post.

Yes I couldn’t resist.  When I was younger I thought it was a nice way to remind us to be good to each other, not just during the holidays, but all the time.  And what better time then when the sun is shining brighter than ever.  Why am I bringing up Christmas? Once again, keep reading…

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A little while back, I found myself driving through beautiful Hagerstown, MD.  And when I’m far away from home, I must avoid the chains and find some local flavor.  This brings me to Rooster Moon.  Yes I said moon. Does that get any better?

First let me say that the staff was so down-to-earth.  In a peaceful town like this, I wouldn’t expect anything less.   It seems like the perfect meet-up place for friends to catch up where they otherwise may not.  I was happy being an outsider and absorbing the positive energy.

NumiTeas

Numi Tea has always exuded that aura for me, and that’s just from the labels and packaging itself.  But there’s just something about it.  It looks like art.  When I’m at my local supermarket I’m hesitant to buy any.  Well part of that is because my tea cabinet is over capacity.   And even more so, they to be pricier than comparable brands.

My visit to this shop was in June and at the start of this lovely of seasons.   Of course I went with the Amber Sun.  Of course I did.   This tickles me.

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With this aura of invincibility I placed on this brand, I expected to be mesmerized.  This was likely my first foray into Turmeric Tea, and this is just the beginning.  I didn’t taste much.  I honestly thought it was a stronger rooibos.  The part I was right now.  We got a little bit of that.  I didn’t taste any honey, cinnamon, or apple.  But that could be in part because I had a splendid cinnamon and brown sugar scone.  It hit the spot.  It may have detracted from the tea.  I can’t say for sure.

I sense I will be sampling more of their teas and expecting to be blown away.   With nothing to compare the Amber Sun too, I’m not sure what the water mark is.  I wasn’t wowed by this tea but Numi has such a reputation, it could be just my taste or it’s only going to get better from here.  And I welcome the adventure.

Either the holidays are starting early or these guys forgot to take their trees down.  The proof is in the amber, or the scones.    Trust me, I’m not complaining.  The view was great inside and out.  This was a charming day all around.  And I dug being on the outside looking in of this strong community.

Whether you celebrate the sun, the moon, or the holidays prematurely, hopefully it will be with some resonating tea and loving company.

We’re just getting started.

Best,

Ideen

 

Bakers Is Beautiful

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Over the course of the year-and-a-half I’ve been doing these posts, I’ve been professing my love for Annapolis.  We learn a lot about ourselves when we’re writing or sharing our thoughts, in whatever medium we see fit.   The subject matter is tea but it’s also about finding the good in every situation, no matter how difficult it may be.  This won’t be a challenge.

Bakers&CoStoreFront

My visit to Bakers & Co. was one of the most enjoyable.   I didn’t want to leave.

A couple weeks prior I was driving through the Eastport neighborhood of Naptown, and saw this hidden gem nestled within a gorgeous set of houses. This was out of production set, and I hadn’t even walked in.  I just drove by second-guessing myself after a while. Why didn’t I just walk in?  Would I be back and in an organic fashion?  Two weeks later…

There are signs all around us.  There’s good people and good spirits in this universe to guide you in your journey.   And someone was looking out for me as I naturally arrived here and made it a point to park my car nearby and stroll right in.  And stroll I did.  This area is even more spectacular than I envisioned.

I was hoping in the back of my mind, there would be an obscure tea to write about. Otherwise, a coffee would suffice.  After poking around for a few seconds, I noticed a sign in the back for a special in-house tea.  I asked the friendly staff member what that was. She mentioned it was their homemade black tea with pineapple, orange juice, and spices.   On a 90+ degree day I actually asked if I should have it chilled or warmed.   Moving right along…

The pastry set-up was stunning.  Even on a smoldering day, I had to get something to pair with this exciting new tea I was about to have.   After passing on the almond croissant (which is extremely popular), I went with the blueberry oat bar.

I’ll get right to it after all this dramatic build-up. The tea refreshed me to my core. And my blueberry sweet treat complemented my cup perfectly.

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I took my sweet (see what I did?) time with everything.   I took a lot of pictures and wish I could post them all.  Literally across both side of the street were homes.  I imagine the values of these properties are high and not close to my means.   Maybe in the next life.  But I felt so comfortable and so at home with these surroundings.

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Some memories and stories are too good be shared.  They’re meant to be kept internal.  I debated on whether or not to write about this but I think I’d regret it if I hadn’t.

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My main reason is my love for local businesses has been heightened with this blog.  I’ve always preferred family run shoppes versus the big box stores.  I imagine many people share my sentiment.    For as long as I can recall it’s always been my modus operandi.

Along those lines, my attachments and affinity for small towns, beautiful streets, and a sense of community is what I yearn for.  Bakers and Co. encompasses all of the above, and then some.

The people working the counter were amazing.   The quaintness of this all is worthy of romanticizing.

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If you’re in the vicinity, I cannot recommend this place enough.  There’s comforting outdoor seating as my photos have hopefully captured.  And my intent was to show the beautiful surroundings.    I can only hope I did it justice.  And I can only hope that future visits will be just as inspiring.

Take good care,

Ideen

I’m Late To The Party

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Where do I begin?  How had I not heard of Hoop Tea until this past Saturday.

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I was supposed to go on a brewery bike tour with friends over the weekend, but the universe had other plans for me.  I enjoy the bike riding, the company that’s involved, but beer on the other hand is not my forte.  How tea and beer merge is something I’d never prepare for.

This blog is all things tea.  And that means anything tea.  So when I found out after the fact that friends of mine tasted some malt tea (and bought some to go) at Peabody Heights Brewery, I was floored.  I was excited but also dismayed at myself that I missed this opportunity.

I’ve been on previous bikes and brew tours with this same group and the tasting room is available several days a week, so my opportunity would be coming.   Thankfully it came even sooner, July 4th to be exact.

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Fortunately, at the holiday party I attended, (hosted by the same folks who host the bike tour), the White Mango tea was in plain view for sampling and sharing.  And  this was something else.  It was so easy to drink.  With a 4.0% alcohol content it was deceptively light.  A few quick glasses of this could really do some damage.  So I limited myself to two. And I drank them very slowly.

HoopTeaCup

Upon research, the sweetness comes from the organic cane sugar, maybe more so than the mango.  But nevertheless this was incredible.  To be fair, I have nothing to compare it too so I would love to try some more flavors in the future.  And my intent is to do so and soon.

We’ve got plenty of summer left.  This is the quintessential seasonal beverage.  The fact that it’s local and even more specifically from Ocean City, MD adds to the charm.

Even before I knew more about this tea (can I still call it tea), I had the sense that there was a powerful spirit behind this operation.  To say that would be an understatement. Their story is an inspiring one.  One that I hope to be able to tell in a similar fashion, in whatever facet of life I tackle.  I won’t spoil it, but click here to read more.

I’m on the bandwagon.  This company is growing and I sense an inspired thought is going to grow exponentially and in short time.   How can it not?  Why did I not think of something like this?  There’s an unlimited amount ideas out there that are there for the taking.   This is one of the most amazing things to be a part of.  And to be in our backyard makes it all the more special.

From what I understand, Peabody Heights is the only distributor in Baltimore City proper. They’re looking to expand into more parts of downtown.  I don’t see that being a problem. I’d be happy to help and this link gives you an option to request Hoop Tea in your area.  For our pals in Maryland, you can check to see if there’s a distributor near you at the same link.

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I wish I could have written a recap from Peabody itself.  That just means this is only the beginning.  This was only going to be the beginning anyways.  This is worthy of revisiting regularly.  In the mean time I’ll leave you with photos from the aforementioned party with a hearty meal and then with dessert.  I never got to try the dessert actually.  But gosh darnit doesn’t that look pretty?  Here’s more from this shindig.

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Finally, here is a way to contact them.

Happy Holidays,

Ideen