Feeling Grateful – Part II

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This life is fun and funny at times.  What started out as any other day (and I don’t like days just being ordinary or like ‘any other day’), turned into one that was full of happiness, joy, hope, and many things to look forward to in the present, as well as the future.

But it’s always important to live in the present tense.

As one door opens, so does another, and a return to one of my favorite places in Historic Old Ellicott City, the wonderful Matcha Time Cafe.  I absolutely adore this place.

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I find it so wonderful, that a bonus post, outside of my usual Tuesday style, was absolutely necessary.  Actually none of this is necessary, but to me, it’s important enough to expound upon, especially as the Ellicott City Spring Festival takes place this coming Saturday.

It’s not like business will be slow, or this or any other business needs any more publicity or promotion leading into this weekend.  But that’s not the point.  The point is to promote positivity, support a local business, and support someone who I now consider a friend.

When I made the most incredible and memorable of discoveries back in November of 2016 (story can be found here), of this gift from the universe, I thought that if there is something bigger than us and bigger than this life, this is one way the other side would look like.

I hadn’t introduced myself to the manager, Hatsumi, at the time.  Actually maybe I did after I sat outside in the what was an unseasonably warm yet picturesque day, that gave me one of the best stories, on not just about tea, but about anything.  I got some awesome pictures too. And I say that with confidence, because I haven’t read it since.  I rarely read what I write.  Maybe I’ll go back and see how well that story, among others, has aged.  I bet it’s timeless.  I know it is.

So nearly a year-and-a-half later, my return visit tells a different story, yet it’s all relative, and all means so much.

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I had given a heads up that I was on my way and was greeted with open arms.  That made me feel so good.  On a day where everything felt unique and uncomfortably fantastic at times, it was good to see a familiar face.

After a several minute chat, that became much longer, I got to sample some of the new teas for the season.  I also see that they make dumplings in house, along with so many other amazing foods.  I forgot it’s more than just a cafe.  There’s a delicious and nutritious element to their menu, that must be revisited again.  And no it won’t be another 18 months till the next time.  That’s a guarantee.

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After a few moments of deliberation, I was presented the Masala Chai Latte, and as an added bonus, a gluten free chocolate cake.  Yes it’s as rich as it gets ladies and gentlemen.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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The latte is as gorgeous and splendid as it looks.  It’s a bit heavy and rich, like I said, so sip carefully, slowly, and in peace.  It’s going to wake you up.  And on a day or string of days where I’ve been perpetually exhausted, this was as welcome a beverage as any.

 

ChocolateCakeAnd that cake.  I didn’t know it was gluten free until I was basically full from my tea.  I first thought there’s no way I can have all this.  When I found out it was GF,  there was this open sigh of relief. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

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I enjoyed my cake later, and once again, as beautiful as it looks, it would be a shame not to eat.  It was beautiful.

Everything about this visit was beautiful.

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I’m glad I arrived when I did, right before lunch, as business started to pick up, and the time for conversation was beginning to wane.  But a good hour or so was just enough.  And like I said, I’ll be back much sooner than later.

I see this being more than a trilogy.  I see this being a recurring story, with no timetable, no expectations, just a good time with good people, and some more amazing teas and tasteful bites.

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The way I write this might feel like a transition. And maybe it is.  Maybe I’m projecting, but my intent is to project the good I’m feeling based on not just this visit, but the first one, and so many other invaluable experiences, all for the love of tea.

For more on Matcha Time Cafe click here.

I can’t wait to see where this goes next.

Have a good one, and peace be with you…

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

There’s Room For Everyone

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As promised (in a different universe, or the same one depending on how you look at it), I wanted to dedicate my last of the two posts to Syriana Cafe & Gallery, to not just a off-the-charts tea, but also a wonderful experience that only gets better with time.

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Since this writing, their official grand opening has taken place.  I wish I was able to attend, but the timing of things and life prevented me from doing so.  But I’m grateful to have made the serendipitous visit last Thursday.  And it’s truly an honor to come up with two stories based on what is hopefully he the first of many stops to this majestic place.

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I’ll admit I’ve fallen into patterns like so many of us do.  I find myself in routines, going to the same places, ordering the same things, and wondering what’s wrong with me.  Literally I go through this mantra in my head from time-to-time.  And there’s nothing wrong with me, or you, or anyone.  We like what we like.   But I don’t like a lot of routine.

Even if it’s the same cup of coffee, I rather get it from a different place, just to keep a level of sanity.   But you know what the say about insanity.  Well somebody somewhere said something.

A place like Syriana Cafe is the complete opposite of the norm.  It’s a an art gallery, cafe, and a place of rest.  It’s so much more on top of all that.   It’s the type of experience that I’d want to be a part of on a regular basis, that would never be the same and never get old.

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That comes from the breakfast pizza I ordered, along with this stellar Hibiscus, Citrus, and Mint tea from Hooyo’s Tea, based out of Baltimore, MD.

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For more on Hooyo’s Tea, here is their story, teas available for purchase online, where you can find their teas, and contact information.

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I was informed that Syriana Cafe has an agreement with the tea company, which is a win win for everyone.  Local supporting local is what life is all about.   And I’m all about it…

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But this tea is the perfect preview of sunnier and happier days ahead.  And I know they’re coming.  In my heart and mind they’re here and they’ve always been here.  A tea with this soul, this spirit, and not to mention the color, flavor, and aftertaste brings all the feelings and emotions of all that is good in the universe.

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The synopsis is here so I don’t need to go into that detail.  I can only envision how great this would be iced.  Yum.

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When enjoyed in a setting such as this, with so many beautiful visual cues, a powerful and vibrational energy, and a picturesque town such as Ellicott City, it’s the stuff you read or see about, but also know it exists.

I want to thank the owner, Majd, for chatting with me for a few minutes, and giving me a bit of history in how this cafe came to be.

By looks of the grand opening, there’s nothing but a warm embrace and support from not only the neighborhood, but the town, and Howard County.   As I said in the title, there’s room for everybody.  One successful local business can only benefit the other ones surrounding it.   I know success, prosperity, and all around great things are to come for this place.

From one event such as the grand opening leads into another….

SpringFest 2018 is this Saturday, which is in conjunction with Earth Day, is a celebration of the town, celebration of Spring, and a celebration of all that is good.   Admission is free, and it’s one where I hopefully will be able to attend.   All the information you need can be found here.

This was tremendous.   I don’t know where to go from here.  Actually yes I do.  If time is allowed, I may do another post this week (and when I post outside of Tea Tuesday, you know it means something) on this beautiful town and in celebration of the upcoming festival.

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Have a blessed one.

Ideen

Ye Olde Tea Party!

My first Maryland Renaissance Festival was in 2006. And I was thinking at the time what took me so long? This past Sunday while in attendance I was recanting the same thing.

A tradition for many years, this event brings thousands of people in droves and in costume to the event.  There’s so much to see, so much to drink in, and so much unhealthy food to eat.   And in the back of my mind I may have thought to write about tea if I came across one. And as happenstance would have it, here we go.   Huzzah!

My friends had souvenir drinking mugs from the 2013 event and it was suggested to me that I join the fray. The ye olde shoppes which carried mugs, goblets, and tankards were ubiquitous.  And the prices ranged anywhere from $8 to $700 for the hand-carved ones. If I had that kind of money maybe I’d go there.  But not today.

I saw a few that caught my eye that were on the much lower end, but I decided to wait.   I’d figure out later how nearly maladroit that decision was.

While my pals and I were looking around for some greasy food, I stumbled upon a line that had coffee, espresso, and yes herbal tea!   As I got to the line, I was just about to get a cup when a light bulb went off in my head.  If I ordered this is in a plain cup I would be doing myself, this blog, and my readers a disservice.  So I bee-lined back to the same stoneware shop where one mug stood out and I grabbed it!

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I happily waited in the ever-so-growing line and the maiden poured my tea in my beautiful new mug!

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How was the tea?  I didn’t like it at first, but it’s a grower. And it grew on me almost immediately.   I had a sore throat and one of licorice roots benefits is helping with thy throat.  It’s not a flavor I particularly like but this cup got better with time.  It’s the flavor that stood out the most. Lemon and mint do make their presence felt as well.   Marjoram is a sexy yet synonymous name for oregano.  If that was in my cup I wouldn’t have known it.

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The most intriguing component in is the catnip.   I wish my taste buds could have picked on it.  Maybe they did and I jut didn’t know it.  Maybe I’ll ask my cat what she thinks of it?  I won’t take any of hers, that would be mean.

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Nevertheless, my cup went great with our cheesy bread and macaroni & cheese on a stick.  Yes just like how it was in olden times.

I didn’t think to ask anyone if the team is local or made in-house; or if the herbs, leaves came from a nationally known brand.  I did an online search on what all it contains and nothing concrete came up.   I did one search and that’s that.  I rather keep the mystique and believe this is the same herbal remedy that the King drank with other fellow royalty hundreds of years ago.

There’s only one weekend to go from the date of this post.  I don’t need to sell this event to anyone that lives reasonably close to attend.  It sells itself and is so fun. I wish I had more time or I’d go every weekend! Maybe I’ll see you there this weekend.

And if you do wait in line for a hot or cold (it’s also served chilled) beverage, consider the tea!

For more RenFest fun click here.

I’ll leave with some pictures of this wonderful party.

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Let the merriment continue!

Best,

Ideen

Peach Pals

This one is going to be fun.  There’s also going to be a record number of pictures.  We’re looking at around 25.

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Over the weekend I attended the Peach Festival at Weber’s Cider Mill Farm in Parkville, MD.  This was my first time attending the festival but not my first time visiting the farm.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my first exposure to the farm was around the holidays last year.  It was only by virtue of driving nearby and seeing signs for it that I stumbled upon this happy place.  And it’s a happy place.  It feels like Christmas even when it isn’t. And in a way, I’m grateful my first visit around one of the more positive times of the year.

So by default, this was my first Peach Festival.

The event and the farm itself is geared more towards a family friendly vibe.  The store inside acts as a regular market but it’s all farm fresh and local, which is wonderful!  Within the store there is a bakery and ice cream shop as well.   It has all the stuff that makes you feel good.

The festival itself got crowded very early and rather abruptly.  The sights and sounds will try to be conveyed via pictures.

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Of course I got a few peaches.  I’m not overstating this when I say they were incredible.  We are in the heart of the peach season.  And this is one of the best fruit indulging experiences I’ve had in a long while. Which leads us to the all-important question. What tea goes with a peach?

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Fortunately, after doing a bit of research, I recall the Maryland Tea Sampler from Eastern Shore Tea.

My previous post on the sampler can be found here.

If you check out this list, there’s some obvious choices of tea with peach as the focal ingredient, but my feeling wasn’t to do a peach with the same flavored tea.  I’m glad I went with my gut.

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Included in the sampler is the Baltimore Clipper Tea, which is simply a mix of Black and Green Tea.  How can you go wrong with that?   It was something to behold.  This was truly a tea sipping experience.   I could honestly say I was having cup of two amazing flavors.  And I could taste both.

The joy of brewing this tea was just as exciting as when I drank it.

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I hope that you can see the evolution of the brewing process here. Can you see the steam in the last picture from the right? Breathtaking.  I can literally see the color go from green to a more greenish to black combination.  I was mesmerized.   I hadn’t seen anything quite like it.

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My peach tasted even more amazing because the tea opened up some new flavors, via eating and the sipping itself.  And the tea had some new flavors shine through. What those flavors were I cannot begin to describe. Maybe it’s one of those things that needs to be kept mysterious and leave me intrigued.

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And speaking of intrigue, I will leave you with some photos from this charming event.  The ones with the animals are always my favorite.

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I will be making frequent visits to Weber’s, so hopefully more posts to come.

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Cider season is later but I’m still enjoying the Summer!

If you live anywhere close to this happy place, I strongly recommend a visit.  I feel good every time I drive up and even more joyous when I leave.  I know I have supported a local establishment that radiates a positive energy to everyone.

For more on Weber’s you can click here.

And for more on the Eastern Shore Tea you can click here via the Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen