And All In Good Time…

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I wanted to wait just a little while before getting into my quarterly tradition of raving about the seasonal teas from The Spice & Tea Exchange.  We are barely into autumn, and two of the three teas were out of the stock as of this post yesterday.  As of today, two of three are now available.  This is too funny, but it’s also the times we’re in.

I would say this is a faux pas of mine, and to some extent it is.  It also speaks volumes of how good these teas are, how much so many of us embrace the change of the season and the impending well, you know…, and the power of tea (here is their complete list of teas, available at their stores and to purchase online) and how so many of us love it for the art of drinking, as a hobby, a passion, and the way it makes us feel.   I think the place and the energy of many of their stores has a lot do with that.

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This time it brings me to where I was born, Alexandria, VA, and their charming shoppe in the heart of Old Town. That was not meant to be as dramatic it sounded.  Ah maybe it was…

A huge thank you to Jessica the manager for being so kind.

As I wrote about several months back, I was in a similar position spiritually, (and in many ways still am, and might be for a while) and a visit to a tea shoppe, especially their’s is always cleaning for the soul and the spirit.

I’ve been writing for long enough that the changing of the seasons is now synonymous with a visit to their stores, and knowing that three amazing teas will be presented to all of us.

And that’s exactly what happened once again.  These guys are incredible.  My past stories will confirm all of this.  

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It was still Summer when these teas were introduced and still Summertime when I bought these.  I along with some of my close friends know that we shouldn’t rush these things.  I had a sense that these flavors would be out of stock soon if not already.  The packs were on the low side, and I didn’t think to ask if more were coming.  You just know sometimes.

The three for us this time are the Tipsy Toffee, the Spiced Ruby Cider Herbal Tea (out of stock for now?), and the Pumpkin Chai Latte.

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The ingredients are all on the back of the packs.  I want to review this like I always do, with as light hearted and approachable as it can be.   If things overlap then that’ll happen naturally.  I have so much to say but sometimes the tea says all that need to be said, and we should embrace.

Here goes…

One thing that always stands out is while the aromas of their teas give the impression that they may be too sweet for many, but it’s so brilliantly deceptive.  It almost tastes exactly the opposite of what you would expect.  In many cases this is a good thing and I believe this is the intent.

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The Tipsy Toffee has the strongest scent of all in my opinion.  And while I love toffee, I was weary of how it would taste.  Nah I’m kidding.  It’s not that serious.  There’s nothing to be weary of haha.

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This is tremendous.  While you might think the butterscotch and caramel flavorings may be overpowering, they were anything but.  Everything has its place and complemented the other so well.   I’ve said this before but so much about tea is what you don’t taste immediately until seconds later, or even longer.  Understated yet endearing is what their teas are all about.  Beautiful.

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The color on the toffee among with the others was a little more special this time.  All credit goes to the dragonfly infuser, which is also available through them.  For significant, personal, and sentimental reasons I’m grateful to use this trusty friend for the first time, for this round of teas.

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The Spiced Ruby Cider had this color of red that is perfect for this season and matches the color of things to come.  Yes I’m thinking a little bit ahead too.  In order to brew this, I had to break the pieces up a little.

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Again, with cinnamon apple pieces, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, orange peels (I feel like a pendulum), cloves, and more cinnamon stuff, you would think this would be too sweet.  Even if was, I think it would be awesome.  The smell is great and once again this is a universally wonderful tea that everyone will love.  However, that’s for you to judge and judge alone.

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You can’t forget the Pumpkin Chai Latte.  This is why we celebrate autumn right?  We got more pumpkin then we know what to do with.   You wouldn’t know it here though.  And I’m not a fan of most chai, but once again this is nowhere near as rich and that full feeling chai you might expect.

I never tasted any whipped cream or caramel.  But it’s there and so is that pumpkin!

I thought this would be the most potent of the three and I felt it was actually the most tame.  This was my least favorite of the trios, and not in a bad way.   You can’t go wrong, and you can only go right with all of them.

This sounds like a heavy bias, but with few exceptions The Spice & Tea Exchange clearly knows how to make superb tea with a lot of soul and a lot of feeling behind it.

Yes you see sweet treats with each cup, and while they were merely for display, it’s to prepare us for indulgence, because indulgence is coming.  I’m so happy to begin the fall season with their teas and I’m so grateful for the opportunity once again.

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One last thing, when you buy 3 packs, you get a free packet of sugar.  What do with this Apple Cinnamon Crisp Sugar?  I answered my own question by maybe wanting to add to these teas, but maybe it’s meant for something else.

Peace Be With You, and there will be another story much sooner than later.  I’m purposely being vague because I honestly don’t know what’s next.

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All in good time…

Love,

Ideen

…The Highest of the High…

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If you don’t know then I’ll say it, The Land of Kush is a masterpiece in all areas.

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It took me over 3 1/2 years from discovering this gem, to actually walking and enjoying myself and my life.  What took me so long?  I have no answers, other than I wasn’t meant to go there until right around this past Christmas.  I honestly don’t know after that, but the universe had other plans for me now, and now the universe has brought me here.

This wasn’t a meal I was ever going to write about or share with you necessarily across this blog or wherever else I may write about things. And it wasn’t for any negative reasons, it just did’t come across my radar.  I was going to enjoy my meal, likely give a great review across multiple sites, then hopefully romanticize it enough to the point I’ll set myself up for a letdown the next time I came back.  That last sentence was a joke by the way, but I think you know what I mean.

Your first impression is the lasting impression, and like I said, I didn’t think I was going to be able to share with you.  But that was until…

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I saw their Sorrel (or Sorrell) on the drink menu which is fresh brewed hibiscus leaves, and nothing else.  And my favorite kind of drinks are the ones with the fewest ingredients.  And this was joy to drink, and it’s best drank cold.  You can see the pictures for yourselves and just picture how magnificent this is.  And it’s exactly that and all the other good vibrations that comes with it.

And I’ll have more good vibes to talk about shortly.

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I kept it simple with my order, which is something I’m guilty of when going somewhere new.  I got the Curry Chickun, vegan mac and cheese, and rice and vegetable medley.  And the meal is incredible.  I can only say so much, the pictures say it all.

I so badly wanted to like this based on what friends of mine had shared with me, and the aura of prestige that I bestowed upon this place, just because the years started to pass by and I still had yet to set foot in the restaurant.

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Damn this was good.  I didn’t expect to finish it all right then and there.  But I took my time and found myself in the most peaceful place I’ve been in some time.  And with all the commotion of life, the holidays, and and everything else that comes in our direction, any kind of peace and tranquility is welcome.  And I was so out at peace, I was so happy, and I was just so happy with everything.

This place felt so Baltimore, felt so local, but also felt unfamiliar, yet familiar all at once.  The feelings of familiarity and doing this somewhere before in a previous life were there.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I was transported myself into a different universe and felt transformed all at once.  And when I go to the next level; it’s not always about the food, and at many times it’s bigger than anything related to the restaurant itself.   It’s something bigger than us, out of this body, and out of this world.

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For about an hour, I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  And that’s a feeling that isn’t narcissistic, self indulgent, or any other bells and whistles like that.  It’s more of a feeling of calm, of zen, of what makes this life so great.

This food was so great, the simple service, the amazing staff, and that incredible music are all the perfect complement to one another.   Everything was vibrating off the charts in a way I haven’t felt in some time.

And about the music..  I haven’t heard a quality sequence of songs anywhere in years.  That includes going to bars, lounges, even live concerts, and the occasional pretentious club I’ve been to.   The latter part is kind of a joke but somewhat serious, ha.  But give me great beats, hip hop, neo soul, or whatever you want to call it, from the 90’s, and I’m a happy guy.

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I was already done with my food but the hits just kept coming one after another.  At this point I was afraid to leave.  I was afraid I was going to miss a song I hadn’t heard in years.  And truthfully, I didn’t have that big of plans later in the day that I had to leave.  I was happy where I was, I was grateful where I was, and I was where my feet were.  And it was a beautiful place.

This is a beautiful place.

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For more on Land of Kush, here is their story, their menu, upcoming events, and their contact info.

It won’t be three plus years until the next time.

Thank you Land of Kush.  This is a memory I’m so grateful for.

Happy New Year.

Ideen