I Will Not Take These Things For Granted

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaSalad5

So the title came to me earlier tonight.  And it’s inspired from this.

As I mentioned last week, there are certain teas, stores, and cafes that will hold sentimental value to me.  Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company will always be in that conversation.

BaltimoreCoffeeFront

As you can see in my history of posts, the love affair is real.

The teas haven’t always been the best, but the service from their Annapolis and Timonium locations has always been stellar.

If I were to do a weekly blog just based on this wonderful company, I would never run out of material.   I’ve been here that many times, but sometimes I go just for me.  No blogs no writing, not anything.  Sometimes we need that.  Not everything is meant to be shared.

But as the title says, sometimes a story is necessary.  Sometimes an entity deserves all the praise. I can only do my part to show my appreciation.  Because that’s what Baltimore Coffee & Tea deserves, all the appreciation.  Because I can’t take a place like this for granted.  It’s been so good to me.

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaCup

And you know where else has been good to me?  The state capital of Annapolis (my history with tea in and relating to Annapolis can be found here) is the backdrop for so many small things and memories, that are truly the big things.

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaCup2

I can’t go the entire summer without not giving love to this magical, colonial, and historical place.   So with that, my most recent visit was last week, and I was going merely for a cup of coffee.

That changed because I felt inspired.

When I’m reviewing teas purchased here, I usually grab them a bag from the display rack, or kindly ask one of the friendly staff members to open up a box of a tea I’d like to try.  They’re so good about that.  It’s opened up many new doors and experiences, I didn’t know existed.  The tea journey is never-ending, and they’ve added multiple dimensions to that.  I’m thankful for that.

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaCup4

So how fitting is it, that I decided to order a tea from the menu.  And what do I see but the original or originals, the Eastern Shore Back Porch Iced Tea,  As the description says, it’s your standard iced tea.  There’s nothing fancy or earth shattering about it.  But if you know what to expect it’s going to be just fine.

For where I was, it was just fine.

I’ve never been a fan of just iced tea.  It’s not that I’m opposed to it, but I’ve always wanted something just a little more.  And I don’t mean sugar or any additives.  I appreciate a little natural flavor of some sort.

But sometimes you just want a cup of tea, you want some iced tea, and nothing else.  Well I can’t be too dramatic.  They did give me a lemon, which was plenty.

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaSalad

I also got a simple chicken salad over lettuce.   And I found myself in a front corner spot of the store, which has now been a home away from home.  I’m serious when I say this.  I’ve sat here countless numbers of times over the past couple of years, that if I don’t get that spot (or porch in this instance) a part of me feels confused.  And no I haven’t always sat there but I think this resonates with a few people.

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaSalad2

In saying all this, the old man or old soul is coming through a little more than I’d prefer. But that spot, and this place is a part of me.  It has a small piece of my heart, and I’m grateful to give that piece to them.

After I took a few pictures I sat there for a while.  And it may have been an hour, but it felt like time stood still and I could sit there all day.  In many ways I did, I’v had before, and I will again.

Man I love this place.

BaltimoreCoffeeTeaSalad7

I’m not ready to put an end to summer just yet.  I’ve got iced teas I could write about for weeks, and maybe months.  I hope I can get to all of them, if not, I’ll save it for another time.  But you can be sure Baltimore Coffee and Tea will be a part of the conversation again, and soon.

How can it not be?

To purchase this tea, along with others, click here.

If you’re in the area, or will be visiting, here’s their list of stores, FAQ, and contact information.

Finally, here’s more from Eastern Shore Tea Company.

Thanks so much and I wish you a happy upcoming holiday weekend.

We’re just getting started.

Blessed,

Ideen

 

Tea, Art, Happiness…

PomPomsSalad&Tea2

I think my visit to St. Petersburg, FL came at the most perfect time.

The amount of items I could write about is going to be endless.   And I will be spacing them out.  Last week it was Tampa, this week and for the foreseeable future it’s going to be St. Pete and all St. Pete.  No not every week but sporadically through the summer I’m going to expound upon how incredible the tea culture is here.  And incredible might be an understatement.

I found tea places, I stumbled upon tea places, tea shoppes found me, and my reaction to a few were that of a kid in a candy store.  Yes it’s these little things (that are the big things) that give me natural and spiritual highs that words may not always do justice. I’ve made that proclamation before but I stand by that.  Sometimes words an pictures aren’t enough.  Memories are for us and all we can do is our best to share them in our own harmonious and sentimental way.

PomPomsSign

With that one of my first stops in St. Pete was Pom Pom’s Teahouse.

I know, how awesome is that name?

And just as awesome is the place.  Everything about is, was, or whatever you want to call it a constant reminder of why this town is beautiful.  And why it now has my heart.

When I first arrived in town my friend guided me through St. Pete and I noticed so many amazing looking shops, restaurants, businesses, and everything else in between that makes this place (that’s on the rise) already look like it’s there (in a good way) and I wouldn’t want anything about it to change.  I probably put this paragraph in the wrong part of the post.  It’s as if I put the finish or the crescendo here, before I’ve even gotten into the tea and this incredible salad that I ordered.

PomPomsEntrance

So let me get to that and see if I can come up with another finish with some big words that will enhance this experience that doesn’t need any more enhancing but deserves all the praise in the world.

Ok…

So I was there on a weekday afternoon, presumably on the tail end of the lunch rush.  If there is a lunch rush here it doesn’t mirror other major cities, and I found that so refreshing.  It was a mix of students, police officers, office workers, tourists, and overall a lot of people that seemed genuinely happy to be there.

I was happy to be there.

There was so much art adorning the walls, which is a point that Pom Pom’s wants to promote.  They’re all about local art, and creating and promoting art is one of the greatest things in this world and in this universe.

PomPomsTables

After taking so many pictures of the inside, I requested to my friendly server, Brett, if I could sit outdoors.   He kindly obliged.  I was surprised that I was the only one out there. But how could I complain?  I was the only person on Earth for about an hour, or at least in that moment.

PomPomsBuddha

I made a new friend outside, as you can see.  I felt as if he could read my mind.  And maybe he could.  I think he was saying everything is great, everything is going to be fine, and you’re on vacation, enjoy yourself.

PomPomsTea1

And I did…

PomPomsSalad

My meal comprised of a Kiwi Pear Iced Tea and their Seasonal Berry Salad, which may have been one of the best things I’ve eaten, not only on my holiday, but in a long while.  It almost looked too pretty to eat.   But those berries were heavenly.    I almost forgot there were almonds and peanuts in the salad.  It was that great.  The goat cheese and onions made for a simple yet artistic looking salad.  This really was a masterpiece.

PomPomsSalad&Tea1

Those berries were something out of a smoothie or freshly made ice cream.  And on a gorgeous day in Florida, what could be better.

PomPomsTea5

The tea was the understated, yet still elegant part of my meal.  It was light and on this day this was a welcome treat versus something a little too sweet, since the berries were sweet enough.   I did wish I could taste a little more kiwi and pear, but really no complaints from me whatsoever.

PomPomsTea7

Brett, who like many of my friends I got to visit, is a transplant from Maryland.  I can see the appeal.  I can see why so many people like the mellow vibe and harmonious ways of being in beautiful St. Petersburg.

PomPomsTea2

More posts are coming and if they can match this experience than I’ve already succeeded.  My time at Pom Pom’s was one of joy, of peace, and of art.  Yes I did take many pictures but then I just sat, relaxed, and started off into the distance.

PomPomsTeaDistance

I might have been there an hour, two hours, or somewhere that time can’t measure.  But this one hit my heart in a different way than many other tea and dining experiences. And I want to believe it was more than just being away from home, being somewhere else, and being one with the universe.  Well the latter part is great.  But I hope you know what I mean.

This was beautiful.

If you’re in the vicinity, or are a local and have never visited, I can’t recommend this place enough.

Here is more about them, their menu, the art, the buzz, directions, and their contact information.

PomPomsArt

When I’m back in the area, and I will be back, how do I follow-up?  It may not be the identical experience, but I sense it will be spectacular, and will tell a different story of what makes Pom Pom’s and this town special to me and special to so many.

PomPomsTea4

Thank you so much.

Ideen

 

Organic Olympics Party, I Think

WegmansTeaLemonSalad

It’s not hard to believe,  but we’re in the homestretch of the Olympics.  Time is flying and ordinarily I’d be sad, but I’m ok this go around.  In addition, I have so much to keep me occupied, including my blog.

With the limited amount of time this event provides us, I wanted to take advantage with some posts that somehow connect to this storied and iconic spectacle.

WegmansTeaLemon

My summer tea posts would not feel complete if I didn’t incorporate lemonade.   I wasn’t aggressively seeking it out, more so I was hoping it would it present itself without it feeling like a chore.   Thankfully, while I was at my local Wegmans, I noticed this display case which just looked like lemonade to me.  Upon a second look it was a tea & lemonade duo, and as an added bonus, we have an organic combination.   The Tea It Up (which I find quite charming) is as refreshing and delicious as it presents itself to be.

I’m always hesitant of the organic label.  It doesn’t guarantee a product tasting any better, and it in many cases it may have the reverse effect.  But I liked this so much, I had to stop myself from overdoing it and getting an unnecessary sugar high.

To counterbalance my glass, and to keep the healthy theme going as best as possible, I paired my drink with some healthier eats.  At least that was my intention.

WegmansTeaLemonPretzels4

 

As an appetizer, we have some pretzel thins brought to us by our same grocery gurus. Wow I just said that.  Initially, I was hoping for a little more salt, but I preferred this. The duo worked well of of each other and I had to stash the bag away or the whole thing would have never had a chance.

WegmansTeaLemonSalad2

I wish I could say I made this salad.  I can pretend I did but that would take away from the authenticity of what I’m presenting.  To complete the trifecta, this is from Wegmans salad bar, which if you’re not careful, will hit your wallet.  At upwards of $10.00 a pound, you could easily find yourself purchasing a meal at double that amount.  Luckily, yours truly is fiscally responsible and got mine at three digits.   Go Team!

Actually there was no team, this was a party for one.  Maybe next time I’ll gather some more folks but this was impromptu, which is how some of the best parties turn out.  The salad (which featured buffalo chicken) turned out alright, yet not my favorite, but nevertheless, in the spirit of the Olympics, I seek for the positives wherever I can.  I’ve had plenty of dishes from the salad and hot bar, that one misstep is not going to stop me from coming back. It’s been overall a magnificent experience.

This tea/lemonade is simple and quite delicious.  You might think the black tea and lemonade may clash but this works here tremendously.  Throw in a few ice cubes and you’re golden. And speaking of which, does it win a similar medal?  That’s up to you to decide.

If you’re like me, you get lost in Wegmans and find yourself there as much as possible. There’s a store minutes from me, and that tends to happen every time.  For a store near you, click here.  If you’ve never been I’ll think you’ll find it a magical place.  It may not be quite the hysteria of the Olympics, but there’s plenty of inspiration.

Here is my original post on one of my favorite stores.

I hope you’ve getting your fix of the Olympics, while enjoying some great tea and accompanying eats.

All The Best,

Ideen