The Fells Point

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This whole living in the moment and being here now way of thinking, is a great way to live.  It’s a great way to be.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but a lot of my stories tend to be about that, but at the same token, they become a part of the past.  They become nostalgic, and then there’s the question, am I holding onto the past?   Lots of questions and thinking that can drive one crazy and cause anxiety.

It can also be a source of rebirth, rejuvenation, and a restart…

It’s summertime, which means being outside as much as possible, enjoying company, enjoying food and drink, and enjoying everything under the sun.  And then enjoying everything else under the sun…

Fells Point has been good to me for so many years.  In a little while I can say a couple of decades.  Oh my goodness, feels funny when you say it like that.

My life (and I’m sure many can say the same) has been transformed in the last year.  The amount of life changes in succession might be too much for one person to handle.  But there’s that silly line about how life only gives you so much.  It’s true, or many of us would’ve gone off the deep end.   And that’s still an arguable point.

Lately I’ve been finding more and more peace in the places that have brought happiness to me over the course of my life.   Sometimes unplanned, sometimes with a mission to be there, yet the stops in and along the way still being spontaneous.  Life an be good.  It can be great actually.

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Many year later, many things change, but there’s the constants.  I feel like I’ve said this before, and then said this before, and then…

Pitango Gelato (locations can be found here) has been one of those more recent staples of Fells Point that has the sense of local, sense of community, and a sense of pride.

They’ve expanded and evolved with the times, like many places have.

With their new cafe in an ideal spot by the water, it’s in tune with everything right about the neighborhood.

I’ll get back to the iced teas soon, but this is about peace no matter what you’re doing, and what you’re sipping on.   I had a friend join me, and I had a cup of their White Monkey, which was in their selection of loose teas.   Perfect for now, perfect for whenever is how I look at it.

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I love white tea.  I don’t delve into it enough.  That’s going to change.

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Finding a place outside is ideal.  Having a view of the water and the downtown shoppes, restaurants, and local flavor warms my heart from end to end.  I love it so much.

I don’t have much else to say.   This is one of those posts where I feel like I’ve said so much of this before, and I don’t know where we go from here.  I tend to say that a lot as well.

What I do know this I’m fully on board with summer, and there’s so much left to celebrate and embrace.  With that I don’t bid adieu or anything like that.  I will say that I have some exciting things in mind in the coming weeks, without really having any idea what they are.  I shouldn’t live too far in the future.  It’s about this current moment in life, and all the other way too profound stuff, that I would like to cut out, but that’s not me.

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If you’re in the neighborhood, I would highly recommend a visit.  I have friends that often come back to the Fells Point, specifically for their gelato, and now the cafe.

It’a journey worth taking..

Peace be with you…

Ideen

 

Family First

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Happy New Year and Happy Spring to everybody.  Happy New Year is for all of my Iranian friends who celebrate Nowruz.

I thought for sure, that after last year (here is the post) there would be another Iranian tea, either from my dad or from myself.  That may still come in a future post in April or soon thereafter, but for now I let my dad do all the work, and I get to relax a bit.  Well sort of.

Leave it to my dad to obtain a tea literally from obscurity.  But that’s what makes this so fun.  I wouldn’t and shouldn’t always be writing about teas that are easily accessible and easily well-known.   I take pride in trying something new in all facets of my life whenever possible.   With that said I’m so grateful to have had my first cup of White Tea & Blueberry from ManzaTe of Costa Rica.

It used to be that I would initially write-off and have presumptions, preconceived notions, and other nasty things to say about something before even trying it.  Just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it should be frowned upon or put on the back burner.  It could easily be a treasure that otherwise would be forgotten.

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There won’t be much in the way of pictures of steeping and prepping, because, once again my dad broke this out with little notice.  I love when an idea falls into my lap when I’m not looking for it.

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What a thrill this was to sip.   Even if it were disappointing, I would still find so many positives about this experience.  Hanging out with family and the people you care about is always a positive.  And when the tea is great, it definitely is an added bonus.

Yes this tea is delicious.  It was so easy to sip and those blueberries taste natural, and not artificial.  Well at least I hope so.  There’s not much information about this specific tea online.

However, there are online stores where you can purchase their other flavors.  I have two links for you, here and here.

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But no Nowruz gathering would be complete without some sweet Iranian pastries that we have more than once a year.  Trust me.  We go overboard here.  We tend to have these at least once a month.  The honey based pastries complement the white tea and blueberries to a tea.  Ha I made myself  laugh with that one.

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If you would like to find out more about these sweet treats, here are the links for Jalebi, Bamiyeh, and Persian Baklava.   All of this is so good and so beautiful.

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This is a tradition that I hope goes on forever.  And I just don’t mean celebrating New Years and enjoying a meal, a cup, and some sweet treats with my dad and other family.  I would like it to happen as much as possible.  And not all of them are meant to be shared.  As some are meant to be kept internal between yourself, the people you shared them with, and the universe.

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If time permits and the opportunity presents itself I would like to write about another tea in another of Iranian New Year.  I figure I have a window of a few weeks to write about a Persian tea if I get the chance.   I hope  I do.  I will hopefully make that happen.  But like with this experience, it will best come organically.

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And If I get another chance to write about ManzaTe, I will.  This was a wonderful first impression.  It was easy to drink, easy to appreciate the smells, but most importantly it’s about family and being around great company that you appreciate and that appreciate you back.

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This is what life, at any time of year is all about.

I look forward to what April brings.   But for now Happy New Year and Happy Early part of Spring.

Ideen

Jasmine Pearls

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You sometimes don’t know where the best teas will come from.   I could go on some long winded rant about how the best teas could be loose, or in bags, or from other source.  And I might also say the best of the best may find you.   When you aren’t looking it just comes your way.  I’ve gone on and on about the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of tea drinking.  It’s a subconscious and conscious experience all at the same time.

The team I’m going to write about here is from a company I’ve never heard of, and it was sipped at a place I’ve never been to before, and in a place I would least expect.   Actually it wouldn’t be near the last place I’d expect, but it’s fun to say that for dramatic purposes. But it was at a place where it only seems fitting.

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I’m happy to say that the Haiku White Tea from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company is one of those teas I’ll be thinking about for a long time.

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What makes this even all the more special is this was after appetizers, after wine, and after a fantastic dinner at Vin 909 in gorgeous Annapolis, MD.  And this location is as cozy, charming, and welcoming as it gets.  But more on this awesome restaurant later in the week.

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But this tea oh my goodness.  Maybe it was the setting, maybe it was the ambiance, the location, the meal, the energy, and the everything.  It doesn’t matter.  Good tea is good tea and great tea is even better.  This was on another level.

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I don’t talk about white tea enough.  I’m grateful I got to write about a expertly crafted one here. The white with natural peach, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean flavors makes this a unique medley of flavors that I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of having altogether before. Throw in orange peel and rose hips (which I couldn’t taste since I was mesmerized by everything else) and this is a tea I strongly recommend, but only wish was available at a store near me.

The good news is you can purchase this tea among so many selections online.

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To me, this tea is a throwback to so many I’ve had in the past.  It felt like a culmination of something.  No, not the culmination, or else that’s even more over-the-top, and I’m just getting warmed up.

The majority of restaurants we go to do have tea. But not like this.  And the tea offerings are usually along the lines of the most standard label, which usually means a black tea, and anything but herbal.  And there’s nothing right or wrong about that.   Higher end (which is what I consider Vin 909 to be) restaurants don’t (and for good reason) consider their after dinner menus as well thought out as I’ve seen Vin 909’s.    And this is part of what I forgot to mention earlier.

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You usually get this presentation at tea shops and cafes, so this gave me that warm and happy feeling.  Anytime I see a teapot with infuser, I’m super excited.  Yet, I try to keep that enthusiasm to myself or I may be asked to leave the premises.

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The tea paired with a heavily rich Chocolate pot de creme.  It was comfort food for a time of comfort.  It’s January, we’re still in a bit of the holiday hangover.  This is the time to be practicing healthy eating and drinking habits.  Apparently this was the last thing on my mind.

For more on the wine pictured below, click here.

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The dessert was an interesting counterbalance to the tea.  I split it with company, and still could barely eat any.  But the joyous tea was one I was thrilled to split 50/50.

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I’m craving a pot all to myself right about now.    But I would be a fool to say that everything else leading up to this was tremendous, that it made the after dinner experience that much better.

Where is this going?  I go to a farm-to-table restaurant/wine bar and all I write about is the tea?   I keep my universes separate, but this will all make sense as the week progresses.

In all honesty, depending on where the next posts go, the tea one might have been the easiest or most difficult to right.  How about that for a bold prediction?

If you are in or around the Annapolis area, I cannot recommend Vin 909 enough.

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Here is their menu, their wines (more on this this later this week), and a little more about them.

I was happy to learn that owner and general manager, Alex Manfredonia is a big supporter of my dear friend’s organization, Anne Arundel County CASA.

It makes me happy to support a great restaurant that supports a greater cause.

This will all be elaborated on later.

For more on the incredible and incomparable Jasmine Pearl Tea Company, click here, more about them, their story, and of course where to buy.

It’s a Vin 909 kind of week.

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To be continued…

Ideen

Honest Tea Is The…

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Did you get the play on words?   I wasn’t aware of the double meaning until today.  And it’s always been in plain sight. I’ve been drinking Honest Tea, here and there for a number of years. A fun fact is that it’s based not far away from where I grew up, in Bethesda, MD.

As the weather shifts to hotter and more humid, the posts will also shift to cooler options, which will include bottled and iced teas.   Without hesitation I wanted to write about this Maryland based company as my first foray away from the stove, hot water, pots, kettles, and all the fun instruments I’ve been using recently.

It was a sunny day, very hot and hazy, and aside from drinking lots of ice cold water, I had a yearning for some naturally flavored goodness.   So I got the inspiration to write about a cold tea when I made it to my grocers aisle.

I missed National Iced Tea Day last week, so I’m making up for it as much as I can today.

As you can see, the amount of bottles is endless.  So I grabbed a couple in hopes they would turn out great.  I chilled them in the refrigerator after purchase, so I could fully appreciate their hopefully refreshing tastes.

So how’d it go?  Well fun is one way of looking at it!

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First up is the Peach Oo-La-Long Tea.  The name is entertaining and really resonates with me.  It’ll be on my mind for a while.  That’s a great way to sell you brand.   The tea itself for me was solid.   Oolong is not a tea I’ve had often nor have I ever been a major fan.  This will take some growing.  My taste and experience for it has been seldom.  After drinking this that could change.  It wasn’t my favorite chilled tea but we all have our particular tastes.

The peach puree and agave flavors are dynamite.  I really like agave.  And it’s an interesting alternative to honey, which I love almost more than anything on his planet.  So I was happy to try something different.

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Next is the Mango White.   This I could drink endless bottles of.  The flavors come alive here.  I adore white tea and I adore mango.   And throw in the agave syrup once again and we have a winner.  Perfection.  Having this chilled on a hot Summers day is a visual I’d like to repeat.  What a joy this is.

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And the profound quotes, proverbs and messages under every lid is a wonderful touch.

There’s a lot going on with this company.  And their website is loaded with information.  It’s a lot to take in but I included links where I could.  More on their products can be found here.

My favorite parts of all revolve around helping the community and there’s plenty to read about.  I love this stuff!  It makes me want to do more.

Being Fair Trade Certified and USDA Organic is always something I look for in a product and if the intent is good then I feel good about what I’m supporting.  It’s my symbolic gesture of saying thank you and it’s me saying I’d like to do my part as well in helping others.

I know I only glossed over Honest Tea’s items, but I could go on.  Instead, I will revisit them later this Summer and hopefully talk more of their amazing teas, flavors, and messages of good.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen