Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Spice & Tea Exchange

Springtime in DC - it was a fabulous day - even in the rain!

Our final destination was a quick stop at The Spice & Tea Exchange in Georgetown where we could purchase a nice assortment of spices and teas. This spice shop is a franchise business with approx. 25 shops located throughout the United States. We had the opportunity to visit one of these shops in Mystic, CT last summer and again during this trip to DC. At both locations we managed to find a few spice blends and flavorful salts and rice mixtures to bring home to spice up our life and add a few new culinary flavors to our well stocked kitchen spices. This is a fun stop for any foodie.

There were a few dips to sample, and they had some teas brewed to try. This was a pleasant stop before we headed home, pushing through the DC rush hour traffic in the capable hands of our skilled bus driver, happy to leave the driving to someone else!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Afternoon Tea - Willard Intercontinental - Washington, DC

The stately elegance of the Willard Intercontinental Hotel located within walking distance of the White House was the destination for a bus trip organized by the Royal Tea Club, a group of tea enthusiasts established in 2005. The membership has grown exponentially over the years, with the majority of members from southern PA, MD, and VA. They schedule special events at tea rooms and also organize bus trips and overnight trips, including journeys to England. This one day trip took us to the nation's capital.
Our group was ushered to a private dining area where we were served our tea as soon as we were seated. The theme for this tea was the Cherry Blossom Tea, and although we were there on a rainy day, the cherry blossoms were just about at their peak. It was a beautiful spring day in the city. The tea offerings included Organic English Breakfast or Organic African Amber, both from Mighty Leaf Teas.

The African Amber is a flavored rooibos tea with hints of mango, vanilla and hibiscus. The English Breakfast tea a robust black tea.

The sandwich plate included Tarragon Chicken Salad with dried cherries on whole wheat, Cherrywood Smoked Salmon with dill cream cheese and micro greens on pumpernickel, Goat Cheese Roulade with sour cherry and arugula, Egg Salad with cherry tomato on sourdough, and Cucumber & Cherry with cream cheese on Seven Grain bread. The plate shown here is the vegetarian option that featured asparagus and hummus square and roasted vegetables instead of the chicken salad and smoked salmon options. We enjoyed the nice assortment and variety of sandwiches.

The scone course included Cherry & Ginger Bean Scones served with lemon Curd and Devonshire Cream, Cherry Jam and Apricot Marmalade. The wait staff presented each scone individually from their large serving platter.

The Tea Pastries featured a Red Bean Éclair, Lemon Rice Tart, Green Tea Shortbread, Brandied Cherry Shortcake, and Japanese Moon Cake.

We enjoyed our tea in a private dining room. However, if you attend tea at the Willard with a few guests, they serve the tea in Peacock Alley on low tables using tiered trays, and with beautiful background music.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings!

For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.
~Alice Freeman Palmer

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

How do bunnies stay healthy, fit and trim?
With eggs-ercize!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teaism, Washington, DC

Another quick stop, just to peek inside, was a visit to Teaism, a Tea House, also located in Dupont Circle, although there are 3 locations in DC and one in VA. It is a casual Asian inspired tea house and restaurant offering properly brewed tea, accoutrements, and quick fare.

These colorful boxes of tea were behind the counter, the tea protected from the light. As we had reservations for Afternoon Tea elsewhere, we didn't partake of the menu, but since it was Monday, their special for the day was a 'Meatless Monday' option.

Years ago (2001 to be exact) our family visited the Teaism at 800 Connecticut Avenue. My journal notes that it was 'definitely an Asian tearoom, although there was Latin music in the background'. We sampled Golden Needle, a White Mutan, Qingxiang Oolong and a herbal, Sweet leaf Hibiscus. There were no tasting notes in my journal - but what a fun assortment we tried! It's good to see that Teaism has withstood the test of time.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Capital Teas, Washington, DC

An early spring visit to Washington, DC included a stop at the trendy Capital Teas located in Dupont Circle. Billed as Fifth Generation Fine Tea Merchants, they have 6 different locations (MD, VA, DC) and promise 2 new boutiques will open soon.
They offer over 200 types of teas and infusions and encourage you to smell the teas. This wall full of their tea offerings lines one side of the long narrow boutique.

Additional tea wares and accoutrements can be found artfully displayed in the shop.

Susanna found a tropical herbal tisane to purchase - the fragrance immediately transported her to a faraway island. The teas are packaged in a very informative black tin that includes all the necessary information to properly brew whatever tea you have selected.
The staff is happy to offer any assistance or answer any questions you might have. This was a fun stop on our adventure to DC.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tea Time Magazine - May/June 2014

This was the scene in Sweet Remembrances a few months ago when photographer John O'Hagan visited the tea room for a photo shoot for Tea Time magazine.

Flash forward to the most recent May/June 2014 issue, and this is the end result: a beautiful six-page spread featuring seven tea rooms in southeastern Pennsylvania, including Sweet Remembrances.

It is such an honor to be included in this national magazine devoted to everything tea. In addition to congratulatory phone calls and private email messages from friends and tea room guests, several of my blogging friends have shared their enthusiasm for this article: Linda, at Friendship Tea Blog shared earlier this month, while Angela at Tea with Friends shared most recently. Phyllis posted her thoughts on her blog Relevant Tea Leaf.

If you would like to see a few additional photos that were captured by the photographer, check out this slide show at Tea Time magazine.

A special thank you to Linda and Angela - they both suggested a visit to Sweet Remembrances when editor Lorna Reeves inquired about tea rooms in PA. A sincere thank you to Tea Time editor Lorna Reeves, to senior photographer John O'Hagan, and to writer Karen Callaway for including our little corner of the world in this Hoffman Media publication.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First Friday Feast

It happened again last week! The kitchen was happily turned over to the culinary talents of Chef Steve and Karen Dunlap of Mountainside Supper Club this past First Friday. They prepare a complete four course dinner, offering three entrée selections in addition to salad, soup, and dessert.

Specializing in farm to table catering using locally grown and organic produce and meats, they are happy to share their sources for the evening's fare. 

 The next First Friday Dinner is scheduled for May 2nd with availability at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. We request advance reservation and entrée selection at time of reservations. The menu for May is posted here.  BYOB, if you like. Downtown Mechanicsburg businesses are open later on the First Friday of the month, so plan on visiting the local merchants and enjoy dinner either before or afterwards. What a great way to spend an evening! Your local small business owners will thank you!
Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Drizzle

Monday, April 7, 2014

Easy from Seed - Chervil

Chervil has a subtle anise taste that is wonderful in sauces, dips, rice dishes, eggs, or salads. Like
cilantro, chervil is strictly a cool-season annual; crops can be grown in spring and again in fall. In mild-winter climates it can be grown throughout the winter. Sow in a large pot or directly in the ground in spring or late summer

When to start: Sow repeatedly in spring, and again in late summer into fall.

Where to plant: Plant in part shade, in fertile soil.

Planting depth: Cover seeds with a dusting of soil.

Care: Provide consistent moisture.

Container growing: Chervil’s delicate beauty lends itself to container growing. Sow seeds in a large
pot10-inch or larger diameter. Use the same pot for a hot-weather plant, such as a pepper, eggplant,
or annual flowers.
Harvesting: When the plant is about 6 inches high, cut leaves as you need them.

Hint: Chervil imparts a subtle anise flavor. Its flowers are lovely, and attract beneficial insects.

Friday, April 4, 2014

And they're off!

A trip to Kentucky would not be complete without a nod to the horses.  Lexington KY is known as the  'Horse Capital of the World' and located right in the middle of this bustling city (the second largest in KY) is Thoroughbred Park. These lifelike bronze racehorses are impressive to say the least. Racing towards the finish line, you can almost hear the sound of their hooves pounding the track. 
The foals tucked amongst the greenery are peaceful. The mares are grazing in the distance while the race is ongoing.
 This beautiful and impressive artistry is attributed to talented sculptor Gwen Reardon.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Greentree Tea Room, Lexington, KY

The Traveling Tea Friends journeyed to Lexington, KY to partake of a luncheon tea at the Greentree Tea Room, 'where tradition meets style'. The luncheon tea is served Wed. thru Sat. at noon, by reservation. Spring was just beginning to make an appearance, daffodils and pansies were abloom, but a chill was still in the air.
They feature a monthly themed menu, and since we were here in March, it was an Irish inspired menu. They offer one tea that fits the theme, and it was an Irish Blend Tea, which is a blend of blacks typically including an Assam and yields a hearty bold pot of tea. Our server was attentive in keeping the teacups filled.

Back Row: Mary, Angela, Maureen
Linda,, Lori
Nancy, Phyllis, Lynn

The pristine place setting sets the scene with green napkins to complement the table setting and in keeping with the theme. Bowls of whipped butter, and Fayette Cream (their version of Devon Cream for the scones) quietly announced the joys yet to come!

Linda and Nancy (we first met as room mates during a trip to London in 2007)
The first course: Potato Leek Soup, thick rich and tasty. Followed by an Irish Oat Scone with Blackberry Jam & Fayette Cream. Loved the oat topping!

A nice hearty portion of Spanakopita was served next with a rich cream sauce. Layers of spinach and Phyllo and creamy goodness added a good base to this luncheon tea.

Following the entrée, we were invited to the buffet table in the other room where we could select the sandwiches and miniature desserts. There were Corned Beef squares, Poppy Seed Egg Salad and Benedictine Tea Sandwiches.

Benedictine Sandwich - cucumber, onion, cream cheese, tinted green

The miniature desserts included Bailey's Fudge (oh so rich!), Pistachio Cupcakes, and Greentree French Filled Wafers. The luck of the Irish was definitely with us!

Mary, Phyllis, Maureen, Angela at the Buffet Table

Here's my sandwich and dessert plate after going around the buffet. Such a pretty assortment of tea delights!

We all enjoyed our special afternoon at Greentree Tea Room.