|Forgive me for I have sinned: I ate this voodoo doughnut. But when in Portland, one must indulge. I love it when the red jelly oozes out of the centre of the chocolate frosting covered long-john. fab.|
Oh yah. Summer. It's been a while since I've posted what with life, teaching and mentoring. I am taking this summer off and really trying to de-stress. So what's new? I've purchased a new Fuji X100S camera. It's retro cool. All the pics here were taken with it. I haven't figured out how to use it yet...but that'll come with time and practice.
|Portland Creme doughnut from downtown Voodoo Doughnuts|
|My fave: the Gaybar! it's filled with pastry cream and topped with rainbow fruit loops|
|not my fave: I don't like soggy cereal on my doughnuts apparently. This is Captain my Captain (crunch--not)|
|Maple Bacon: another fave. You can't go wrong with bacon.|
|Yes, good things DO come in pink boxes. I'm wondering why we don't use pink boxes in Vancouver, Canada?|
But, what was better than Voodoo Doughnuts this time? well, we were wandering around Portland's Chinatown and came across this tea house called Red Robe Tea House & Cafe. It was the cleanest and coolest place I experienced in this slice of the city. Inside, there's dark wood and tea ceremony paraphernalia everywhere! I was in heaven. Of course, they have bubble teas too (which my kids ordered). I ordered a 2006 Pu Erh. I don't know my Chinese teas too well but I know that good Pu Erhs are better aged...the older the better. I also know that Pu Erh suits my constitution because some old Chinese guy told me so when I visited a tea shoppe in Vancouver's Chinatown. I used to drink tons of green tea and it was too "cooling" since I'm hypothyroid and have Hashimoto's. So he suggested Pu Erh (Bo Lay in Cantonese). I haven't gone back to green tea much since then and have since learned of its benefits: weight loss, vitamins B1, B2, C and E, potassium, magnesium, zinc which I need apparently because of my Hashi's, and a bunch o' others which I think you can google later (anti-oxidants, digestion, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, increasing metabolism, "blood cleansing"?) if you want! All I know from growing up is that my parents always drunk it...it was the default Chinese tea in the pantry. My father always told me as I recall...that if you eat a lot of greasy food (i.e. dimsum or a huge bag o chips) you've got to accompany it with a huge pot of Pu Erh (Bo Lay) to counteract the grease. It works. Trust me. You'll feel better. Steep it dark. Real dark.
|Chinese Tea Ceremony with 2006 Pu Erh Tea at Red Robe Tea House and Cafe in Chinatown, Portland, Oregon.|
|tea pets: some are made of Yixing Clay (highly prized "purple clay" from China) and others made of resin|
|pouring hot water on the Yixing clay and resin "tea pets"|
|I'm hooked: fantastic tea that gives over a dozen or more infusions served in a tiny tea cup and with all the tea paraphernalia.|
|Yixing teapot: one mini "purple" clay teapot is used to steep only one variety of tea. Good reason to have several different teapots! They're so cute|
I found not too many good videos on youtube showing the Chinese tea ceremony. Too many of them are Chinesey---i.e. I have no idea how to translate as I don't speak/understand Chinese. Some of the videos are shot by tourists; thus the multiple flashes and also there's an air of the performance for the tourist, which to me is kind of meh. So far, the best take on the tea ceremony I've appreciated aesthetically is this one:
Maybe I like this video simply because I'm addicted to the music, which I happened to go and purchase almost immediately for my ios devices: the Green Tara Mantra. I now have 3 versions of the mantra! I sit out on my deck with my tea ceremony stuff and my buddha statue and loop the 3 songs. It's so relaxing for me anyways...perhaps my neighbours aren't so happy about me blasting yoga music in my backyard :p
My daughter's fave is called "Mantra of Joy" by Xu Qing-Yuan (which is the one being played in the background in the youtube video I posted). I also have "Green Tara Mantra" from Surya and "Mantra of the Green Tara" from Imee Ooi. Sing with me if you've got the ear-worm now: Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soha... (repeat that 108 times now!) My 6 year old loves the song because she's memorized the words pretty easily.
By the way, if you're wanting some Chinese tea ceremony stuff and you're in Vancouver, I suggest you go visit The Chinese Tea Shop in Chinatown, Vancouver. I purchased quality Pu Erh there and they also have the Yixing teapots and stuff too. I posted about my previous purchase here.
|fresh organic Kale...you know what I'm gonna do to you|
|wash and spin you dry|
|Mix a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with garlic powder, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste. Massage the flavour paste into the leaves and spread on parchment lined sheets|
|These were shatteringly crispy good.|
|The nutritional yeast gives it a kind of cheesy flavour. The garlic powder is a must. You can add a myriad of other seasonings but I like it simple.|
More exciting foodie experiences are coming up so stay tuned!