Sunday, January 18, 2015

Coffee break...adventure day

Coffee adventure day...

My whole coffee adventure day from last Thursday

after reading the Wiki description of a Coffee Break...

Let’s say if a coffee break lasts for 15-20 min’s and
if I spent 5 min’s at each of these coffeeshops, that’s a ‘coffee break’ spread out over a day - once on the road, a long afternoon into early evening...

So I started, as I often do, with a wake up coffee at home using my single glass V-60 dripper and this time, Righteous Brothers roasted coffee from Tomball, TX Farmer’s Market (that I go to almost every Saturday--good to have a sample taste of any or all of their recent coffee roasts, or their cold brew too)

on the road, local stop, Gourmet Bakery - a French bakery - for a Lavazza coffee espresso (last year it was Bristot coffee) & learned my French word for the day ‘souirs’ (mice - notice the wall mural behind the tables)

here too I have ordered a French King Cake or Galette des Rois, only found in January (I'm guessing after the Epiphany or Twelfth Night, as in 12 days following Christmas Day)- for Mardi Gras, instead of the regular cakes found that are crazy large, over sweet, loaded with icing, sugars, filling usually

in case you think you can bake one of these beauties...
I have an expat friend who lived in Paris, France a lot of years
along with marrying a man from France & I watched her make one, she's also a good no measure cook
it was not nearly this perfect, but still tasty & way more work in the kitchen than I will ever do
I would not attempt it, I did not attempt it, after watching her once (again, I am 'not' a cook)

this one is from the local French bakery, is a small one & cost $30.00
you can 'not' do this every day--good thing they are only around in January
here you'll see I was given a paper gold crown, there is no bean (real or ceramic) inside
and the filling is almond, not apple as it mentions in the Wiki description

about the King Cake - including French King Cake, per Wiki...

"The cake traditionally celebrating Epiphany in France and Quebec is sold in most bakeries during the month of January. Three versions exist: in northern France, Quebec, and Belgium the cake called galette des rois (which can be either circular or rectangular) consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane or apple. In the west of france a sablé galette is made, a form of sweetcrust pastry. In southern France...where it´s called tortell - the cake called gâteau des rois or royaume, is a torus-shaped brioche with candied fruits and sugar, similar in its shape and colours to a crown. This later version is also common to Spain and very similar to New-Orleans king cake.
Tradition holds that the cake is “to draw the kings” to the Epiphany. A figurine, la fève, which can represent anything from a car to a cartoon character, is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in their slice becomes king for the day and will have to offer the next cake. Originally, la fèvewas literally a broad bean (fève), but it was replaced in 1870 by a variety of figurines out of porcelain or—more recently—plastic. These figurines have become popular collectibles and can often be bought separately. Individual bakeries may offer a specialized line of fèves depicting diverse themes from great works of art to classic movie stars and popular cartoon characters. The cakes are usually sold in special bags, some of which can be used to heat the cake in a microwave without ruining the crispness of the cake. A paper crown is included with the cake to crown the "king" who finds the fève in their piece of cake. To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares...
Formerly, one divided the cake in as many shares as guests, plus one. The latter, called "the share of God," "share of the Virgin Mary," or "share of the poor" was intended for the first poor person to arrive at the home..."

then road trip to H-town
first stop Common Bond Cafe & Bakery
Boomtown coffee machiatto with side of mint macaron
(can't tell you how many times I've spelled that cookie name wrong--macarron, macaroon, etc...)

and outside of the cafe, a side adventure...

into local street art / grafitti - slaps, stickers

took some tracking down, as I love going on a hunt, at first I thought it was the coffeebag artist from Paper Co (last year when I went to the First - to be annual - Caffeine Crawl in Houston, TX & I actually won a coffee bag with Cicada art on it on the Route which stopped at the Paper Company Coffeeshop) - but found too I'd taken another photo on Galveston Island of the same sticker so could zoom in on those details to find the design company & the artist (about the same time over on Instagram another street artist was kindly giving me the name of this other street artist--both I'm guessing like, as he says, 'fancy coffee'...but of course, me too!)

grub worm I called it - but described as: Lord Worm, Wormicon...
Atlas Metamorphosis...Stage 2 of 4...

on a t-shirt on webpage

the artist: Vincent Fink
his webpage

I love the story on the design webpage behind it's name--Point 506 or .506


"Edward N. Lorenz accidentally typed .506 into a weather calculation generator and although it was only a tenthousandth place off, it proved to be enough to create a cataclysmic storm in stead of sunshine thus coining his butterfly effect concept and giving people a reason to believe that something very small can significantly change things and become larger than it’s self"

Worm Sticker

Worm sticker - also a button, necklace

Worm Icon Seal

Worm Icon Seal

Like a seal you would see on the side of a military vehicle this t-shirt represents the Atlas Metamorphosis Project of Vincent Fink ( Printed on a heather green Tultex blend tee and has a soft, light feel & ink.
At this point, we are but worms, shedding skin, growing larger. Eventually we must enter the pupa stage, and rest. But perhaps we shall resurrect as something even more magnificent. Possibly a flying horned beetle? One can only fathom."

especially like this Imaginary Still Life of worm & beetle from what looks like the artist's 2012 project...

double adventures always more fun than single ones?!

next up Red Dessert Dive
Boomtown coffee cortado with a side of salted honey pie slice
one of the most delectable sweet things I have tasted
want to say blows my mind, then I think how cliche' that sounds (there need to be new food, taste, awesomeness words)

brown butter salted honey pie - Kinfolk magazine recipe…

between coffee sweets break--an art break

Menil Collection

bookshop then finally, Cy Twombly

a dedicated building behind the main collection
that I have avoided in the past, rather going to the bookshop or Rothko Chapel - tho now could of also visited the new Menil Bistro, but thought it was time... that I gave some time to Cy Twombly, as he has a whole building I thought I should at least walk thru... about all I could stand or do, I think I like the building more than what it houses (No, not think, I do) - but maybe, just, could ponder his roses a short while... all else could just walk on by & I did...

I think on Instagram I compared it to (my opinion & I am 'not' an art critic) elementary school group scribble art with pencils or crayons or melted crayons... and now I can barely recall some of the sculptures that looked as if he'd poured white paint over plastic/found objects like plastic flowers or wood boards... this artist I don't connect with, at all - how they have invested an entire building I can't fathom, beyond me... did I say 'not my cup of tea' - probably mentioning of tea, as it was to be a day of coffee adventures...

red candy toppers to the Red Velvet cupcakes
or perhaps even the Vegan Red Velvet cupcakes
(they were out of those this evening so didn't get to see them
& also out of mini cupcakes so had to, Had To, order a regular)
you can watch all the baking going on behind the half glass walls
I asked the baker lady if it was OK to take a photo of her tray

onward to Crave Cupcakes
Katz coffee espresso with side of apple cupcake
with it's candy topper, that's an apple, of course

(note: no place to sit here, must stand at marble island...
was told tho that the new shop up in The Woodlands will have seating, good to hear that!)

side adventure here too
especially to avoid rush hour homeward northbound traffic
closest bookshop
where I love the variety of magazines & guest speakers & kid's book section the best

Brazos Bookstore

found in the kid's book section, these Baby Lit Books...
note: got two books for gifts - Alice in Wonderland & Jabberwocky... Wizard of Oz & ?? next time
what a great way to intro kid's to Literary Classics!!

finally home again for just water & chopped greens & veggies salad with side of thankfully perfect avocado...
balance - zen, yang day followed by ying dinner (or something like that...a balance of food body fuel if nothing else)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tea, Teatime, Afternoon Tea, High Tea... in H-town

Afternoon Tea
High Tea

Yes, there is a difference
and you shall see very plainly

Here is Afternoon Tea
at Kiran's Indian Restaurant
in Houston, TX

on a Saturday only at 2 pm by reservation
$35.00 base, plus added charges for different drinks
like bubbly or spiced apple cider before the starter, or grand marnier after dessert kind of choices
and even water you have a choice - tap, bubbles or still

had a table for 2, tho it's not just a girlfriends thing to do I saw
here there were also couples at a few table
(and I have to say once & once only I have seen a business men's lunch at an Afternoon Tea - in NOLA & no, they were not what you might think--they were just business men at lunch, talking business)

if you've enjoyed an Afternoon Tea before you'll note what's missing--the 3 tier towers
I did miss them, our next tea out we've decided will have towers at the table

Starter - Indian touch , spicy

Savory plate - of all the things, the deviled egg is spicy
and my Fav the top one with peas in it, again of all the things

Dessert course with of course scones
2 odd points here--the pink macaron tho precious was fall apart dry when I took one bite & I was done with that... then the lovely lemon cup would of been lovely to get to the bottom of it, as the tiny spoon did not do the job (a lesser odd note was that the clotted cream per the menu had a taste of either sour cream or greek yogurt--we weren't sure which & didn't ask, all & all still yummy with jam on a scone)

Note: you are served starter, main plates & then for desserts you get to get up & choose your own
waiters serve you teas - before the starter, during the main plates & afterwards for dessert (that one in a gold trim tea cup & saucer)

Teas: Chai, Jasmine, Green tea, Earl Grey was served (but I think there were more choices & I think that Kiran's daughter makes a Chai tea that they sell in a lovely little tin - see them at the tables & at the front entrance, along with a bag of loose tea if you don't care for a tin...I am not fond of spice, spicy, do I declined the Chai but my friend said it was not very spicy & she enjoyed it--next time, maybe...)


Tea/Teatime vs Afternoon Tea (low tea or light tea or full tea or cream tea or even strawberry tea - for further confusion) vs High Tea...

read more here - per Wiki...

but basical for me... Tea/Teatime I think is at home tea or a stop for a cuppa at a coffee/tea shop or as some call them a tea room--which could also be used for Afternoon Teas I'm guessing, tho a cream or light one
Afternoon Tea is a light lunch with mini sandwiches & at least a scone, clotted cream/jam
High Tea is more like what we might call dinner/evening meal, it's more hearty (somewhere it was called Meat Tea--hah?!)
And I wonder if maybe only properly is taken in the UK - when we were in London I looked up a hotel that I had hoped to have either/or (Afternoon Tea/High Tea) at, only there were reservations & a long wait & I would not have gotten in during the days I was in town--another time then...

other distinctions - Cream Tea - per Wiki...
with the famed Devonshire Clotted Cream...mmm...
looks to be just tea with scones & clotted cream with jam

further confusion explained here - - Tea - High Tea vs Afternoon Tea...
which adds another--the Children's Afternoon Tea Party


On my short list for next Afternoon Tea in H-town...

High Tea Houston

The St. Regis Hotel - Afternoon Tea Service...

note: Yay--I see a 3 tier tower on the table & also that the setting looks rather 'western' (but will forgive as it is Houston, TX afterall)

Hotel Grandduca - Afternoon Tea...

note: lovely table of china setting with a garden view (no 3 tier tower in sight, but still lovely)

2 other Hotels listed when search...

1) The Four Seasons
but then nothing at all on their webpage, maybe has been discontinued

2) Omni Hotel
there are no photos of actually tea service, tea tables, but there is a menu
that does look like an Afternoon Tea service

at least 2 Tea Rooms are also listed when search...
though cheaper price, they look it--but may still try one after the others

1) McHugh Tea Room & Gifts...!afternoon-tea/c1lhq
see 3 tier towers in a photo, but am wondering if the food choices are larger than some (as in that Texas is Bigger & Better saying--which I don't care for at all, or things of  'Texas Size" - as in I think, way too large!)

2) Your Cup of Tea - a Traditional English Tea Room...
looks to be very simple - tea, cut up bread sandwiches, scones

Until my next Afternoon Tea I'll be steeping either my morning dark tea or my afternoon green tea...
(I am a Rare Bird I think at times as I am also in serious love with coffee--at anytime of day?!)

Here's to a New Year--New Adventures, new food or tea/coffee adventures to come this year...
like February's Second Annual Caffeine Crawl Houston TX - I've chosen Route 4, more to come after that day of coffee adventure fun...eee...