Baby it’s cold outside? Have a smoked maple bourbon chai toddy

Smoked maple burbon chai tea toddyHere in California, we’re not really thinking about the cold weather yet. People have started putting on their fireplaces at night when it gets down to about 50F, but having lived in Canada…Californians are wimps! But just because it isn’t freezing here doesn’t mean that you’re not experiencing that lovely crisp Autumn air.

I stumbled across this delicious sounding recipe from The Kitchn via StupidDope. And thought you might like it. And what’s not to like: maple, bourbon, bacon and chai! It might be good to have on hand after trick or treating, a nice hike, Thanksgiving dinner, or caroling,or just because you want one.

What do you think? Will you try it?

Fall Camping Cocktail Recipe: Smoked Maple Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy The 10-Minute Happy Hour | The Kitchn.

Best places for sit-down tea in Vancouver

Tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

We took a look at the best places for on-the-go tea in Vancouver last time.  So now you’re probably asking – where are the places to have a relaxing sit-down tea. While I haven’t exhausted all the options for a nice tea in Vancouver, here’s a list of places that are either my favorites or are on my list of places to go (in no particular order):

  • Murchies825 W. Pender St (North side between Hornby & Howe) – Not only can you get tea to go here, but you can get a quick lunch (a menu that changes but usually offers sandwiches and shepherd’s pie) and delicious scones. Their tea is great and their scones (with cream and jam) are so good that my friend and I have trouble resisting them.
  • Urban Tea Merchant1070 West Georgia St. @ Thurlow (also on the North Shore in the West Vancouver Mall Village) – This downtown location just opened this year and they did a great job in separating the store from the tea room. The elegant, quiet room is the perfect respite from busy downtown. They have an excellent selection of a la carte dishes as well as your traditional high tea selections. The West Coast Tea for two is not to missed if you enjoy salmon. And if you’re not up for full high tea, the petite tea hits the spot. Plus you can choose from an enormous selection Theodor tea to pair with your meal. Reservations recommended.
  • Muzi Tea Bar –  870 west cordova street (by Canada Place) – This very sleek tea bar has some seating, but makes lovely traditional japanese teas as well as those with a modern twist. A good spot down by Canada Place for a rest. There’s a lovely milk/rose tea latte.
  • Pekoe Tea Lounge (formerly Steeps) – 895 W Broadway –  What’s great about this place is it’s homey atmosphere and the fact there’s a tea sniffing station from which you can choose your tea. You may find the Shitty Weather Tea apropos. If you’re with a group you can snag the couches in the back. Or if it’s just the two of you, the armchairs against the large windows in the front are a good spot for people watching. They have a small selection of cakes and sweets as well as some savories, such as samosas.
  • T1568 West Broadway – This is the tea that the Fairmont uses for their high teas, as do several other high-end hotels and restaurants around the world. It’s austere atmosphere looks like it’s only a shop, but you can order tea to stay or go. And you can also sniff the teas at your leisure before ordering. My fav here is the Mad Hatter tea.
  • The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver High Tea900 W Georgia Street – Dubbed Tea at the Castle, its held every day from 2 – 4:30pm. Traditional Afternoon Tea includes exclusively blended Fairmont teas (from T), finger sandwiches, tasty pastries, and scones and fresh strawberries with Devonshire cream. To make your tea extra special, order the Champagne tea by adding a glass of Moët & Chandon. For the kids, there’s the Children’s Bubblegum Tea that includes finger sandwiches (PB&J, you can always order something else if you’re anti-PB), fresh strawberries and cream, a giant chocolate chip cookie and a seasonal fruit tartlet. Reservations – strongly recommended.
  • Wedgewood Hotel Baccus Afternoon Tea845 Hornby Street – Weekends 2-4pm – (Not open during Olympics) This intimate setting in one of Vancouver’s best award-winning restaurants, plus the hotel is consistently on Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure lists. This afternoon tea offers a lovely selection of teas with finger sandwiches, a selection of tarts and pastries, and, of course, scones with Devonshire cream and jam. And for adults, you can add an extra special twist with a Kir Royal (cassis and champagne). Reservations recommended.
  • Secret Garden Tea Company5559 West Boulevard – Located in the posh Kerrisdale neighborhood, this tea room feels like you’re in a quaint English cottage.   It’s one of Vancouver’s favorites for special occasions and mother-daughter/son teas. For high tea, they have seatings at 12, 2, and 4pm. Reservations are a must. Choose from 40 different teas paried with a three-tiered tray of miniature pastries, sweets, scones, Devonshire cream, raspberry jam, and sandwiches.
  • Adonia Tea House2057 West 41st Avenue – Located in the same neighborhood as Secret Garden, this cozy (and less formal) tea room offers an slight fusion of your traditional English tea with Asian touches.In additional to the traditional English afternoon and mini-afternoon teas, you can order slushies, a shaved ice platter, iced tea and iced coffee. Adonia also offers a la carte soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. And in the evening there’s also a section of pasta dishes.
  • Shaktea3702 Main St – Located in Vancouver’s hip Main St neighborhood, Shaktea brings the calm of yoga to tea. Your tea is served in individual tea pots that sit atop candle warmers to make sure it doesn’t cool as you relax and chat away the afternoon. There’s always a tea awaiting for you to sample prior to ordering and a lovely selection of gourmet pastries and cakes. 

  • Finch’s Tea & Coffee House353 West Pender – I have to say that while they serve good quality loose-leaf tea, it’s their sandwiches that I come here for. The brie and pear and the tomato and bocconcini baguettes are the best! Get their early before the lunch rush to get a seat.
  • Starbucks – one on nearly every corner – Vancouver embraced Starbucks as if it were a long lost child. And you can’t go 2 blocks in this city without coming across one. Their tea mistos (don’t call them lattes) are pretty good. And if you just want to get off your feet, it fits the bill.

Murchie’s Prince Charles Tea

Today, my friend and I stopped for a a quick tea at British Columbia’s oldest tea company, Murchie’s. We split a current scone with some thick and creamy Devonshire cream and lovely raspberry jam. And I paired it with a cup of Prince Charles tea.

Maybe it’s the media coverage of Prince Charles’ visit to Canada that had me thinking about this tea, but I couldn’t help myself from ordering it. It’s an extremely strong, rich blend of UVA Highland, Darjeeling, Extra Choice Keemun and Pure Assam. You’re going to want to have it with milk and sugar. To me its stronger than an Irish Breakfast tea. And when you’re facing the 2 o’clock blues after lunch in winter its the perfect thing to pick you up. And it’s a nice companion to the rich scone, cream and jam.

Murchie’s Tea & Coffee Ltd: Teas

Let Them Eat Tea Cake

Tea cakes don’t have to be tiny little things that you can eat in one bite. The next time you are planning a tea party – see if you can find a local cake genius that can create a tea party themed cake. It’s certain to be a conversation starter.

I’m a big fan of the Cakewrecks blog. Not only does Jen post some atrocious cakes, but she also posts some of the most spectacular cakes I’ve ever seen each Sunday. Today I clicked through to one of the websites of an amazing cake maker, Christopher Garren’s Let Them Eat Cake in Costa Mesa, California. And I found this edible masterpiece:

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Best tea for a traditional English breakfast – Orange Pekoe?

There’s nothing better on a rainy Sunday morning than a traditional English fry-up breakfast of eggs, bacon , sausage, toast and beans, especially after being out late the night before. But wouldn’t you think that you should server English Breakfast tea with it? Well, the experts say no:

Whittard of Chelsea, the tea and coffee supplier, embarked on a survey of a wide range of teas in order to find the best fit for the fry-up. Giles Hilton, the “nose” of the tea and coffee supplier, led a team of experts in sampling the brews to mark the 100th birthday of the teabag … He said: “Orange Pekoe suits the English taste for a rich, strong-tasting black tea which takes milk well. It is the very best Ceylon tea. It has a heavy but classic base which holds its own against the bacon, egg and sausage of a fry-up but does not alter the classic taste.” … and added: “It is important to remember that it does not taste of oranges.”

Most people wouldn’t argue with “the expert,” but I have a few friends that insist on having a breakfast tea with breakfast and nothing else.

Hilton’s last comment reminds me of a breakfast place in the South Bay Area of San Francisco called Hobee’s. I was told to have their signature tea. It was nice, but an orange spice tea just does not go well with scrambled eggs for me.

So what do you think is the best tea to go with a traditional English breakfast?

Ah, the perfect fry-up – eggs, bacon … and a nice cup of Orange Pekoe – News