Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lunch With Beth At Chipotle

Due to their recent problems, Chipotle has mailed out coupons for one free burrito, burrito bowl, salad or order of tacos. They come with another coupon good for a free order of chips and salsa with purchase of another item. The coupons are good through May 15, but we decided to use them before we forget about them.

I ordered the salad, which is a bed of lettuce with a choice of meat. Then there are the toppings. I declined beans and chose mild salsa, corn salsa, cheese and guacamole.
J.K.'s Salad
 Beth's burrito came in the usual foil, which makes it easier to eat. In addition to rice and beans, she loaded it with barbacoa (marinated and slowly braised beef) and guacamole.
Beth's Burrito Before Unwrapping.
However, she cut it in half so you can see how substantial it is, and had to start eating with a fork before being able to pick it up.
Once, Angela froze Chipotle barbacoa burritos and took them as payment (bribe) to Hawaii when a friend let her stay with him on Oahu. So you know it's good when a person is willing to accept frozen, well-travelled food instead of waiting years longer to get back to the mainland. What are your crazy Chipotle stories?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lunch With Beth at Onigilly Express

It was a nice day, and Beth needed to get back to work quickly after lunch, so we took a walk over to 4 Embarcadero Center,  picked up a quick lunch at Onigilly Express and ate at a table outside.

Tea Time Adventures has had a long love affair with Onigilly, from Street Food Festival Booth to their pop-ups and then on to their brick and mortar store on Kearney street. They always come through with delicious onigiri and yummy side dishes. Try them out and you'll love them too.
J.K. chose the Edamame Set with
salmon, hijiki and unagi rice balls
Beth's choice was the Miso Soup Set
with an Unagi rice ball

Friday, March 11, 2016

Divine Delights at the 2016 Fancy Food Show

What's that noise? Oh, it's just Angela screaming with Divine Delights because we've found the source for our favorite petit fours. Yes! The ones they serve at Lovejoys and Diandas. Scrumptious melt in your mouth bites of cake and fondant. Who could resist? J.K. suggested standing and sampling our fill, stuffing our faces until we could never look at another petit four again. Angela was afraid that could never happen. So we just took one each and savored them as we walked away. These are always a Taste of Heaven.

Monday, March 7, 2016

English Rose Tearoom

Second Sunday Tea at 3 had to move to the third Saturday in February this year due to Valentine's Day falling on the second Sunday of the month, so we decided to change the day as well so we could visit The English Rose Tearoom in Pleasanton, which isn't open on Sundays. This tearoom features an inviting tea themed garden area, gift shop corner and loose leaf teas for sale.

Our beautifully set tables were waiting for us right by the sunny front window. There were six of us that day, so two of the tiny tables were pushed together for the group. The Tearoom encourages diners to experience as many teas as they want, but due to the small size of the tables, limits the selections to two pots on the table at a time. However, these can be swapped out at any time, even if they're not quite empty.

Housemade Lemon Curd, Jelly, and Clotted Cream Yummy!
The tea delicacies were tasty and so generous that some of us couldn't finish them, even though we sat there from 3:00 until 5:30, eating and tasting many different teas. The owner and staff are very accommodating, checking in frequently to ask if we needed our tea pots topped off or wished to change to a new pot. Informal and fun, this tearoom is ready for all comers, large groups or single guests just craving a cuppa. They even offer a tea sample with cookie just for stopping in their storefront.
Standard three tier tea tray full of deliciousness. (gift shop in background)
 The platters were arranged so that each person's selections were together
sweets and scones
fancy savories and fruit
Sammies galore including a pastry cup with goat cheese and honey
Chocolate Caramel Brownie Tea,
with sugar and cream
In addition to delicious beverages and tasty food, we were encouraged to stay after we finished the food and taste even more teas. The English Rose Tearoom has an extensive list of teas for customers to peruse for tasting. Angela most preferred the Creme Brulee, and of course J. K. loved the Chocolate Caramel Brownie. Both are flavored black teas. Other types sampled were Herbal Peppermint, Genmaicha, Partridge in a Pear Tea and Indian Chai just to name a few!

Friday, March 4, 2016

U Matcha–by the Republic of Tea

The Republic of Tea gave us each a very generous press kit (it included samples of several of their teas–Angela's Mom found her favorite Red Velvet tea via a sample) at the Fancy Food Show, then emailed to ask if there was anything else we'd like to try. We chose the U Matcha Charcoal, which is so tasty we built an entire lunch around it.

Angela cooked rice with U Matcha in the water and topped it with smoked salmon plus veggies. A simple salad of greens with U Matcha in the dressing was a perfect accompaniment. Just add 1-2 teaspoons of U Matcha to your regular vinaigrette dressing recipe and shake well.

Tea Time does not consider a meal complete without dessert (actually, we sometimes consider dessert a complete meal), so J.K. made marshmallows the night before. Unfortunately, she didn't have time to cut them in the morning, so she brought the whole pan.
The marshmallow syrup was as green as the salad dressing, but after 15 minutes in the mixer, the whipped product was only slightly tinted. Whip it!

 That changed, of course, after we dusted more matcha over the powdered sugar coating.
When making marshmallows, cooking spray is essential. J.K. sprayed her mixer bowl, whisk attachment and bowl scraper. Also the foil lining the baking pan, and the knife she used to cut the finished marshmallow. Any spray oil would work, this is just the brand we had on hand.  After we cut the marshmallow into blocks, we got to work on the truffles.
This recipe for rustic truffles is quite simple. Pick your favorite type of white chocolate chunks  (about one cup), and melt with a bit of heavy whipping cream (two tablespoons) in a double boiler over medium heat. Angela added a tablespoon of U Matcha to the melted chocolate, stirred until incorporated and  stuck it in the fridge to chill. Once the filling was cold we hand rolled balls quickly. If the filling gets too warm, simply chill again.
nudie matcha balls
 We rolled them in the matcha/powdered sugar and dusted them with cocoa. These soft truffles should be kept in the fridge and served cool. Otherwise they will begin to melt at room temperature. If you want to keep them around longer you can simply take a page from J. K.!
dusted and ready for eating
Later, J.K. was dipping dried fruit in tempered chocolate to take to an Oscars-watching party, so she dipped a few truffles, too.
Due to the powdered sugar and cocoa, the truffles weren't quite coated after dipping, so she dipped them a second time after the first coat set.
The perfect creamy filling!
Tea Time isn't sure if turning U Matcha into dessert still counts as a detox, but that's okay. We'll split the difference and just call it "healthy dessert."