Saturday, December 31, 2016

A magnificent meal at Miku!

Last evening, a group of us dined at an amazing restaurant to cap off the year. Miku, is an elegant Japanese restaurant near Toronto’s waterfront. I was a bit hesitant initially, as I just wanted to wind down after a stressful couple of weeks. However, after reading the reviews, and seeing what was available for dessert – my reason for this post – I decided to go for it. Hey, it’s the end of the year!

To start off, I had the Salmon Oshi Sushi which consisted of pressed wild sockeye salmon with jalapeño and Miku made sauces. It was divine! The fish was so delicate it melt as soon as it hit my mouth. I wanted more. Next time!

Salmon Oshi Sushi

Salmon Oshi Sushi

For my entrée, I enjoyed the Kyoto Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish. It had so many elements and textures which really elevated the plate to a whole new level. The plate consisted of a charred eggplant purée, cauliflower fritter, daikon covered in squid ink, edamame, pattypan squash, welsh onion, and heirloom tomato relish. Each bite was different every time.

Kyoto Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish

Kyoto Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish

Now for dessert. This was the reason why I wanted to go: to enjoy the Green Tea Opera. Wow! What a song! It was a trio of Matcha infused delights that screamed amazing notes in my mouth. The Matcha was a perfect balance of sweetness and earthiness. Miku’s signature dessert was a combination of green tea génoise, Matcha buttercream, dark chocolate ganache, azuki bean cream, hazelnut wafer, and Matcha ice-cream. Stunning and delicious. Definitely make room for this dessert!

Green Tea Opera

Green Tea Opera

With the fantastic service, amazing eats, and wonderful dinner companions, it was an evening I really needed. I had a pretty good year. I’ve had a very busy schedule with my new career, but I feel like I’m on the right track for once. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m enjoying the journey. I love what I do and I’ve got some big ideas for 2017. I’m looking forward to how the New Year unfolds for me. I wish everyone else a prosperous New Year. Cheers!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tea Readings: Raise your cups up high!

I came across this beautiful poem by Linda Hewitt I thought was worthy of sharing. When it’s all said and done, there’s always time for tea! It makes me want to go out for Afternoon Tea. Enjoy!

For money comes and money flies
Nations fall and nations rise,
And most things mortal changeth in the lee;
But there's one thing you can count on,
In Windsor, Scarborough or Clapham --
At four o'clock they still bring out the tea.
Plates of cakes and ladyfingers,
Sandwiches whose flavour lingers,
Mounds of mints enough to last a week;
And scones dripping with butter?
No, with cream, the greedy mutter --
A point not to be argued by the meek.
What care we if time and fate
Make our fortune seem too late
Give us wars to fight that are not meant to be?
We will lift our cups on high,
Survey the tea tray with a sigh,
Thank the cozy, rosy world that gave us tea.

~ Linda Hewitt
Copyright 1981

Monday, December 19, 2016

Steeped In History: I'm a Little Teapot!

It’s a nursery rhyme many of us sang and danced to as children. Heck, even some grown-ups performed the routine. It’s right up there with the Chicken Dance at weddings, no? I’m a Little Teapot has some pretty cute lyrics, and I was curious to know more about its origins. Who came up with such a song and the silly dance steps that go along with it?

The story goes that the song was created to help children pick-up difficult dance routines by singing and dancing. Clarence Z. Kelley and his wife ran a dance school for children. They noticed that the participants were having difficulty learning the steps to a tap dance called “Waltz Clog”. George Harold Sanders stepped in and wrote up I’m a Little Teapot which describes the simple features of teapots and the basic steps in making a pot of tea. This song allowed the children to learn their dance routine by adding playful gestures expressing meaning accompanied by music. Here are the lyrics:


I’m a little teapot
Short and stout
Here is my handle
Here is my spout
When I get all steamed up
I just shout
Tip me over and pour me out

I’m a very special pot
It is true
Here is an example of what I can do
I can turn my handle into a spout
Tip me over and pour me out

The dance steps called “The Teapot Tip”, enabled the children to become “teapots” whilst singing the song. Arms were used to mimic the spout and handle of teapots. Then you would bend to the side from the waist to indicate water pouring out.

Published in 1939, I’m A Little Teapot proved to be popular among children and adults all around the world. It’s even been used in many advertisements with different variations and offshoots of the song. Not bad for a simple little tune! Check out some videos on YouTube of people dancing “The Teapot Tip”. Some of them are hilarious. Here’s the song for you to do the “The Teapot Tip” if you’re so tired of the Macarena.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Teaology 101: Today’s post is brought to you by the letter 'H'!

Time for some ‘H’ words as we progress through our tea dictionary project. See all the previous definitions by clicking on their letters:

A      B      C      D      E      F      G

Hard: This is a desired quality that refers to the pungency in certain teas, most notably, Assam.

Harsh: These are teas that are bitter tasting possibly caused by the early plucking of immature tea leaves.

Heavy: Though they are strong tasting, these teas are not very good in that they lack brisk and astringency.

Herbal Infusion: Also referred to as "herbal tea", these are called tisanes which are beverages made using various herbs that infused like tea, but do not contain "tea".

Her Majesty's Blend: This is a blend of teas created for Queen Victoria.

High-fired: Teas that have been dried at high temperatures, but are not considered burnt or "bakey". Darjeeling tea is such an example.

High Grown: Tea grown at an elevation above 1200m.

High Tea: Originally a substantial meal that was eaten around 6 pm and consisted of various hearty dishes. The term has more to do with the height of the table rather than the class one belonged to. High Tea was served at the dinner table with dining chairs.  See Afternoon Tea for additional information. 

Houjicha:  A Japanese green tea, usually made from Bancha leaves that have been roasted in a pot over charcoal. Also spelled Hojicha.

Hungry: Describes the tea liquor which is lacking in the characteristics associated with that tea type.

Hyson: Meaning "flourishing spring" or "blooming spring", these are Chinese green teas. The new leaves are usually called young hyson while the older ones are called hyson skin.