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Aug 21, 2010 - File Icon Dinners With Friends, Drinks, Restaurant, Reviews, Tea   Comment Icon Comments Off on Chinese Garden and Tea House

Chinese Garden and Tea House

My new friend, Terri, decided to surprise me with an invite to head out with her and a friend to the Chinese Garden in Portland OR. I love surprise outings.

Because I’m a hermit and don’t do well with other people at times, I thought about not going. Then I also thought about my recent goals to meet more people and to try new things. So I went.

I have to say it was a glorious trip. Not only was the day beautiful, but the garden was really nice as well. It was quite a shocker to me that this little oasis existed in the middle of a bustling city, surrounded by tall office and apartment buildings. I took tons of pictures and got to know my new friends better over the beautiful landscape as well as a good few hours in the tea house.

I almost tried to convince them not to go in the tea house since I stopped drinking tea for the last few years due to caffeine inducing my killer migraines, but they wanted to go and I gave in.

I’m such a sucker for a pretty face.

I am really glad I went though. I thought I would be just sipping ice water until I found the selection of herbal teas. It’s almost like I forgot that herbal teas existed! How silly is that.

I went with hibiscus tea, Terri had tea flowers (as in the flowers that bloom on the tea plant) and her friend Kelly had black ginger peach tea. I didn’t try their teas but I was in heaven with the hibiscus. It was nice and strong, tangy and almost citrusy. Plus it was a beautiful red color. I love strong flavored teas.

We also ordered some snacks go to with them, some vegetable dumplings as well as a red bean cake.

Red bean cake? Really? To the uninformed, silly, sheltered American this sounded really odd and not too tasty.

I was proven wrong, yet again. If you’ve never had it, try it. It’s sweet, rich and almost has undertones of a fruity chocolate. It was baked in a really beautiful pastry crust and was really moist and delicious. It went beautifully with my dark red hibiscus tea.

The dumplings were pretty awesome also. I’m not really sure what was in them but they were pretty tasty.

We each got our own little teapots and little (and I mean LITTLE) cups for our teas, which I found just charming.

All in all it was a great day, meeting a new friend and growing closer to my other friend, plus the “reintroduction” to tea for me.

I highly suggest going there if you are in the area or plan to visit. It’s small but a wonderful experience. And don’t miss out on the tea house, it is quite lovely.

Jul 5, 2010 - File Icon Dinners With Friends   Comment Icon Comments Off on Fireworks And Adoption

Fireworks And Adoption

I was invited to my coworkers place yesterday for a BBQ lunch. It was pretty awesome. She has mad skills in the kitchen and makes me feel like I can’t boil water.

But they do appreciate the baking aspect of my kitchen life.

I’ve known my coworker for about 3 months and at first I really didn’t like her. She got on my nerves and just really irritated the heck out of me. Then I realized what it was, why I felt so annoyed with this really nice woman.

She’s not who I want her to be. She’s not my Steph. The reason my new coworker arrived is because Steph abandoned me to follow a dream to teach in another country. Quit her job and just left us.

Oh the nerve.

I was sad, distraught, and just wanted my Steph back. After I realized that everything was fine. She wasn’t trying to be Steph, just taking over the position in our company.

Now her and her group of friends are adopting me. We’re a bunch of foodies and crafters so that’s pretty awesome. I’ve been looking for a group like this for a while, so if it all goes well then there will be many more pictures and fun times ahead.

After visiting with them for several hours yesterday, I left to go home to be with Husband and Pup. After growing up in Southern California, having fireworks be legal is something that I’m not used to. Well the ground ones, sparklers, flashers, things like that I’m used to.

Huge exploding mortars? Not so much. All it did was want to make each of us curl up somewhere safe and hide from the loud explosions shaking our home. How un-patriotic am I? It also doesn’t help that it seems like every other house in our neighborhood bought their own extravagant fireworks display, and they are all setting them off at the same time.

Things to come? Sharing the recipe for my coworkers awesome Cuban Chicken she made, and also, a Pavlova I made for the celebration. Awesomeness.

Jun 20, 2010 - File Icon Dinners With Friends, In The Kitchen   Comment Icon Comments Off on New Days, Good Times

New Days, Good Times

Even though I haven’t been active in writing, life has been very active both in and out of the kitchen. Between getting sick (what is my deal with always getting the evil-alien-death-flu?), cooking failures, marriage and the economy… Just trying to survive can be enough of a challenge without adding writing to it.

Life has mellowed out, I’m another year older, and things are…better. It could also just be the change of seasons that is getting to me. The first day of summer is tomorrow, and I love the changes.

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