While I absolutely love seeing the world and discovering new and far away places, it always puts a big smile on my face and spring in my step to discover gems right in my own town, and today was one of those days!
Okay, back-story: I’ve mentioned it in my blog before; I am not a coffee drinker. In fact, I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. Sacrilege, you shout?! Especially coming from a woman who’s half Colombian? I know…I know.
Yes, I have tasted it. In many forms. I once encountered a French waiter who insisted serving me was so lovely I must have some espresso (or was it capuccino?) on him. Not literally on him, though. It was of the finest quality, apparently. If only someone had been there to record my face. I must have poured twenty sugars into that thing just to be able to take one sip. I ended up pouring it into a plant when he walked away. I kid you not. So, let’s chalk it up to I just don’t like the flavors of coffee in its many varieties (not even mocha). That coupled with knowing too many people who have to have it or migraines and/or moodiness will set in. No thanks.
Now moving on, I’ve been collecting tea from around the world since I was a little girl. Black tea, white tea, green tea, oolong tea. You name it. There is something so special about tea. The way it’s cultivated, the aroma, the process in which you brew and steep it. The very way you sip tea. It’s like fine wine, just sipping leaves instead of grapes. You can’t get those results from a coffee maker (something I have never owned until I met my husband – and actually, it’s his coffee maker ha)!
There are chains like Teavana and they’re what I call the Starbucks of tea; overpriced and offering tea that’s substandard. They don’t make tea approachable. It’s sad, really.
Then you have shop owners who appreciate the art that is tea drinking. Tea Gallerie and its unassuming storefront in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego is the product of that appreciation.
I had won a Facebook giveaway for some of their Strawberry Fields black tea. That was months ago. I finally got around to heading to the store, which admittedly, is a bit out of my way since I walk everywhere if I’m not going to and from the office. It was worth the drive.
Once I walked in, I was mesmerized. I kept saying, “This place is awesome,” over and over to the hubs. A gentleman with an accent walked out and greeted me. He immediately knew who I was and told me to help myself to the tea I’d won.
After grabbing the canister, I browsed in awe of all the beautiful canisters and the variety of tea the shop offers.
While perusing, I had spotted the beautiful cast iron tea sets he had in the store. I had been wanting one for quite awhile but wherever I’ve seen them, they’re always pricey. Well, not at Tea Gallerie. I fell in love with a green one embellished with dragonflies. It was, literally, over $100 less than what you’d see it for in stores like Teavana. It is now mine! Early Christmas present to myself. 😉
I also picked up a new green tea I’d never tried – Cherry Rose. Looking forward to brewing it this weekend!
When I got home, I decided to steep the Strawberry Fields and ice it to go with the crock pot whole chicken I’d made for dinner (hubs is on the night shift, so I sent him to base with a lot of food). After I had it iced, I decided what the heck, why not try it hot, too? So I did.
When I was sick, my mom would make me tea. When I go home, she still does. When I met the hubs, we talked for hours while I sipped tea. During my travels, when I can find it, I sip a tea with his namesake just to have him there with me in spirit a little more.
I once read that tea is like liquid wisdom. I would agree. It’s also liquid calm.
If you’re in the San Diego area, I encourage you to stop in. Tea Gallerie also has educational tasting events. Don’t be intimated if you’re a novice! Tea is for everyone! Attend, sip and learn.