In 2012 I did a post on tea, in particular my long standing favourite, Earl Grey. To do research for the post, I had written to a number of tea companies and got generous samples of their teas to try. One of these, David’s Tea, I remember well because their samples were generous and introduced me to varieties of Earl Grey I had never heard of before.
At the time however, I was quite overwhelmed with all the tea that was given to me, and didn’t want to play favourites with one company over another, because all the tea was good.
I’ve always been a lover of tea, and just the other day after a particularly warming cup, declared to Michael that “Tea makes me feel good – it’s sort of like a nice warming of the tummy, followed by the all-over warm-fuzzies you feel after watching pandas go down a slide, followed by the feeling you have been hugged nicely by someone you love”. I further declared that “Coffee does not make me feel this way. Coffee makes me feel obligated to run through the apartment, and start projects like dusting, vacuuming, organizing cupboards, making a macrame plant hangar, and bake a cake designed to look like a princess from the Disney film, Frozen…..all at the same time”.
Michael blinked at me with the patience that he has, so I continued with my observation.
“Then I will realize after emptying our storage cupboard to look for vacuum bags, a fresh Swiffer duster, macrame boards, flour, and Frost princess cake molds that we don’t have these items! I will try to calm my nerves by sucking back another mug of coffee, but of course it doesn’t work! The anxiety and despair I feel for being so behind in my projects has risen to a level that any rational thought has no room to be considered and my mind is already jumping in the car and racing through rush hour traffic to get cleaning supplies from Wal-Mart on one end of the city, macrame boards from Michael’s Craft Store on the other, and then try desperately not to terrify a child in Safeway as I shout at them to quickly describe what a Frost princess looks like while I pick up flour that I forgot to get at Wal-Mart, along with the Frost princess mold at Michael’s Craft Store. At this point, I would be prepared to bake a sponge cake and whittle a Frost princess from it.”
While telling this story to Michael, he gently yawns and stretches like a cat that just woke from nap, and strokes my back in a soothing way while my pupils dilate, un-dilate, dilate, and my chest heaves from the heart palpitations.
I drink two, maybe threeorfourorfive, cups of coffee a day, but thought I should try to drink nothing but tea.
Day 1 of my new exclusive tea drinking went well. No headaches. A peaceful calm came over me. I didn’t feel I had to rush to do anything. I felt peace. Glorious peaceful peace. But peace doesn’t mean content with one’s tea supply. Suddenly my world of Earl Grey seemed awfully small, so with my new relaxed state of mind, took a relaxed lunch break at work and wandered over to Edmonton City Centre to check out the teas at David’s Tea.
I came home with assortments of oolong, blacks, greens and herbal. I attempted to discuss pu-erh tea with the person behind the counter, but when I said, “Oh, you have a lot of poo-air” the person looked just a little horrified. I abandoned further discussion on that type of tea.
I will not bore you with describing all the teas I got because tea is such an individual thing. Michael drinks regular Tetley, day in and day out. This has been going on for decades. I need to change things up every now and then, and David’s Tea allows that to happen. What I particularly like about them is the ability to buy very small amounts just to try. I have always turned my nose up at fruit infused tea, but came home with a few samples that have change my mind.
After two full days of tea only, I did feel far more relaxed, and had no headaches. On Day 3, I made the mistake of picking up a bag of Transcend Coffee beans I had purchased last week, and squished the bag. The scent of fresh, delicious coffee wafted out, and realized right then, that I could never give up coffee entirely. I am trying now to have just one maybetwo coffees a day, and fill in the rest with tea. Everything in moderation as they say.
Good things take time. And Cally’s Teas promises to be an exciting addition on Whyte Avenue. Cally explained some of her plans, and although I don’t feel at liberty to share the details, let’s just say WE WILL HAVE A NEW PLACE TO HAVE LUNCH that supports local! Three cheers for independents. Three cheers for women in business. Three cheers for Cally!
It’s taking a wee bit more time to get things done just right. Cally explains she has excellent contractors, but “stuff” happens. And as anyone who is involved in construction and the food biz knows, it is a rare thing to have something completed on time.
So, tea lovers, if you are like me, and just brewed your last few leaves of Earl Grey, you can still reach Cally for tea purchase and delivery by calling (780) 278-3294.
You see, up until today I had been rationing my Cally’s Earl Grey – so desperate was I to replenish my supply, I resorted to buying a box of Twinings from Safeway to stretch it out.For those of you who don’t know, Cally’s is in transition. Her shop on 99th has closed, and she is moving to her New and Exciting Location on Whyte Ave. But she’s not open quite yet. Watch this blog for news of the opening.
Twinings has a Royal Warrant, meaning it’s approved by the Queen. What they didn’t write on that Royal Warrant, that it is “by appointment of the Queen, but only while waiting for a supply from Cally’s”. Don’t get me wrong. Twinings make a nice cuppa. But it ain’t no Cally’s.
(LOL – I sat and waited. Seriously. Did a little chair dance to Mr. Scruff’s Get A Move On).
We’re back? Here’s the song, just in case you want to join in on the chair dance.
Let’s talk about the Muttart Conservatory. My friend, an Edmontonian, a well-traveled Edmontonian at that, hasn’t been to the Conservatory for about 20 years. I’m fairly new to Edmonton, so have been two or three times in the last 10 years. But the consensus is the same, the pyramids themselves haven’t changed that much. However, the central part of the building has.
I was expecting to see Culina in the centre of the complex much like where the old coffee shop was. I was pleased to see it just off the main entrance, making it a foodie destination for anyone, even those who don’t want to look at plants. A person could easily stop in and have a nice bacon, gouda and egg panini with nary a view of a hibiscus or Elephant’s Foot plant.
I was also charmed by the little gift store, opposite the restaurant. But the main attraction was what was found in the Culina restaurant. On a shelf, in a beam of light, I might have heard a harp, were little bags of Cally’s Teas. Of course the Earl Grey was there, but there were a select few other varieties as well. In addition, there were a few jars of jam from the Jam Lady, and other bits and pieces from local producers. So, for those of you who are looking for Christmas gift ideas for the Foodie in your life, and you can’t make a farmer’s market on Saturday, take off during your lunch and head down to the Muttart Conservatory and pick up a few things from there.
Once in the Muttart Conservatory, I was excited to see the much talked about blue pointsettia. A pointsettia. That’s blue!
They had an absolutely lovely display of poinsettias for sale. They had many of the traditional red, white, and pink varieties, along with some brilliant variegated white-reds that were stunning. Also found was a very impressive variegated purple-white pointsettia, but these were not for sale to the public, but found within the “feature” pyramid. I was with a friend who has a very dominate moral compass, so I couldn’t tuck one of the plants in my coat to take home with me. I wasn’t even allowed to pinch a coffee bean off the coffee plant. I resisted the theft, although I have to add, it is part of my genetic make up to steal from conservatories. My Baba snitched cuttings from the tropical conservatory at the Calgary Zoo and happily grew them in her home for many years. True story.
After a seemingly quick visit to the Muttart, it was time to find lunch. The plan was Mediterranian, and I had the idea to check out the new Greek restaurant on Whyte Ave near 109th Street. We found they didn’t open until 5, and my friend was quickly slipping into North American starvation -meaning, his mood was on the cusp of the slippery slope of grumpiness. So we went to our back-up location of The King and I.
We both agreed that Thai is in our Top 10 favourite food items, and I wonder why on earth I don’t eat this stuff every day. The flavours are amazing.
We started with a chicken – peanut satay, that was out of this world delicious. I’m sure that either one of us, if we were alone, would have licked the plate and/or used the little spoon in the satay sauce to consume the rest of the sauce as a soup.
This was followed by, for him, Matsaman Nuea – spicy red curry laced with cumin and peanuts, stewed with tender beef and potatoes. For me, the lady, the delicate flower of a lady that I am, I had the tiger prawn curry – tiger prawns served with fresh, sauteed vegetables served in a spicy green curry. Both were served with coconut rice.
And that sprig of black in the middle you see? See? That is pepper my friends. Pepper. Pepper I usually put in my peppermill. Hot. Pepper. My dining partner ate through that and didn’t even break a sweat. Me, the delicate flower of a woman that I am choked on the heat. Of course I hoped my cough and sputtering would have been interpreted as having had tickle in my throat, but the truth is, I couldn’t handle the heat.
But all that green curry you see, with my tiger shrimp swimming happily, is a bowlful of delicious happiness. I’ve not been so happy eating out in ages. As I said, I wonder why I don’t eat this every day.
Our day concluded with a nice cup of tea. And that, my dear readers, is the best way to end any day. With a nice cuppa tea.
Unless of course, you opened a bottle of red wine and got engaged writing a blog and listening to some awesome music, and drank too much wine, and do a lot of chair dancing and wear yourself out to the point you can’t wait to get into bed, a bed you have ALL TO YOURSELF, so you can have one of those nights where you can sprawl, toss, turn and snore to your hearts content without worrying about disturbing your partner. Don’t get me wrong. I miss my bedwarmer with all my heart and soul. But sometimes a night of not worrying if my elbow hits a face is a treat. A treat indeed.
… are there royal warrants for blogs? I am a fan of the Queen’s son’s Duchy Originals Cheese Nibbles. That should count for something. 😉
But before you shed any tears, Cally will still be in business!! Her exact location will remain a mystery for a spell, however, she will be available for tea orders until she finds somewhere to weigh anchor. I will post details here closer to May 1.
Today I stopped in after work to stock up on my Earl Grey Tea. Refer to my post Cally’s Teas Celebrates Earl Grey’s Birthday to learn more of Earl Grey. If you click this link you will also see a picture of the beautiful Rose-Eva who has been the source of today’s information, and my reliable and pleasant tea merchant whom I love to spend time and chatter with while sipping my tea and perusing the glorious treasures in the store. Sadly for us, the end of April also marks the new beginning of exciting things for our Rose-Eva, and of course, I wish her all the very best of what’s to come her way (and silently hopes she remembers me when she’s in Italy and takes a picture of a vineyard or some lovely food for me).
In the meantime, please stop by this unique little shop. Right now, all things that aren’t tea leaves are 15% off. As we get closer to the end of the month, the discount increases. But don’t wait! If you want that perfect tea pot, go now before it’s scooped up. Just keep your hands off the lovely brown Betty with removable strainer in the window next to the Elephant tea pot. It’s mine. 🙂
The title of this blog is a punctuation fanatic’s nightmare. Even owning the book and day-per-page tear off calendar of Eats Shoots and Leaves, I’m still never quite sure if I’m applying apostrophes correctly.
It’s a big day in the land of tea lovers, and especially those of us who are dedicated lovers of Earl Grey tea!! HOORAY FOR TEA!!! HOORAY FOR EARL GREY!!! And HOOTS AND HOLLERS OF JOY for Cally:
As I sit here and enjoy my steamy mug of Earl Grey, I must pay homage to Cally’s Teas. Cally’s is just a block from where I live (at the moment, Cally expects she will be moving this year – stay tuned), and is a delightful treasure trove of tea and tea things:
There are also yummy edibles, such as Duchy Originals. I like to think Prince Charles has a hand in making each batch of biscuits, but I’m sure he is too busy running about with Camila and then stopping to have tea and biscuits on a plaid wool blanket, sitting on a hill with a sweeping vista of the Yorkshire Dales, instead of baking my biscuits. Regardless, this man is involved and makes a delicious product that also supports his charities. I’m a big fan of the Cheese Nibble, which is a savoury biscuit, but today we discovered the Toffee Biscuits Dipped in Milk Chocolate. I’d post a picture, but then you’d know what to look for, thus buying my supply. I can’t allow this to happen.
There are other non-tea things at Cally’s, and these are charming, whimsical and fun to find, like this Miso Pretty soap. Adorable!
To celebrate Earl Grey’s birthday today, Cally’s shop had tasty cucumber sandwiches and lovely shortbread cookies, cut in the shape of tea pots, flavoured with Earl Grey Tea. They were delicious.
When visiting Cally’s do yourself a favour, and go when you have the time to stop and chit-chat. Cally and her staff are social and friendly, will serve you a piping hot cup of tea, and your purchases are always wrapped (without needing to ask) in pretty, seasonally appropriate coloured tissue and bags, which recycle beautifully when gift giving.