Saturday, March 17, 2018

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with tea from the Emerald Isle to the Florida Keys

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Key Lime GREEN tea

Although green beer and Irish whiskey may be the  traditional  libations for St. Patrick's Day, there's certainly room for celebrating with tea considering Ireland is rated as the third highest tea-drinking country in the world according to the World Atlas.

Our visit to Ireland in 2012, every day there was a rainbow and a great cup of tea

While it's true that I never a bad cup of tea in Ireland when I visited in 2012, one does not  have to cross the entire ocean to get a tasty brew. In fact, you can find a delightful Key Lime green tea in Key West. the southernmost city of Florida.

Key Lime tea from Oliver Pluff tea company

My daughter. Rachel, recently returned  from a western Caribbean cruise where one of the day excursions was a stop at Key West.  Good person that she is, wherever she travels, Rachel  always brings her Mom back tea from her visits.

The packaging of the Key Lime tea looked familiar and upon further inspection, I could see that this tea came from the Oliver Pluff tea company of South Carolina. I had purchased  several of their delightful teas when we were visiting that beatiful state two years ago.

Oliver Pluff teas were among my South Carolina tea booty in 2015

The Key Lime tea is really, really good, even though it may not taste very key-limey.  It's a loose tea and made from green Pekoe tea, cornflowers and key lime flavoring. It smells divine and the aroma is where you pick up more of the citrus notes. Drinking it, I found it to be a flavorful cup of smooth green tea with hints of vanilla, giving it a light creamy taste.  I give it five out of five shamrocks!

Stopped in for Irish Breakfast Tea at Bewley's in Dublin

So, whether you celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a cup of Irish Breakfast tea at Bewley's Coffee and Tea Shop in Dublin or Key Lime green tea in your kitchen, raise your tea cup to the day we're all Irish - and not much blarney required to convince us all of that!

Kissing the blarney stone
Blarney Castle

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Barb's O'Tea Shoppe!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

After a train show, where do you have tea? Visit No.VI in Novi, train stop or not

Hogwarts Express  "9 3/4" , not the only fabled train stop

My husband is a model train enthusiast, so last month, when a train show came to town, he was eager to attend. Taking place at the Suburban Collection Showcase in Novi, Chris asked if I would be at all interested in joining him.  Knowing No.VI, a coffee and tea shop I had been wanting to visit was nearby, I was on board.  Why not combine to two special interests of one household into a fun afternoon excursion? And, from local legend, I'd heard that the city Novi got its name from being the sixth stop (No. VI) along the stretch of railroad that ran through the western side of the state. What a great tie-in!

We'll be back at No.VI Coffee & Tea to try those scrumptious looking baked goods

Although the derivation of the city's name is a fun story, I have since found out, it's more folklore than fact.  According to the City of Novi's history page, there are nine theories of how Novi got it's name, from the reasonable, (it was the sixth township in Oakland County), to the ridiculous, (a well-known blacksmith/preacher who continually denied his wife Vivian's "spending suggestions", thus the oft heard, "No, Vi").

Nevertheless, after the train show -  which was pretty amazing, filled with a variety of elaborately set train tracks criss-crossing detailed tiny towns and rural settings, including a scaled model of Hogwarts Express and, like No.Vi,  the  other  fabled train station stop, 9 3/4 - we headed out for coffee and tea, just down the road.

Train stop or not, No.VI Coffee and Tea is a great place to visit

On a busy Sunday afternoon at No.VI Coffee and Tea, there was not a seat to be found. It's a good-sized tea room with a cozy vibe, featuring two fireplaces and lots of comfy chairs. Chris had a coffee and I, had an Earl Grey. They serve Harney teas, however, the courteous barista told me that that is going to change soon. So, stay tuned!

I'm planning to go back, perhaps on a weekday, when it's not quite so busy, and try some of the baked goods  that looked so scrumptious  and see what new tea they will be serving.

All aboard for the next adventure, and that's no myth!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Pot hole ice cream: Take the rocky road to Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream!

Pair a cup of warm tea with your frozen pot hole treat

 'Tis the season in Michigan for massive snow melts and caution on the road.  The warmer temperatures bring out not only sunglass-wearing natives in droves, but an expanse of newly created dips and ditches along the Detroit Metro highways. While most pot holes are hazardous and to be avoided at all costs, there's one that is sinfully delicious and happily served up at Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream in Franklin.

Enjoying a cup of pot hole on the main level of the Farmhouse

After reading about this marvel in Tuesday's Free Press (Pot holes got you down?), I knew it was time for another visit to the Farmhouse for tea and treats.

A delicious pot hole you can sink your teeth into!

The label for Michigan Pot Hole boasts that this confection is comprised of  "thick black tar fudge, in chocolate ice cream, with chunky chocolate cookie asphalt pieces".

Ambiance is warm and cozy, main level, upstairs or outside

This is seriously good ice cream.  While it may hit your diet as hard as its namesake will wallop your tire rim, it is worth every rich and decadent calorie and a lot less expensive. In fact, the Farmhouse currently has a promotion running through the end of this month that will bring the price down even further. If you bring in a receipt of any car damage caused by a pot hole from February 1st of this year through March 25th, the Farmhouse will give you a scoop of Michigan Pot Hole for free.

Pot holes and tea (and there's no wrong way to do so, that's only for queuing up_ 

We paired our Pot Hole ice cream with a cup of Harney's Earl Grey. 

Farmhouse ambiance and service is warm and cheery

Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream is located in downtown Franklin, on Franklin Road, just south of the Cider Mill. The ambiance and service is as warm and cheery as a cup of freshly brewed tea.  It's a cozy venue with comfy seating available on the first floor, the upstairs loft, or - on a 60 plus degree day in February - the outside deck.

Whether you experience a real pot hole or are lucky enough to survive the rocky roads of metro Detroit, treat yourself to a heaping serving of  Michigan Pot Hole ice cream at Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream.

'Tis the season for warmer temps and pot holes on Michigan roads

For more information on Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream, visit their website or check them out on Facebook:  Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream.