And you probably didn't even miss me! I went to the big city for a few days on what was basically a free trip - hotel and transportation were paid for so all I had to pay for were a few cheap meals and my shopping - and I shopped plenty!
I went on my first trip to Pete's Fruitique - I want to live there. Imagine the best produce market surrounded by shelves of gourmet and international foods - heaven to a person who lives in an area populated with basic no-frills grocery stores. Of course, I spent a bundle. Tins of British McVities biscuits and Cadbury Roses for Christmas, along with a Neideregger marzipan pig and a bar of Fry's Orange Cream chocolate. I also bought lemon puff cookies, orange Scottish shortbreads, a loaf of the tastiest Hungarian bread (almost a sourdough type of bread), triple chocolate cookies, a wedge of some Nova Scotia gouda cheese, which is incredible and hasn't a hope of making it to Christmas, let alone Friday of this week. I also bought pounds of fresh pistachios and Chinese pears. And yes, I also bought some tea.
It's not often I'm impressed with a grocery store's tea lineup but a whole aisle devoted to teas that I have only read about is a good starting point. I could have spent hundreds here but I stopped myself at two.
I bought a green tea from Twinnings that's flavored with grapefruit and pineapple - I'm really looking forward to trying that! I also bought an organic Earl Grey from a British company called Clipper Teas, which looks intriguing. I should have bought a pile more but I had only so much money with me although I'm really regretting not getting the Twinnings Winter Spice tea, which is a spicey herbal tea.
Once I got out of Pete's, I hit Starbucks several times. I had planned to buy a box of their Tazo Joy tea but decided at the last moment to try a cup first. Good plan! It's suppose to be a blend of black and oolong teas and for some reason, I assumed it would have some spice in it since it's a holiday tea but it was actually quite bland. OK for an everyday tea but nothing special.
Another day, I tried their eggnog lattes - again, it was OK but nothing special. More bland than creamy. Tonight I made one that was even better. Just pour about half a cup of storebought eggnog in your cup and top off with strong coffee - yum! And much cheaper. However, I also tried one of Starbuck's Peppermint Mochas - now that was heavenly! Just the right amount of everything. I'd definitely buy that again. I did pick up a half pound of their decaf Christmas blend and a bottle of vanilla syrups so I can make my Earl Grey lattes.
I also went to a wonderful new teahouse, opened by a lady from Thailand. I hope she does well - service was impeccable and there's a lot of effort being put forth here. I had a pot of milk oolong, which was interesting. It tasted almost like buttered popcorn - which I like but I'm not sure if it works in a tea. I bought a tin of Russian Earl Grey and when I get to the big city again, I'll visit this place for sure.