Monday, February 28, 2011

A Feast for the Eyes!

Top Right, Chicken Mole. Mole sauce is a traditional combination of cinnamon, chocolate, and chiles to create the delicious taste sensation of sweet and spicy. Indeed it was.
All very colorful with beautiful presentation, very tasty also and too many choices.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Day with the Dolphins

One of our day trip excursions included a journey to Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Mexico, to Dolphin Discovery for a day of fun. Here, we were entertained by sea life, with pelicans flying above and manatees swimming below. After feeding the manatee her vegetarian diet of lettuce, we enjoyed salty kisses from her broad whiskered face. Playing with the sea lion, we laughed when she stuck her tongue out at us. In addition to a fun hug, we received fishy kisses from the sea lion. But the thrill of the day involved playing with the dolphins.
The dorsal tow,demonstrated the great strength and speed of these marine mammals.Many opportunities to interact, touch, and play with 'Noel' and 'Fatima' were enjoyed by our clan. The foot push was exhilarating as both dolphins pushed the bottom of your feet through the water at super speed. The day ended with a relaxing ferry ride to Cancun. Beautiful blue skies, astounding blue water, and fantastic memories filled the day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Afternoon Tea ~ Mexico

Prior to our vacation, we tried for weeks and weeks to locate a tea room in Cancun or the Yucatan Peninsula region, but to no avail. At best, some of the resorts advertised Afternoon Tea, but we weren't sure what they might include, and since we have experienced hotel teas previously, we didn't want to necessarily take an afternoon to visit another hotel. So, we simply gave up on the idea of experiencing Afternoon Tea in Mexico, and opted for a visit to Tea on the Tiber as a prelude to our Mexican journey. When we arrived at our resort, we were indeed treated to what might be considered an Afternoon Tea, buffet style. As registration was taking place, we were offered this beautiful array of tea time tidbits.
I can personally attest that they were all very yummy!
From finger sandwiches, to stuffed cherry tomatoes, to a beautiful bowl full of Mexican salsa, we enjoyed a savory repast as our first introduction to the bounty that would be shared with us during our stay.
The petite desserts amazed me, crafted by an obviously quite talented pastry chef. Truffles, the tiniest little cream filled swans with chocolate heads, and fabulous candies. Although our treats were accompanied by a glass of champagne instead of tea, this was an acceptable Afternoon Tea in my book, one to remember.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teacup Thursday

We're sharing Teacup Thursday today with Miss Spenser and others. In the middle parlor of the tea room is a shelf unit specifically meant to display tea cups. It features an array of mixed floral cups, golden, white, and black ones and one sea shell shaped tea cup. Can you find it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bountiful Breakfast Buffet

We recently enjoyed some vacation time in Cancun, Mexico at an all-inclusive resort (12 of us in all, from the Brill family side). As I was making my breakfast selection on the first morning, these beautifully carved watermelons caught my eye.
Adding height and design to the breakfast buffet, it was fun to admire the artistry required to create these carvings. It wasn't until I saw the sprigs of rosemary poking out of this last watermelon that I realized I needed to take pictures of these fun creations.Once the pictures were taken, it was time to decide what I should put on my plate, no easy feat there either. Fortunately, everything was well labeled in Spanish and English.This Brazo Reyna was interesting, unusual, pretty, and tasty.There was a wide variety of breakfast foods, something for everyone, including omelets, waffles, fruits and more. One morning, I enjoyed a glass of Watermelon Juice with Hibiscus which was such a pretty rosy color with a predominant watermelon flavor. Alas, I regret I didn't try the Green Drink with a parsley base. Too many choices and not enough time to take photographs of everything!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hidden 'Tea'-light

Once again, the snows have hit central PA and have blanketed the region with a layer of soft fluffy snow.Our dear friend Sharon of Waynesboro, PA, shared these wintry photos, taken in her backyard. The top photo is labeled, now you see it now you don't. After vigorously shaking the snow laden holly tree, causing the snow to fall to the ground and pulling back a branch or two, her second photo reveals this secret tea room nook. When the weather is nicer, Sharon enjoys taking tea under the holly tree and describes it as being a truly magical feeling. But today, we'll enjoy a steaming pot of black tea and perhaps some toasty crumpets inside as Sharon labels this picture tea room closed due to snow. Sharon, thanks for sharing this little corner of your yard with our readers. Sharon says: I just can't wait for Spring, I bet you can't either.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tea on the Tiber

After a short journey south to Ellicott City, Maryland, we arrived at Tea on the Tiber for a delightful afternoon tea.This Victorian tea room is located in historic Ellicott City, a quaint community of unique shops. Allow plenty of time for tea and shopping. What a perfect combination!
Our group was seated in the private library, where we enjoyed a variety of teas. Angelica selected a chocolate mint, Cedar tried the 'Latte da' hot spiced chai, while Darjeeling was also popular at our table. A tasty Butternut squash and apple soup was beautifully garnished with sour cream and chives.The fabulous three tiered tray featured a colorful array of tea time treats. Raisin scones with English cream and jelly and fresh fruit completed the bottom tier. The middle tier held tea sandwiches: a cucumber sandwich, their signature tomato sandwich, an open faced salmon sandwich, and a heart shaped sandwich. Desserts included pecan tartlets, shortbread, and a frosted layered chocolate cake.
These beautiful tea party delights were savored and enjoyed by all. Cedar's favorite? A slice of plain white bread. And the sugar cubes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teacup Thursday

Sharing Tea Cup Thursday with Miss Spenser and friends today. This fun collection of tea cups and tea pots and tea strainers is on display in a corner shelf of the tea room. The tea cup in the lower left corner is my souvenir from a past trip to England. It is a tea cup from The Royal Collection, purchased at St. James's Palace in London. It was created 'To celebrate the 80th Birthday of H.M.Queen Elizabeth II, 21st April 2006'. The card that is included in the box states: Your purchase contributes to the cost of conserving and displaying the Royal Collection for the benefit of the public. The Royal Collection is one of the finest art collections in the world reflecting the personal tastes of British sovereigns over the last 500 years. The works of art are owned by The Queen as Sovereign in trust for Her successors and the nation, and the collection is administered by a charity, the Royal Collection Trust. I'm happy to have it among my collection!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mid-Winter Break!

Our bags are packed.... and off we go!
Headed to Cancun, Mexico! Afternoon Tea is on the agenda along with horse back riding, snorkeling, and cave exploring. Mayan ruins and Margaritas too. See you soon!

(note: photo originally taken on the Kilimanjaro Safari, Walt Disney World, FL)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing our family and friends a very Happy Valentine's Day!
Here's a festive tea tray to celebrate the day. An assortment of sandwiches include Almond Chicken Salad in pastry shells, a heart shaped sandwich filled with a herbed vegetable filling, chocolate date nut bread with raspberry filling, and strawberry bruschetta with a honey cream and strawberry glaze. Enjoy!
A warm assortment of oven fresh scones, heart shaped to be sure.
And a top tier with delectable desserts. Chocolate covered cherry nut candies; white chocolate dipped chocolate shortbread hearts, and petite carrot cake muffin topped with heart shaped decorative candies. Oh, enjoy!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hearts Galore!

Gearing up for a heart filled celebration tomorrow by decorating with colorful heart shaped boxes, festive streamers, and a vintage hankie. Tucking hearts and red into desserts is a simple way to quietly let your loved ones know you thought about them in an extra special way. A little dessert plate for two... may I serve you a raspberry tartlet or perhaps a chocolate drizzled cookie?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thinking Hearts

Here's a quick and easy way to let friends and family members know you are wishing them a Happy Valentine's Day, or simply to let them know you love them. Any open faced sandwich will do. Shown here is an almond chicken salad in pastry shells. Simply add a few heart shaped decorative sprinkles on top of each sandwich. A word of caution though, don't add the hearts until just before serving as they have a tendency to pick up moisture from the filling and will begin to melt. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teacup Thursday

This little collection hangs in the powder room of the tea room.The 'Old Royal, Bone China, England' tea cup, with petite pink roses, rosebuds, and mossy green leaves is decorated for Valentines Day with a vintage hankie.I once attended an Afternoon Tea at a local tea room, (sadly now closed) where the napkins were delicate hankies tucked into the handle such as is shown here. It was a different take, not only for the use of the hankie, but for the location of the napkin. It was a clever, fun and unique idea.

Visit Miss Spenser's Blog to discover other blogs participating in Teacup Thursday.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Cloak of Winter

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light,
and a bud straining to unfurl.
And the anticipation nurtures our dreams. ~ Barbara Winkler