Monday, October 24, 2011

Tea Time at Pike Place: Seattle WA

I love my hairdresser.

And not just for his masterful cut and color – but for his spot-on travel trips. His name is Marciano, and he’s a very sophisticated fellow, originally from Paraguay. (Prior to doing hair, he worked for the United Nations.)

During a recent visit to his home, I admired a painting his partner had done. He explained it depicted a package of Yerba Mate tea from Paraguay. Coincidently, my Seattle-based friend had just introduced me to Yerba Mate. I must say … I found it to be somewhat “experiential”, if you know what I mean. Sort of like the mescal of the tea family.

I shared my findings with Marciano, and he agreed. (And he’s been drinking it all his life!) He also told me if I was interested in authentic Yerba Mate, that I needed to check out El Mercado Latino located in Pike Place Market. It is here you can find Pajarito, the brand with the bird, direct from Paraguay.

So a couple of weeks ago when I was up in Seattle, my Yerba Mate-drinking buddy and I ambled around Pike Place Market and finally found El Mercado Latino. We were both impressed at the selection of Yerba Mate from all over South America. Plus, the store was stocked with loads of other good things including a variety of hot sauces, vibrant dried chiles and exotic candies.

Feeling generous, I treated my friend to a small package of Pajarito. (Apparently it's less expensive than what she’s been was buying, so she was happy to find a new source.) After sampling the brew when we returned home, she agreed that it had quite the kick.

Once again, my hairdresser had steered me right. This time to the little bird that packs a punch.

El Mercado Latino
1514 Pike Place (at Post Alley)
Seattle, WA 98101

Friday, October 7, 2011

Salt and Chocolate, A Dynamic Duo:
Portland OR

Is salt this year’s chocolate? Or, vice-versa?

I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. And anyway, salt and chocolate are both always in style. And they seem to like to hang out together – not just at The Meadow, but also at Ruby Jewel, the very Portlandy, artisanal ice cream shop (which, by the way, is conveniently located next door to The Meadow on Mississippi Avenue).

All of Ruby Jewel’s flavors are fabulous, and sometimes down-right sophisticated (like the Lemon Cookie and Honey Lavender ice cream sandwich).

Oh but then...there's the Caramel with Salted Dark Chocolate. Wow! This flavor really takes sweet n’ salty to new heights. Hefty chunks of salted caramel are embedded throughout dreamy dark (but not bitter) chocolate ice cream. I highly recommend you enjoy this flavor in a freshly pressed waffle cone (also made on the premises). It’s the perfect crunchy delivery vehicle for this particular flavor. Don’t deny yourself this part of the experience, please!

Plain and simple, Ruby Jewel ice cream is a great dessert.

It’s great for dinner, too, if you catch my drift.

Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop
3713 North Mississippi Avenue,
Portland, OR 97227