Sunday, April 25, 2010

Drink the Leaf Iced Tea at Top Napa Restaurant

I am proud to announce that my husband, the Tea Drinker, has landed his first restaurant account in the Napa Valley. Recently the Rutherford Grill made the decision to offer Drink the Leaf’s iced tea blend to their customers. Hip, hip, hooray! This buzz of a restaurant is a staple in the valley for tourists and locals, alike. Its located on the corner of HWY 29 and Rutherford Cross Road in the town of Rutherford: population 525. The Grill serves up delicious comfort food, such as barbeque pork ribs, rotisserie chicken, and jalapeno corn bread, to loads of hungry people, and probably doubles the town's population on any given day.

The General Manager, Don, is a smart man, and he is my hero. By offering Drink the Leaf, he has helped narrow the gap between my two passions: tea and wine. Most Fridays at 11:45am(when I am not traveling) you can find me at the Rutherford Grill bar enjoying a veggie burger with coleslaw or the Sashimi Ahi tuna salad along with a big glass of my favorite wine. Thankfully, now I can add Iced Tea to my lunch diet! What a sigh of relief.

Drink tea.Drink wine. Eat well.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Loose Leaf Tea spotted in Wine Country

Wine, oysters, sausages, lamb chops, bacon, salumi, cheese, bread and loose leaf tea equals happiness. Yesterday, loads of cheerful hungry and thirsty people descended upon the small town of Forestville, CA. They were there to sample the delicious wines of Wind Gap winery accompanied by tasty treats from local purveyors, including yours truly, Drink the Leaf. Our dear friends, Pam and Pax Mahle, who own and operate Wind Gap, invited the Tea Drinker to participate in their Spring Awakening release event(Pam and Pax are also the cool cats that invited us to the Pat Benatar concert last summer). Their winery is located in a quaint building with lots of character, just one street off the main drag. Forestville is a storybook town – it has one gas station, a bar, a bakery, a post office, a couple of restaurants, a stream of bicyclists, and a winery. What more do you need in life?

The Spring Awakening was a huge success. Wind Gap hosted a “farmer’s market style” event bringing together like-minded folks offering high quality products. I personally thought it was a brilliant idea, taking a traditional wine tasting and turning it into something more interesting, and rewarding. It’s a win-win situation to invite your customers to learn more about other local businesses; it certainly adds extra value. As a consumer who enjoys buying and supporting local companies, I was thrilled that the Tea Drinker was invited to join the festivities. It was a wonderful sight to watch a hundred or so people swirling, sipping, snacking and mingling.

Fully charged with a cup of brew in my system , I was ready to tackle the day. Here are a few highlights:

• Oysters from Hog Island Farms paired with 2009 Trousseau Gris, Russian River Valley, a delightful bright white wine that is bone dry with loads of flavor. “Ripe peaches dipped in honey”, as described on their website, by winemaker, Pax. Slurp. Slurp. Trousseau Gris is a mutation of the red grape, Trousseau originated in the Jura region of France.

• The 2008 Chardonnay, “Yuen”, a lovely wine that is a blend of two touted central coast vineyards, James Berry and Brosseau. “Yuen” is the Chinese word meaning “a connection that was meant to be”. I definitely have some Yuen for this wine. Run, don’t walk. Don't forget to plan ahead and have the rich, buttery Fiscalini Farmstead Cheddar on hand. And, maybe you could beg Forestville's own Nightingale Breads to ship you one of their freshly baked loaves. Their multi-grain is the best I have ever had.

• Bacon and wine is a marriage made in heaven. That’s what I am told, anyways. My girlfriend definitely seemed to be enjoying the bacon from Black Pig Meat Company, while we sipped on the 2007 Syrah, Griffin's Lair, from Sonoma Coast.

All in all, it was a wonderful day spent with new and old friends. The Tea Drinker worked hard, but he was content pouring his favorite teas for the Wind Gap customers. Also, I kept him supplied him with lamb chops right off the grill. I ended my wine tasting day with a tall glass of refreshing (hydrating) Iced Citrus Rooibos. Just another day in the life of the Tea Drinker and his silly wine-drinking wife... tootles, ta-ta, until next time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sweet Dreams Tokyo!

Most of my free time is spent planning our upcoming summer vacation to Japan. It’s the last thought in my head as I drift off to sleep, and the first thing I think about when I wake up. Just this week, I announced to the Tea Drinker, “You will never believe the dream I had last night!”. He yawned, “Let me guess, was it about Japan?" As I dragged myself to the shower I explained, "I know, I know, here I go again. But in last night’s dream we were at the finale of American Idol, in Tokyo! We had front row seats--how cool is that?" The Tea Drinker sighed (and I think he was rolling his eyes, but I was heading to the bathroom). “And," I continued with a touch of petulance, "Simon winked at me.” The Tea Drinker’s response: “How about we cut back on your caffeine and laptop intake?”

I love planning and I love to travel. This trip will bring all the best elements together: an exotic, faraway place; amazing cuisine; tasty libations; world-renowned tea regions; culture; and rich history. Each night I arm myself with The Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness and my laptop. I am the ultimate hot date. I've learned so much about Japan by reading various travel blogs (beginning with how to navigate Narita Airport) and cruising my favorite travel portal:, which has provided me with a wealth of scintillating information (such as how to use the loo). I can’t imagine planning our itinerary without the use of these tools. I am officially my own travel agent. Two years ago, I spent hours and hours poring over Trip Advisor, planning our excursion to China. I found our oasis getaway in the Hangzhou tea region by reading someone else’s travel blog. There is so much information to be had, and I am ready to tap into it. Whether you are traveling to Los Angeles or Laos, you will not be disappointed if you utilize the Internet, and the power and vibrancy of someone else’s personal account.

In June we will be heading to Japan for twelve days. I have read over and over that that the early summer months mark the rainy season and that it will be hot and humid. Sounds like perfect traveling conditions to me. This is where Japanese beer will come into the picture. Rain or shine, we'll have loads of fun and a rich and rewarding experience. As of my last sign off from the Internet, our itinerary is as follows: Tokyo, Hakone, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Uji, Hiroshima, Miyajima, and then back to Tokyo before we head home. Many cultural sites are on the agenda; countless noodle and sushi restaurants are staked out; and we'll enjoy two separate field trips to Japan’s most well-known tea regions (featuring gyokuro and sencha). All will be accomplished with various train rides in between. If you have been to Japan or know someone who has, feel free to pipe in and leave a comment on this blog. We would love to hear your recommendations or suggestions on the “must see, must do, must eat, must drink” features of this fabulous and intriguing country.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

We wish you a fun-filled time with family and friends on this Easter holiday.

We are snuggled up by our fireplace enjoying this day of rest and new beginnings. The kettle is on as we eagerly anticipate slurping down copious amounts of loose leaf tea. Oh, and there may be a Vintage Sweet Shoppe chocolate bunny or two awaiting our introduction.

Peace, love and happiness…

Tea Drinker & Wife of Tea Drinker