23 January 2016

Hot Beverage Tour Beats a Bar Crawl

On Saturdays, hubby and me like to walk from our house through some of the more interesting neighborhoods in our community to a tasty downtown lunch. Then we walk back home, tracing our steps to the tune of about 7 miles. It’s a great way to see the people, do some impulse buying, and stretch our legs, and dine out, obviously.

Plus, I’m not a huge coffee drinker, so I’ve spent the last decade avoiding the half-cafs-double-shot-mocha-soy-latte-chino-extra-foam drinks. Instead I chug several cups of tea daily and the occasional morning steaming-cuppa-instant. Yes, my hubby is the café connoisseur in this family.

This frigid weekend we decided to hit as many cafes and tea joints on our walk to take a Hot Beverage Tour. I got to try many tasty treats and stay warm—and sober.

Decaf Espresso Latte: I believe that all hot beverages are a sensual experience, the flavors, the olfactory, the textural experience (yes, there is one) in the mugs, foams, everything. This black bitterness is topped with steamed milk that tickles the nose as it strains into the drink.

Miel Latte (and Caramel Napoleon): This hefty mug of (decaf) coffee is latte’d with whole steamed milk, and then drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. We sipped over these steaming mugs and creamy confectionery at a tiny French bistro (that is slowly redeeming itself in my view). The subtle sweetness and creamy goodness made the experience soft and feathery—as opposed to the sharpness of the espresso we had earlier.

Earl Grey Tea: I love this blend of fermented black tea leaves and Bergamot oil. It puts me in mind of: crisp autumn mornings, of train rides, of flurries, of wool scarves and those fingerless wool gloves that come with the cap that turns them into mittens in the blink of an eye.

My black tea looks lovely next to my sunglasses.

Decaf Espresso: Post-lunch, we grabbed another espresso and lingered over it while recapping the meal we just enjoyed. Instead of the steamed milk, we opted for a couple drops of half/half to calm the bitterness and also to extend the oral experience of the earthiness.

Lastly, Spiced Chai: To round off the day, we convened at home in the darkening evening over a couple cups of Chai tea—with a few extra sprinkles of cinnamon. We enjoy chai without milk or creamer, and unsweetened. In this guise the black tee comes through strongly and the spices are as pungent.

This last drink we had a home, just before we popped ourselves a pot of popcorn for dinner. Great, steaming Saturday.

We hit up Donna's, Marie Louise (on the way down), Brio, and Marie Louise (on the way back).