LA Goodness & Little Next Door

As I write this, the sun is shining full-blast on a beautiful Vancouver morning. It seems I've done the impossible - pack some sun in my suitcase to Vancouver, even if just for a two days, the weather has been summer-like (i.e.: around 18c. I know, I know, this is ridiculous comparing to the heat wave of 32-34c that I experienced the beginning of the day I left Los Angeles - but in Vancouver terms, anything approaching room temperature is hot, and anything over 25c is sizzling hot!). But I was able to pack a couple other sunny things from California that got here fresher than the usual produce we get on the grocery counters in BC.

Just around the corner from Blunda on 3rd street there are several good places to shop and eat. One of them is the Little Next Door on 8164 W 3rd St Los Angeles, CA 90048, United States - (323) 951-1010 (Open Mon-Thu,Sun 6pm-10:30pm; Fri-Sat 6pm-11:30pm). Just across from it on the sidewalk grows an olive tree.

This is a French deli-café that concocts her own preserves, jams and fabulous desserts. The salad and breakfast menus are to die for. I came back with the Meyer Lemon Marmalade below (spiked with cinnamon, coriander and vanilla) which almost tastes like yuzu!

The couple of lemons right next to it are not Meyer lemons, but they are really special because they grew on the tree of my friend Taly. Contrary to public belief about smuggling fruit into Canada, since lemons cannot survive our weather, there is no problem bringing them in as they pose no agricultural threat to the Canadian crops. So all I needed to do was declare them. Just thought you might want to know in case you come from Hawaii and want to bring me fresh mangos and pineapples! ;-P

I also got this seemingly mouthwatering Earl Gray Tea flavoured dark chocolate for a mere $10 USD only to find out that it hardly tastes like Early Gray Tea AND it can be found for an even merer $7.25 or so (probably plus taxes) at Urban Fair. The conclusion: Dolphin Chocolate's Earl Gray chocolate squares are still the best. I can only wish that Urban Fair will bring them as they do exist!

This one does look quite impressive though, don't you think?

And last but not least - a dessert worth trying: a sandwich made of two strawberry macaroons with fresh halved strawberries in the middle and, of course, whipped cream!

London Fog

London Fog, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Maybe it's the fog that's been possessing the city for the past week or maybe it's something else - but I've been obsessed with London Fog tea and Earl Gray in general. London Fog is Earl Gray steeped in steam milk with a touch of vanilla extract - or more likely you will get the vanilla syrup in most coffee/tea shops.

Thinking about it, the London Fog fascination started last Sunday morning, when I was in Victoria visiting DJ and I *almost* ordered it as my morning breakfast. Instead, I ended up getting a smoothie and watching DJ enjoy his very first cup of it (he did share some with me of course). Later that day, we went for High Tea at the Empress Hotel (if you are ever in Victoria you should go there too!). The Earl Gray tea on it's own does not excite me much (except for Earl Gray Cream which has vanilla and I believe also some lavender in it), but there were Earl Gray shortbread cookies on the top tier. Mmm...

On the way home the next night, we stepped to the deck to try a vanilla flavoured cigar. It's not as burning as other tobaccos but I still think that it's better to passively smoke pipe tobacco than actually have the smoke linger in your mouth. It was very much like drinking a cup of tea that was steeped too long - acrid and burning but a little sweet too. The fog hugged the boat so tightly and was so thick it looked like a screen was hang in front of the deck. It was chilly.

Vancouver Fog, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I came back to Vancouver only to find that the whole city is fog-bound. We're practically living in a cloud for a week now with only glimpses of sun yesterday and today. Going for a walk on the Seawall on Saturday one could not see where the ocean ends and the sky begins. There was no horizon whatsoever. And so I've been indulging on London Fog teas as you can see (the on the laptop screen is from January 15th, and the “real” one is from today). Yesterday I found a particularly exciting chocolate at the new Urban Fair the just opened a block away from my place (phew, finally a grocery store that I can rely on - it opens daily at 6am!): Earl Gray flavoured dark chocolate by Dolfin from France. The surprise thing about it is not just the intensely Earl Gray flavour, but also the crunchy tea leaves inside. It’s a new favourite.

So how’s that all connected to perfume? I’m not sure yet. Should I try to make a Londong Fog perfume? Perhaps not. Perhaps I should keep sipping the tea and indulging since Gaucho has such a significant amounts of both bergamot and tea (not black but mate has the same acrid note in that context) I really shouldn't. But if I know myself at least a little, I probably won't be able to help myself.

Cedars & Fog, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.
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