tea

Arriving in Nashville & Heading Straight to CREMA

BY CAILIN BURKE

A few months back we went on a six day visit to Nashville, Tennessee for a girl’s trip! We had always wanted to go to Nashville to eat amazing food, try out their cool coffee shops, and of course… hear some live music! When we discovered that we had a Greyhound Road Reward to take a free bus ANYWHERE, we wanted to get the best value and chose Music City! With all the public transportation and crazy long commutes we’ve done in the past, we knew we could handle the 24 hour bus ride. After several transfers, sitting in bus terminals, and long naps — we arrived!

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We started our Nashville visit with caffeine and food of course! Straight from the bus terminal we walked to CREMA, a really cool cafe and artisanal coffee roaster that we heard amazing reviews of! We each got an iced chai latte, and they were amazing! They were pretty spicy which I really enjoyed, and unlike the normal chais I’ve had in the past. Since being home, I’ve found myself craving one of these again but can’t find a place that makes them the same!

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Honey & Tea Tasting

BY CAILIN BURKE

Nothing new here — this post talks about matcha, again! … But for all of the matcha lattes in NYC, my favorite green drink is few and far between in Upstate New York (our hometown). I was looking up where I could find matcha in the area, and saw that Saratoga Tea & Honey had one on their menu! So there we went!

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Before we grabbed a latte, we went straight to the back to see their “Honey Room.” It’s just how it sounds, a room with jars of honey everywhere! You can taste all of their varieties which was so fun! I love honey in my tea, yogurt, and smoothies, but for some reason don’t like to eat it plain — so I wasn’t jumping up and down at the chance to sample tons and tons of honey.

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Must Visit: Cha Cha Matcha

BY CAILIN BURKE

I’ve expressed my love/obsession for matcha in numerous posts, so when we heard a new ALL MATCHA EVERYTHING MATCHA place was opening, we were so excited to go! Not only does Cha Cha Matcha focus on the greatest drink/flavor ever, but when we saw photos of how cute the place was, we were sold! We headed there crossing our fingers to find seats on a Saturday afternoon (this place gets crowded) and strolled right in to find adorable bench seating available!

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In the Spirit of St. Patrick’s Day

BY CAILIN BURKE

Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, Tara and I’s favorite Parisian bakery started selling Chocolate Guinness macarons and there’s no way we could pass that up! We are half Irish after all. So today we picked up our friend Jenny (who is also Irish!) and drove a 30 minute distance to get these delicious macarons from TC Bakery. We got a few of them and also got Chocolate Caramel ones which are our absolute favorite.

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Now we’ve tried macarons from Laduree and Pierre Herme in Paris and I have to say that TC Bakery is just as good as both of them. It’s great to be able to get macarons that taste like they’re from Paris, but instead are from a little town in New York.

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We then went to Jenny’s house and had them with tea, because for some reason they taste so much better that way. To stay true to our St. Patrick’s Day theme, we had Irish Breakfast Tea and talked about Ireland all afternoon long, since Jenny is going to Ireland this summer and Tara and I had a lot of tips from when we went last year.

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All in all it was a very Irish-filled day and the Chocolate Guinness macarons were decorated with green sprinkles to have even more Irish spirit. Besides the amazing texture that macarons have, these had a tiny Guinness taste that wasn’t overwhelming and went so well with the chocolate.

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Although Tara and I have had many strange macaron flavors like Liquorice, Olive Oil and Vanilla, the tea flavored Marie Antoinette macaron, and the strangest one of all, Cognac, I’ve never heard of a place that has had Chocolate Guinness macarons! That’s why it was necessary that we try them and add them to our long list of interesting flavors. I’m glad they tasted more chocolatey than Guinnessy though, because I’ll never forget how strange and weird I thought that Cognac macaron was. Although you may be skeptical, if you want to treat yourself this St. Patrick’s Day don’t hesitate to combine Ireland’s favorite beer with chocolate because it ended up being a pretty great combo!

London: On a Time Limit

BY TARA BURKE

I cannot put into words how much I love London. Cailin and I were blessed enough to have the opportunity to study abroad there my Junior spring semester of college for 4 months, but with everyone’s busy schedule it is lucky if you can manage a two week vacation to the amazing city. In addition, since travelling throughout Europe is fairly easy and inexpensive, compared to the U.S., many people choose to spend a few days in several different countries when they get the chance to travel.

So, if you need a quick guide to tackling London, while still getting an authentic experience, I’ve got you covered with this 3 day guide!

 Day 1

– Find a great little cafe near your hotel/hostel for a quick breakfast and a coffee/tea before you start your first big day! Local cafes are everywhere in London. Just ask your accommodation staff where their favorite around-the-corner spot is. Otherwise, there are plenty of Starbucks and Pret-a-Mangers around to get your morning caffeine fix.

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-Take the Tower of London tour! You can find more info. about the tour here: http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/. Tickets are a little pricey at about £21 for Adults. Students, children and Seniors get discounted prices. However, it is totally worth it! You get a tour of the tower from hilarious Beefeaters, you can gawk at the British Crown Jewels, see cool exhibitions and re-enactments and tromp along the tower walls as if it were all yours! All the while you can see a great view of Tower Bridge.

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-Get some chow! I must admit I am not a huge foodie expert when it comes to London. Being a student there meant I was more broke than usual. The pound is almost double the dollar! My advice: you can’t go wrong with fish and chips at a pub.

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-Take the tube to the Westminster stop. Take a moment to gaze at Big Ben and walk over to The Eye. If you go around dusk you can see them in the daylight and at night. They’re both beautifully different perspectives. Stroll. Take some time before dinner to just walk in whatever direction the wind takes you. Central London is bustling with energy and it feels great to soak it all in.

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-After dinner you can venture to Piccadilly Circus, the Times Square of London.

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 Day 2

-Eat an English Breakfast. All those hearty beans, fried eggs, and bacon will keep you full till at least tea time!

-Try and get to the ticket booth to see a West End show later tonight for a discount. This link will tell you all about it: http://www.londontheatre.co.uk/londontheatre/info/tickets.htm

-Fit in Buckingham Palace if you have a chance on this day. The Guards start arriving at 11:15am. If you don’t have time try again the third day.

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-Go to Trafalgar Square and go to the National Gallery if you are an art buff. If you are not an art fanatic, try the National Portrait Gallery instead. It is much smaller and there is a chance that even if you don’t know the artists, you will known the influential people portrayed in their paintings. Museums are also FREE and make a great rainy day activity!

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-Visit the Southbank. Visit The Globe, a replica of Shakespeare’s original theater. See if any free events are going on in the area. I’d suggest you look up any special events that are going on during your stay. Chances are there is a super cool festival going on.

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-Feast your eyes on all the food at Borough Market for lunch (pun completely intended). Literally, the whole market is just a feast of delectable treats, scrumptious sandwiches and juicy fruit. While you’re there get a good look at The Shard, which is currently the tallest building throughout Europe.

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-See a West End Show!

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Day 3

-Rise and Shine, it’s already day 3! See those infamous guards protect Buckingham Palace if you missed it on Day 2. Get there earlier than 11am so you can get a good spot to watch. Otherwise, start your day by heading to one of the many markets in London (Camden, Portobello and Greenwich are just a few). Some of these markets can take hours to go through, but are a source of endless entertainment with knick-knacks and secret treasures just waiting to be discovered. They also have great food stands. Breakfast and a light lunch can be eaten here.

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-Head over to Covent Garden for tea time. Many people wish to experience English high tea with the cute tier of tea sandwiches and other pastries, but we found that cream tea was just as effective. Patisserie Valerie in Covent Garden has a great cream tea special for two at a much more affordable price than high tea. Remember, pinkies up! http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/covent-garden.aspx

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-Explore Covent Garden. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, pubs and entertainment to discover in this area. If you have some time to kill, head over to Chinatown and go to O’ Neills, an Irish Pub that often has live music. Additionally, if something on my guide isn’t your thing, I left some extras for yah! If you love to shop try Oxford Street, the 5th Ave. of London, and definitely go to Harrods! The Westminster Abbey tour is also a good option. It is full of history and you can take your time going through all the tour stops since most people choose to use the hand held tour guides.

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Of course, there are many other things to do in London, but hopefully this guide can help you cover the basics if you’re working with a time crunch and are on a budget! Xx

There’s No Time Like Tea Time

BY CAILIN BURKE

Today I tagged along with Tara to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to eat lunch at the cafe they have there. She was meeting someone for a job interview, but I love CIA so I wanted to go get some food too! I had been there two times before but only had items from their lunch menu, and this time I was feeling tea and a pastry. After living in London for almost four months, I’ve learned to love tea with scones, biscuits, or crumpets. Since the cafe is known for their pastries, desserts, and macarons, I thought what better place to have tea time?! The cafe is completely run by the institute’s students so they have some really great chefs who are constantly practicing and making new things. Every time you go, there’s something different and they make all of their food look so beautiful! For today though, the Maple Frosted Brioche Donut looked pretty appetizing so I got that with a pot of English Breakfast Tea. I then got a Raspberry Macaron Tart to split with Tara after her interview was over as a treat!

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