Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekend Adventuring and a New Favorite Store

On Saturday fiance and I did a whole lot of adventuring. We checked out a few possible wedding locations and quickly nixed three off the list and added one that we loved. It will be a tough candidate to beat. More on that later. We also found an awesome candy story (complete with over 60 flavors of salt-water taffy) and a great tobacco store. Apparently it had lots of options and great prices. I know nothing about tobacco products of any kind, but I'll take fiance's word. We attempted to try out the Columbia Firehouse which had been on our restaurant list forever, but it didn't go very well. I'll talk about that more later when I talk about Landini Brothers, which ended up being a very successful meal. But, the moral of this story is all about my new favorite shop. The Spice and Tea Exchange of Old Town Alexandria. If I'm being totally honest, I must confess that part of the reason I love it so much is because it's called the exchange. That's very historically accurate and you know me, I'm a sucker for all things old. I would still adore the place even if it had a different name, but it's a really nice detail if you ask me.

Here is the bag in which we brought home our finds. So cute and old-looking. The store is also amazing even if you don't plan on making any purchases. You can smell whatever you want, just be careful not to get too close to the pepper containers. Fiance was sneezing for quite some time after taking a too-strong whiff of the peppers. The music was great and the ladies that worked there were super friendly.
Let's start out with my tea infuser. I have good news and bad news. Let's go bad news first. Bf Fiance and I have been looking for a good tea infuser for years. Literally years. The problem is either the holes are too big or the clasp is too lose and the leaves come out all over the place. We've been looking because I am a tea-only drinker. No coffee for me. So I'd love to be able to use high-quality loose leaf tea. Bad news: this infuser didn't work at all. The leaf-bits came out through those tiny holes. You wouldn't think they could wiggle out, but wiggle they did. Good news: we tried using an old built-in coffee filter from an old machine (those mesh looking ones?) and it worked brilliantly! Which is excellent considering the purchase you will see below.
We tried this cocoa mix. Fiance loved it. I must have gotten a particularly chili powder-infused sip because my mouth was on fire. I immediate chugged milk. But the quality of the cocoa was incredible and if you like a bit of heat, it's great.
I've been wanting some larger sea salt for cooking for quite some time and so quickly snatched up a packet. No brainer.
And I got my starter packet of tea. Let me tell you- I will be going back for more. This tea is by far the best chai tea I've ever had. It's strong without being too spicy. The ratio of spices is truly amazing. I have my tea with some sweetener and milk and it tastes just like Christmas. Another positive? The spices are so fresh and strong that I actually get two massive cups of tea from each brew. I use a mug that's about 16 ounces and brew the first cup for 2-3 minutes. I take out the filter and the tea and place it in a bowl. Then when I'm ready for my next cup, I just boil more water and brew that cup for about 5 minutes. So it's a great value!

I also got a surprise present for my sister (so I can't write about it here), but let's just say, that if you are looking for a gift or stocking stuffers for people who like to cook, eat, or drink tea, you must stop at this store!

1 comment:

  1. This place is amazing for just about anyone who loves flavor. They have an unbelievable assortment of salts, sugars, spices, teas, and yes . . . chili powders. I took a whiff of habanero powder and was practically incapacitated from coughing, sneezing and wheezing so much. My sinuses were on fire.

    It was awesome.


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