At my cousin’s wedding, the officiant went off on some ruminations about family, remarking “Michael comes from a family of strong women.”
The row of cousins, my self included, snorted with laughter. At which point our row of mothers turned around and glared at us. Howwwwwww truuuuuuuuuue.
My favorite women:
Location for this particular reunion was Zen Tara Tea, where my cousin works. My mom’s cousin Val lives in the Virgin Islands (!) and was home visiting for Christmas. We met up for tea and lunch!
The tea place was very cool. We all decided we wanted dragons like this to go next to our own teapots.
There was a variety of delicious tea (too delicious, actually- I drank about 18 cups of black tea and was either hopped up on caffeine or running to the ladies room for the rest of the afternoon.)
And, naturally, given that this was my family, there was a mammoth spread of food.
1. Square plates (why are they so much cuter?!)
2. Mini sandwiches (because I hate making decisions, live for variety, and get to try as many as possible!)
True confession: after the chickpea-spinach-grape-feta wrap and the caprese sandwich, I also just scooped the hummus out of something else and ate it with a fork. It was exquisite
Then obviously there were Greek desserts- koulouraikia (the rolled up ones- crumbly toothy awesomeness- a bit like a more buttery, less crunchy biscotty) and the ones with powdered sugar that are like kourabiedes but better because they’re an awesome butter cookie but have a nutty spicy filling. NOM!
Winter break was great for catching up with family and old friends. My crazy Lorrainey was about to go abroad for the THIRD time (luckyyyyyyyyyy) so she and I met up for some Thai food.
Our destination was Elephant Jumps, which everyone I know is talking about (meaning, er, my one friend Edward and also the guy who writes the food reviews for the Washington Post. So two people then).
How can you not love a restaurant that immediately presents you with this?
I started reminiscing about riding an elephant in Thailand. Then I recalled leaving my camera on the plane to be stolen by a United Airlines employee. I hate you, United Airlines.
The restaurant’s cuteness continued, with unique and adorable touches of detail in their decor…
And then we got a visit from the owner, who like everyone I met in Thailand was incredibly friendly and knew what was GOOD EATS. After thanking him in Thai for his recommendations, he got excited all over again and then we chatted about the best beaches in Thailand (he says avoid Phucket, which is overdeveloped, and head next town over to Trang, which is beautiful. Good to know!)
As for the eats, I got the gorgeous Elephant Jumps Salad, which per the menu had shredded apple, roasted coconut, shrimp, fresh lime juice, chili. The owner said a salad like this would traditionally be made with green mango, but they substituted the apple (with delicious results!) to use an easy-to-find ingredient. (Love that whole philosophy! That’s why everything in Thailand was so great! They go “our country has a lot of delicious foods growing IN IT. RIGHT HERE. LET’S JUST USE THEM SIMPLY TO MAKE GREAT FOOD!” Everyone told me that though it’s not a rich country, food is inexpensive and everyone eats well. What is wrong with OUR priorities as a country that unhealthy, processed, packaged food is cheaper?!)
But anyway my delicious salad:
Nom. So many textures, so much flavor!
Lorraine got another of his recommendations, the Chicken Aroma Coconut Rice, which had grilled marinated chicken, coconut rice, thai sweet chili sauce, and a side of papaya salad. The owner said coconut rice is a treat in Thailand, typically served for the new year. Which, yknow, it being winter break, it sort of was!
The sweet chili sauce was insane. Lorraine and I just kind of reached in with our forks to finish every drop.
Feeling festive, we got dessert.
Lorraine got the performance of ordering fried ice cream..
And I got coconut sticky rice with mango, which I ate in Thailand.
Nothing, NOTHING will ever compare to the mango I ate in Thailand (unless, of course, I return to Thailand and eat more mango, an idea I am all for), but this was still a yummy dessert :D