Sunday, May 31, 2009


This post has absolutely nothing to do with tea or desserts, but I still have to tell you about it! Today was Victor's and my second anniversary! We had brunch at Oyamel, in Penn Quarter, here in Washington and we loved every minute and every bite!

First of all, the name of the restaurant refers to a fir tree in Mexico where monarch butterflies stop during their migration south each year. The trees become full of the butterflies and according to the website:
...Draped in gold, its branches bent with the weight of thousands of butterflies, the otherworldly shhh created by the flapping of the monarchs’ wings, the oyamel forests in the winter are a place like no other.

The restaurant is decorated in bright shades of orange from chrome to tangerine and accented with cobalt blue. And there are not only metal butterflies suspended from the ceiling, but also many fun Day of the Dead figures. It's a very happy and beautiful place to enjoy a meal (and spend an anniversary!).

But the most important reason I'm posting about Oyamel is the food. This restaurant is one of several run by the brilliant chef Jose Andres and his creative touch makes this place very special. The menu is comprised mainly of Antojitos (described as "the little dishes of the streets"). Our waiter, Kenneth, was very helpful in explaining approximately how many dishes to order. There are so many tempting dishes on the menu, but we managed to narrow our selections to these (for this visit, anyway!):

We each started with a special drink. Since I don't drink a lot of alcohol, I tried one of the Aquas Frescas, which is a Mexican drink of fruit juices, water, sugar and ice. There are several flavors each day (today's were Mango, Pineapple and Tamarind). I ordered the Tamarind and loved it. It was sweet, tangy and very refreshing. Victor had a Santa Muerte, which was an amazing blend of tequila, fresh grapefruit and passionfruit juices, piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar), vanilla and anise. It was decorated with a small blossom of marigold, the symbolism of which was lost on me until I got home today and did some research and found that marigolds are the traditional flowers of the Day of the Dead. We had great freshly made chips and the yummiest salsa with our drinks.

Because the plates are small, we each ordered several items. Victor ordered Cayo de hacha con pipián de chile pasilla
(Seared scallops with a pasilla chile and pumpkin seed sauce, orange segments, pumpkin seed oil and toasted pumpkin seeds) and two tacos, Tinga poblana (Stew of shredded chicken with potatoes, chorizo, and chipotle, topped with white onion) and Cochinita pibil con cebolla en escabeche (Yucatan-style pit barbecued pork with pickled red onion and Mexican sour orange). I had Huevos revueltos "Migas" (Scrambled eggs flecked with crumbled tortilla chips, parmesan cheese, tomatoes and serrano chile served with black bean and tomatillo sauces) and the fresh fruit salad, which was accompanied by a half a lime, dipped in cayenne pepper. When you squeezed the lime juice over the fruit, there was a small bite of heat added to each piece by the pepper.

For dessert, we had the Mexican coffee, which was black coffee which seems to have been simmered with cinnamon sticks, cloves and a fairly large portion of the piloncillo sugar. It was delicious, warm, spicy and sweet. We ended the meal with two of the desserts both of which were amazing. Victor had Cajeta tradicional y moderna (traditional sweet caramel made from goat’s milk,with crumbled Mexican shortbread, sprinkled with caramelized cinnamon, fresh mango and fresh lime zest. Served with a scoop of passion fruit sorbet and a scoop of coconut sorbet) and I had Pastel de tres leches con piña (traditional cake soaked in Myers rum and three kinds of milk, with a rum and milk foam, fresh pineapple gelatin, a pineapple salsa and served with a scoop of dark caramel ice cream).

Everything was delicious and the food, the atmosphere and the service all made for a fun and special anniversary brunch!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Very Nice Ladies!

Dear Friends,
Even though The Gossamer Tearoom Blog has only existed since New Year's Day of this year, I have met so many very nice ladies in the blogsphere already! There is the very imaginative Lisa from Faerie Enchantment, whom I met when I bought one of her fabulous CDs of images on Etsy. Also, I have participated in two of her blog events and had so much fun! Then, there is my dear blog friend LuLu, who has her very sweet Coastal Sisters blog. We met when she bought some of my Tea Party Buttons from my Etsy site. She is so sweet and funny and a few days ago, surprised me with one of her beautiful Eiffel Tower charms from her online gallery (Thank you so very much again, Miss LuLu!)! Then, there is the very nice Janet from French Blue. I'll tell you a little secret...There are some blogs that are just so cute and cool that I feel a bit bashful about commenting on them (that's a bit silly, isn't it? Please tell me I'm not the only one who has felt that way!). That was what I thought about French Blue. So, I was completely amazed when Janet started commenting on my blog (!!) and became a follower (!!!). Imagine how excited I was to see that yesterday, she had used one of my Femme de la Lune cards to illustrate her post about another of my blog heroines, Claudia of Paris Apartments!!

And in that same post, here was just one more bit of sugar in your tea from these two ladies:
Claudia just commented....She wants to Reward all you little darlings...So she is offering a giveaway drawing to one of YOU with an online shop!! FREE advertising on her site for 3 months!! If you'd like to share this opportunity with your blogger friends mention this post and let them know about this contest so they can enter the drawing too!! Please leave me a second comment to enter twice, if you posted this Giveaway on your blog. I will draw a name from all comments left on this post on Monday June 1st. Y E A!! Thank You Claudia!!! xoxo's
So, if you have an online shop, go to this post on French Blue and leave a comment to enter to win free advertising for 3 months!

I'd just like to take a moment to thank all of these very nice ladies for their very warm welcome to me to the world of blogging!

Wishing you all a very happy weekend (you might not see much of me because it's my husband's and my second anniversary!)


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Mad Tea Party

It is time for another festive tea party, dear friends! Miss Vanessa of A Fanciful Twist is hosting a Mad Tea Party on her blog on June 27th! I can't wait!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Montebello Mystery. . .

Today I come to you with a mystery...
A few days ago, I received an e-mail from the House of Pierre Hermé reminding us of his fetish flavor for spring, Montebello. To quote, it is “...An alliance of pistachio and strawberry for a very springtime pleasure.” Now, even though we didn’t try anything made with this flavor combination, it holds a special place in my heart because as we were lined up outside of the shop on the Rue Bonaparte last spring, items of this flavor were featured in the window display. But to my recollection, this flavor combination was raspberry and pistachio, not strawberry and pistachio. So, I had to do my research and as I did, realized that some of the Montebello items are made with raspberries and some with strawberries! I wonder why this is?

Montebello items made with raspberries:
Pâte de fruits
Surprise Montebello
Cake (the French use the word “cake” to mean something like our pound cake. It is something to be used as a “gouter” or snack and not to be mistaken for a “gâteau”, which would be a pastry to be served as an elegant ending to a meal.)

Montebello items made with strawberries:
Miss Gla’Gla & Glace (more about these later!)

And. . .
The one Montebello item made with both strawberries and raspberries is the Millefeuille!

I think this matter might require more research! It would be a shame if we had to return to Paris just to gather the relevant evidence required to close this case!

And in other Gossamer Tearoom news, the spoons have found their home (please see this post). Click here for this newest, beautiful, can't-live-without item from the gift shop aka the Etsy shop!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Desserts Delivered to Your Inbox

(Photo above used with very kind permission of Desserts Magazine)

Happiest of Saturday Nights, My Friends,
I know we all deserve a yummy treat tonight! I have one for you and it's free! Click here for the home page of a great online publication called Desserts Magazine. Each edition is full of yummy pictures and recipes! After downloading, you click the corner of each page to turn them. The most recent issue is all about desserts made with tea!!! And don't forget this: you can sign up to get this in your inbox each time a new edition is published! I know it's one of my favorite things to see sitting in my e-mail! I'll just repeat what I said to one of my dessert-loving friends this week: Prepare to Drool!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Some Important Things to Remember When Visiting Paris

Dear Friends,
When visiting Paris, there are some very important things to remember. One, the very most important phrase you must know in French is "à emporter". It means "to go" and that means that whatever wonderful, yummy thing you are about to order, you will be able to take with you and eat in whatever wonderful, yummy park or garden you may choose! And another important thing to remember is that the House of Dalloyau has invented a very cute, very sweet little "to go" box for carrying four of their delicious macarons anywhere you might want to eat them! This extra adorable box has been given the ULTRA elegant name "Eat Bag"(!), but nevermind that! As they describe it, this is the perfect packaging for when you want to "succumb to the desires of irresistible macarons ... " And when you hear about their two new flavors for spring, succumb you will!:

-abricot et riz-soufflé - filled with unctuous puree of apricot and topped with crispy puffed chocolate rice
-fraise - filled with fresh strawberry compote and topped with bright green shards of crunchy pistachios

Plus, as Grace Kelly said to Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window" when she went to change into her beautiful nightgown: "A preview of coming attractions...", Dalloyau's special macaron flavors for summer will be melon and peach melba!

Newest Collage

Here is a new collage I just made using images from collage sheets I bought from a wonderful Etsy artist! Her name is Itkupilli and she does such beautiful things!! I've had some of the sheets for a while, but they are all so wonderful that I didn't know where to start using them in collages! Please check out her blog here and her Etsy site here! And if you are in need of a blog face-lift, her sites are definitely the place to go as she does really beautiful blog templates too! Thank you Itkupilli for your gorgeous inspirational images!

And keep checking back as I hope to have another new post tonight with more news from the Houses of French Patisserie!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What's Next?

Dearest Friends,
I have acquired some of these very sweet spoons (they are only about 2.5 inches long). What lovely objects will I be making with them? They are still works in progress, but all I know is they simply scream "Gossamer Tearoom"!