A Newfound Love for Rose Green Tea! Harney & Sons’ Jane’s Garden Tea, The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 003

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One of my new favourite things: rose green tea and cherry rose green tea!  For the past half year, I have fallen head over heels in love with rose green tea and cherry rose green tea, ordering a pot of it during afternoon tea and trying out different brands from different cafes.  I never thought I’d enjoy a tea with floral notes to it, not because I dislike floral scents or flavours but simply because it’s never grabbed my attention in the past.  I’m pretty open to desserts flavoured with rosewater and lavender and I love all different kinds of tea but my tastes tend to lean more toward dessert flavours, tropical and citrus flavours, and plain jane green and milk oolong teas so floral teas have never really been on my radar – until now.  One of my favourites is Harney & Sons’ Jane’s Garden Tea, a beautiful, aromatic, light and refreshing tasting green tea with rose petals.  It smells so nice and the tea steeps into this gorgeous shade of light grass green (which I promise I’ll post a photo of when I steep another cup!), making it a great choice for spring and summer both in appearance and in taste.  The floral notes are subtle (meaning not too overpowering or perfumey) yet prominent enough to stand out as its own flavour distinctly separate from the green tea.  And best of all, the tea benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation, honouring Jane Llyod, a family friend of the Harneys.

For those who are wondering how I got my hands on a tin, I placed an order online on Harney & Sons website (https://www.harney.com/).  They ship to Canada and have different flat rate shipping brackets based on how much you spend.  Subscribe to their e-mails because they consistently send out great promotions year-round.  I took advantage of an amazing sale last year (I believe it was 30% all teas) and basically celebrated Christmas in August when my package came in the mail!  I know we can buy Harney & Sons at Indigo and Blue Banana in Kensington Market but if you’re looking for the endless selection, take a gander at the official website.  I’ll admit, it’s a dangerous thing to do, but for the quality, variety, and gorgeous tins, it’s totally worth it.

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The Keys To My Heart: The Green Tea Cheesecake at Sushi Time and The Sushi Bar Dessert Mission!

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Introducing one of my favourite, FAVOURITE desserts in the city: the green tea cheesecake from Sushi Time on Queen St. West!  That’s right, folks.  This cheesecake is not from a bakery, patisserie, or cake boutique.  It’s from a sushi bar.  And it is one of the most delightful things that has ever done the sexy rumba with my tastebuds.  As I am writing this, I feel kind of giddy and silly because I feel like one of the Food Network stars on an episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate, divulging about one of my favourite foods and where everyone can get it! 

If you’re a Food Network lover like I am, you know how fantastical this show is and how it makes you so ridiculously hungry while you’re watching it.  I’ve had to walk out of the room on several occasions because I was watching the show before dinner and it made my stomach rumble and my mouth salivate.  It’s that bad.  I love the show so much because every episode is devoted to a fun theme: best thing I ever ate spicy, crunchy, fruity, sweet, chocolatey, grilled, meaty, and so on and so forth.  I guess if I had to inject this post into a specific themed episode, I’d call the episode, “best thing I ever ate – green tea desserts”!  Or maybe just desserts or food made from tea if green tea desserts is too specific a theme.  But there it is.  My little Food Network daydream.

I’ve mentioned this dessert on the blog before (in this post), but I haven’t done a photo spotlight or posted any photos of it because, well, the first and only photo I had at the time stunk.  I’m serious!  You can actually see a little bit of it in the scrapbook layout I posted in the link up top.  I know my photography over the last two years has improved, but I’m not about to boast about my earlier efforts because in the beginning, I couldn’t take a picture worth a penny.  Not everything I do now is the greatest either, but some of the photos I took when I first started out were just plain awful.  So here are photos of my beloved dessert that are actually worth posting!

At $3.99, this green tea cheesecake is one of the reasons why I will always come back to Sushi Time.  Sushi Time is by no means the least expensive sushi bar in town.  It’s not the most expensive either, but let’s just say there are other places in the city that offer more budget-friendly options.  Despite this, the green tea cheesecake has me coming back time and time again and it delivers its knockout, heavenly, delicious punch each and every time.

As opposed to some cheesecakes that are a little more on the crumbly side, this one is one of the softest, creamiest cheesecakes you’ll ever enjoy.  It has the fabulous graham cracker bottom that everyone loves so much and two different green tea layers that differ slightly in consistency and flavour.  The middle layer is darker green in colour, a little thicker in consistency, and a little more concentrated in green tea flavour.  The top layer is lighter in colour and also lighter in texture.  It’s so fluffy and soft and smooth. 

When you run your fork through the cheesecake, it doesn’t catch.  It glides straight through and it is truly one of the best light-yet-decadent desserts around.  The cheesecake is finished off with a dollop of green tea jelly on top and a dusting of green tea powder.  The great thing about it is that it simaltaneously gives you both the richness of tradtional cheesecake and the herbal, slightly bitter flavour of green tea without being overwhleming on either front.  It isn’t so rich that it gives you that tingle in your throat and it isn’t so herbal that it takes away from the dessert being an actual sweet ending to a meal.

To my knowledge, Sushi Time is the only sushi place that offers this kind of dessert and on top of its uniqueness and deliciousness, it compels you to shell out the extra several bucks for it.  I love mango, red bean, and green tea ice cream as much as the next person, but those are desserts that you can have at a number of places so I always want to find and try the ones that nobody else serves or the ones that are a little more unique.  Off the top of my head, I know Ginza has a variety of new desserts on their new menu that I’m dying to try and the rest I’ll just have to find out about as I go along!  I’m definitely on a mission to find the best desserts at sushi places around the city and I’m so glad I found out and had this cheesecake for the first time three and a half years ago.        

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Sushi Time is located at 325 Queen St. West near the corner of John St. and Queen West.  Situated between University and Spadina Ave., Sushi Time is on the south side of Queen and are open for business at 12pm, 7 days a week.  You can view their menu in PDF form at their temporary website HERE.

Sipping Tea in the Park on a Sunshiney Day – “Tea”licious Coconut Blossom Green Tea at Tealish!

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Tealish is a place that makes me cheerful and happy the minute I step through the door.   A fun and fresh tea boutique located at 728 Queen St. West, Tealish’s walls are lined with shelves upon shelves of colourful pastel coloured canisters offering everything from black, green, white, oolong, rooibos, and herbal loose leaf tea, as well as adorable tea accessories.  Think little red, blue, and turquoise teapots, little tea cups, tea thermoses, tea strainers, and individual loose leaf tea packets in a host of flavours.  Tins of loose leaf tea in any one of their 100+ flavours can be purchased in 50g, 100g, and 250g, and prepackaged tins of loose leaf tea are available for purchase in gift sets and individual tins on the shelves.

With its hardwood floors and bright lime green and white decor and storefront, there’s a brightness and freshness about that is so refreshing and inviting.  It feels and looks so cozy inside, especially on a sunny morning with the warm sunlight filtering in through the storefront window.  It’s the feeling you get when you’re lying back relaxing with a good book a lazy summer day.  When you’re inside, you don’t feel like you’re in a tea shop in the retail sense of the word; you feel like you’re in a sunny country kitchen with an inviting tea room in the back just beckoning you to sit back, relax, and sip on some soothing and delicious tea.

I love Tealish’s loose leaf tea selection.  For one thing, deciding on the type of tea you want is super easy because 1) each shelf is allocated to a specific type of tea and 2) each type of tea is colour-coded.  If you want loose leaf flavoured green tea, check out the lime green canisters on the 3rd shelf.  Feel like a rooibos variety?  Puruse the bottom shelf with the pretty pink metal tins.  I am crazy about fruit teas and dessert teas and Tealish has plenty to choose from.  Just the thought of teas such as lemon meringue, coconut cream chai, orange marzipan, and double chocolate make me salivate.

I knew I wanted a dessert tea and because I’m crazy for coconut flavoured anything and everything, I got myself a small ($2.50) coconut blossom green tea, iced.  I was so excited about my tea that I completely forgot to write down and take note of the prices for the other sizes, so I promise I’ll get that for next time!  Now, I love coconut dessert stuff and I enjoy green tea, but I’ll be honest and say that I really didn’t know what to expect from this tea.  I didn’t know if the coconut flavour would be too subtle for my taste, if it would end up being diluted, if it would come across too artificial in taste, that kind of thing. 

I was not disappointed AT ALL!  In fact, this tea figuratively knocked my shoes off.  The coconut blossom green tea is DELICIOUS!  The coconut flavour hits you right from the first sip but isn’t so strong or aggressive that it takes away from the green tea herbalness.  It’s a beautiful meshing of flavours and there is no mistaking the coconut flavour.  It tickles your tastebuds as you drink and it leaves a yummy after taste that leaves you licking your lips for more.  Drinking this tea makes you feel like you’re eating a piece of sweet coconut cream pie.  It’s THAT good.

Located in the West Queen West neighbourhood, Tealish is just steps away from Trinity Bellwoods Park which I think is such a perfect fit.  In the spring and summer, it’s so nice sitting out on a bench sipping some iced tea and in the fall and winter, you have your hot cup of tea to warm you up while you crunch through fallen leaves and fresh snow.  And that’s exactly what I did with my coconut blossom green iced tea.  I sipped on my cool drink, sat back on a bench with the warm sunshine beaming down at me while I watched cute puppies running around, and enjoyed the nice breeze that nipped the trees around me.  With a tea as “tealish” as this one, I almost felt like I was catching some rays out on a cabana.  Almost 😉

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Tealish is located at 728 Queen St. West at Claremont St. just steps away from Trinity Bellwoods Park.  In terms of major streets and intersections, Tealish is located in between Bathurst St. and Ossington Ave. on Queen.  Their official website is located here where you can purchase teas online and puruse their many “tea”licious flavours!