All posts tagged: berkeley

tea time.

One of my new favorite tea spots is Blue Willow Tea in Berkeley. As part of birthmonth, I invited some friends to join me here for an afternoon of tea and good company. It was going to be my first time at the tea lounge, so I called ahead. The owner Ali was super friendly and sweet, and I was so excited that she could section off a part of the tea room for my gathering. The tea lounge is a bit hidden; you have to know it’s there to find it, but once you do, you are welcomed with a wall of teas and these beauties. On a normal visit, I would probably enjoy one type of tea, but since it was a party we enjoyed three! We tried an oolong, the bourbon vanilla black tea, and a green tea. Our cups were warmed and each tea was served in region-specific serve ware. One of my life goals is to be become a tea expert so here is my attempt at learning the lingo… The oolong …

horticulture.ย 

Happy Earth Day! Featuring a local nursery seems fitting for today. Behold: Berkeley Horticulture Nursery. It’s like a nursery dream! I had been here once before to purchase a garden pot and have been meaning to visit again. This is by far my favorite nursery in the East Bay. Helpful staff, suuuuper organized garden, awesome selection, excellent prices, and all the inspiration!   Time to tend to the garden! How will you celebrate Earth today? Share below.ย   

chai time!

My good friend Angel (the lady behind Todos Organics) and I ventured to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden this past weekend for a lesson in chai and spice. Class was held in the Garden’s Tropical House which was the perfect location for learning about masala chai; many of the plants used in masala chai recipes are grown here. Our instructor was Deepa Natarajan, ethnobotanist and lover of masala chai! She’s also got her own masala chai spice blend that is sold at the Oaktown Spice Shop.ย Basically, she is a masala chai celebrity. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Deepa gave a us history lesson in tea, talked about each of the spices you might put in a masala chai, and showedย us the different plants in the garden that produce masala chai ingredients. Masalaย means “mixture of spices” andย chai simply means “tea.” What makes a masala chai? Clove, star anise, cinnamon… …cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, coriander… And ginger! I got to help grate the ginger on a ginger grater, which I’ve decided I need in my life. This thing is amazing! Here’s …

curfee.

Saturday morning plan: Roll out of bed and head straight to a coffee class! โ˜•๏ธ I recently took Handbrew 101 at Allegro Coffee Roasters in Berkeley. Our instructor Nat was the coolest. Self-proclaimed coffee nerd, she walked us through four handbrewing methods, sharing her techniques and coffee insight along the way.  Coffee coffee coffee! It all starts with a good roast. Nat selected the Ethiopia Watona roast. She also prepared worksheets for us to take notes and start our “coffee diary” (bt-dubs: important if you want to keep tabs on how you like to make your perfect cup). I took all the notes. So much to learn!  Nat walked us through four coffee brewing contraptions plus all the accompanying equipment – scale, gooseneck kettle, coffee grinder, cupping cups…. We sampled the same beans via French press, Chemex, Hario V60, and Aeropress. I can’t say I have a favorite but they all produced different flavor profiles. What I thought was most interesting was how the flavor changed as the coffee cooled. Science!  At the end of …

Christmas treasures.ย 

Let’s be honest, I will travel for all things crafty. Now, Berkeley isn’t much of a trek, but I convinced my friends that we should visit uBe Art on San Pablo and Dwight for their holiday party and ornament decorating station. What a lovely art space! The gallery is filled with all kinds of art (watercolor, collage…) – each piece inspiring. ย The owner, Winn, is major friendly and all smiles. She had sweets and warm beverages for all, and a full buffet of craft supplies to create handmade ornaments. I loved all the gold and textures. I created a glittery acorn and a golden tag. My friend created a fuzzy snowman, which she gifted to me and is now the angel atop our Christmas tree. Head in to peruse the art, enjoy some conversations, or to get crafty — uBe has a line up of workshops, too. Are you creating your own ornaments this year? Share below!

go bears!

Family friends came into town so we gallivanted on my old stomping grounds – UC Berkeley. Go bears! Our tour started at Sather gate. It’s a must see and just so happens to be a registered California historical landmark (#946 to be exact!). I was reminded of the beautiful structures on campus – Just take a look at the detail on this gate. Our next stop was where I spent a number of hours in biology lecture and lab – Valley Life Sciences Building. It was also my library of choice. Visitors big and small love it because there are dinosaurs! Here’s the T-rex plus one of my lovely bridesladies with her niece. The other fun thing to do on campus is to visit the Campanile, the campus’ bell tower. I remember hearing the bell tower as a student; even when I lived a mile off campus, I could hear the bells chime on a clear night. You can ride up to the top of the tower and look out for miles. This time we …

tuesday market.

I love me some farmers markets. I finally visited the Tuesday market in Berkeley put on by the Ecology Center. I was very pleased. Lots of people walk to/from the market, and street parking is easy, too. My first stop was flowers. I only like flowers that don’t have that ‘flower smell’ and there just so happened to be dahlias – they just smell like plants. (That should go on a shirt.) Aren’t they gorgeous? Heck, I might just come back the Tuesday before my wedding next year and use these as my bouquet. Just put a ribbon on it! Onto the food. There are a few booths with ready-made foods including gluten- and soy-free baked goods by Triple Heart Bakery, Andy and Cindy’s Thai food, and vegetarian Mexican cuisine by Flacos. The star of the market is definitely the fresh produce, though. I mean, look at these veggies! Long okra, the cutest and chubbiest bitter melon I’ve ever seen, and beautifully vibrant red tomatoes. The selection is amazing. What is your favorite farmers market? …