Matcha (Green Tea) Latte Granita

What's more refreshing than an iced matcha latte on a hot day? Yup, a Matcha Latte Granita!

And because I love miniature-sized desserts, I serve them in these tiny stemless wine glasses.

This recipe was a quick one to figure out -- make a matcha latte then freeze it. If you want to sweeten the deal, top it off with a little bit of condensed milk. 

A quick tip: Always sift your matcha so you don't get clumps.

I'm not going to lie, after you freeze the matcha latte, it's a workout to scrape the granita. It's a bit easier if you let it sit out for a few minutes before you start scraping away with a fork to break up the icy block. 

If you want it to freeze quicker, get a bigger baking dish so the liquid isn't more than an inch deep. (I used a smaller baking dish since I didn't have room in my freezer for a bigger one.)

Makes 5 mini servings in 6 oz. glasses or 2 regular servings

1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons matcha
Optional: sweetened condensed milk

In a small bowl, sift matcha then add water. Whisk to combine. Pour into a baking dish. Stir in milk.

Freeze matcha latte for at least 4 hours or until completely frozen through. When ready to serve, take out of freezer and let sit for about 5–15 minutes. Using a fork, scrape off the ice to get granular pieces of ice. Scoop granita into glasses and serve immediately. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk if you want to add a little something sweet.

//Measuring cups, baking dish, wood platter, miniature stemless wine glasses, cotton placemat, pink milk bowl, matcha bowl from matcha starter kit, long handled spoon, matcha, sweetened condensed milk //

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Posted on August 2, 2015 .

Giveaway // Kikkerland Tea Set + de Pelikaan Tea

Back in May, Sara hosted a tea salon event at the Kikkerland shop in Manhattan and I got to taste an iced Mona Lisa Smile tea from Dutch company de Pelikaan. A green tea with roses and strawberries, it was my favorite of the teas I tasted and it was wonderful iced.

Thanks to the generous folks at Kikkerland, this giveaway to one lucky winner includes the Mona Lisa Smile tea in their signature red tin, two Ora teacups (double walled glasses), and the very pretty Ora Teapot. Both the teacups and teapot are double-walled glass, which is great for hot or iced tea. The total value of this giveaway is $85.00.

Since it's been so hot out, I've been cold-brewing this tea by putting in 1-2 teaspoons of loose tea into the teapot, adding cold water and letting it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but usually overnight. 

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This giveaway is only open to US residents. Good luck!

NOTE: Winner will be contacted by email and comments/follows will be verified. If winner does not respond within three days of being contacted, another winner be chosen. Good luck!

//Giveaway prize courtesy of Kikkerland.//

Posted on July 26, 2015 .

Color Coded Credit Cards

This tip is something completely genius that I had to share. I keep all my cards (ID, credit, debit, etc.) together in my wallet -- not in card slots -- so when reaching for a card, I have to grab the whole bunch and flip through to find the one I want to use. NOT ANYMORE. 

I recently got a credit card that had the rim of the card colored in a bright orange color (I love functional design) and whenever I look in my wallet, I can find it right away. I thought, why not do this with my other cards using different colors? 

I got a few brightly colored Sharpies and colored the rim of each card with a different color.

TA DA! Now I can find the card I need at a glance. 

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Posted on July 23, 2015 .

Iced Matcha (Green Tea) Watermelon

Who knew matcha and watermelon would go so well together? MatchaBar in Brooklyn apparently. I ordered this drink on a visit and enjoyed it so much (and I recently have been on a blending binge with a newly acquired Vitamix) I wanted to try making it on my own. Because the watermelon is sweet there's no need to add any sugar.

(I love the look of the stacked layers of color.)

You can prepare the matcha for this drink the traditional way with a sifter, whisk, and hot water, but because I'm super lazy and the matcha is cooking grade, I used cold water and power whipped it using a milk frother.

When you're mixing matcha with other ingredients, no need to get the far more expensive ceremonial grade -- get cooking or culinary grade. Great ceremonial grade matcha has a very smooth subtle flavor that will completely get lost when diluted with other flavors. Also, I would never power whisk ceremonial grade. Blasphemy!

Makes 2 cups

1 3/4 cups seeded and cubed watermelon 
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon matcha
Optional: Tiny watermelon wedges

In a small bowl, whisk together matcha and water. Puree watermelon in a blender until smooth.

Into two cups filled with ice, pour in the watermelon puree first, then the matcha. Garnish with tiny watermelon wedges.

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Posted on July 19, 2015 .

Afternoon Tea Review // Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park South

SETTING: ★★★★☆
Afternoon tea is served in the Star Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park where there is a mix of dining tables with armchairs and low tables and plush sofas. Reservations are required and afternoon tea is served on the handful of dining tables in the lounge. With its low lights and plush seating, the Star Lounge feels like a fancy cozy urban escape, albeit a slightly stuffy one.

Service was very good but I took off a star since I did feel rushed toward the end when we (Georgia, Sara, and I) were chatting over tea after they took away the finished sweets tray. I had asked for an additional savory, but that never showed.

All teas are blends created for Ritz-Carlton by “T” Tea Company and they all looked great -- I had a hard time nailing it down to just one. I had the The Ritz-Carlton Spring Blend which was delightful and perfectly steeped.

One thing I love about having afternoon tea here is that they pour the tea for you every single time and they always seem to know when you're getting to the bottom of your cup. Teapots are placed at a nearby table and the server will do all the pouring.

Interestingly, they serve the savories first, then they take your tea order. I would have preferred getting the tea first so I could have it with the savories.

The savories here are excellent. Every single bite was delicious. If forced to choose, the Lobster and caviar roll was my favorite. Their savory game is strong. (The above picture of the savories is for two people so you get five savories per person, which is the perfect amount.)

Scones are served separately after the savories and come out warm in a basket. There are a couple of selections (plain and fruit) and I got the fruit. Their scones are too big for my liking, but they were tasty. They are served alongside berry preserve, lemon curd, and Devonshire cream.

The three-tiered tray of sweets came out next. The one shown is for three people. Six sweets per person, which is generous. They were good, with the eclair with a matcha cream filling being my favorite. (Surprise, surprise.)

The savories are a highlight, along with never having to pour the tea yourself. It's worth a visit.

INFO: Star Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton | 50 Central Park South | New York, NY 10019 | 212.521.6125
COST: Traditional Afternoon Tea, $55 | Menu

//Get the same teaware the Ritz-Carlton uses: Wedgwood teacup, teapot, creamer, and plate.//

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See My Visit from 2012