Miracle Fruit Tasting Party

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I’ve wanted to throw a Miracle Fruit party for years after a couple of my favorite bloggers posted their experiences. We bought tablets on Amazon.

Synsepalum dulcificum, also known as the miracle fruit, is a plant with a berry that when eaten, causes sour foods to taste sweet. When the fruit is eaten, the glycoprotein molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes, but it was more like 20-30 minutes).

We tasted a lot of foods, including: lemons and limes, tomatoes, dried cranberries, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, granny smith apples, strawberries, pomegranate, grapes, blackberries, mustard, ketchup, salt & vinegar chips, pickles, sour cream, Tabasco, balsamic vinegar, BBQ sauce, Guinness, tequila, goat and cream cheese. My favorites were the lemons and limes and the cream cheese. The lemons and limes tasted like Pixie Sticks and the cream cheese was kind of like cheesecake. The big disappointment was the Guinness beer which was supposed to taste like a chocolate milkshake, but it just tasted like a slightly less bitter stout beer.

The effects of the tablets wore off faster than I thought, but they are relatively inexpensive so you could always take another one halfway through your tasting. The important thing is to make sure you let the tablet completely dissolve and coat your tongue. It was a lot of fun and something different to do!

Fried Chicken at Gold Cash Gold

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After drinks with friends at the Sugar House in downtown Detroit, we mixed it up and had dinner at Gold Cash Gold. It’s just down the block from Slow’s BarBQ. It was extremely busy. Even with putting our name in before we had drinks, we still didn’t get seated until almost 10PM.

We split the pickles and farmer’s bread starters. Both were delicious, I really liked the pickled celery. All their pickles are made in house. The bread was really good too. I ordered the pickle brine fried chicken. This fried chicken was the very best I’ve ever had. I’m not kidding you, I can’t wait to try it again despite the long wait and the fact that it was a tad expensive. The crust was crispy and flavorful and not too thick. It was served with a hot sauce white gravy which was fabulous.

Dave ordered a special which was a sausage served over polenta with pine nuts, caramelized onions, and more of that pickled celery.

We didn’t try dessert, but I’d like to try it next time as their buttermilk pie sounds wonderful.

Roman sausage

Dessert at Knight’s Downtown

Dessert at Knight's

Before catching a movie at the Michigan Theater, we stopped at the new Knight’s downtown to grab a drink and dessert.

Knight’s is known for their strong cocktails so it was a good thing we had a movie to watch before needing to drive anywhere. I ordered the Old/New Fashion which was made with Blackstar Farms Apple Brandy, orange slice, brandied cherries, cherry and orange bitters, splash soda. It was my first Old Fashioned and I can say that I sort of liked it…I think I may have liked it better with an appetizer or dinner rather than dessert. Dave tried the Liberty Mans’hattan made with Buffalo Trace, Carpano Antica, cherry herring, cherry bitters. He also thought it was OK. A decent Manhattan, but not the best he’s ever had.

For dessert, I ordered a pumpkin tart which was good. My only complaint was that the tart shell ratio to pumpkin filling was off, the shell was way too thick. It did taste good though, almost like a cookie shell rather than a pastry one. Dave ordered their signature pie, which unfortunately isn’t listed on their website so I’ll have to wing it with the description. It was a chocolate mouse andwhite chocolate cheesecake pie with more chocolate on sprinkled on top. He liked it, thought it was much too rich for me.

I really liked the atmosphere of the downtown Knight’s.  I’d like to try their original Jackson location sometime.

Afternoon Tea at Home

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We hosted a Pride & Prejudice Tea recently where a group of friends came over to watch the A&E/BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series. We made tea sandwiches and a few sweets to tied us over during the long 5.5 hour show.

Dave baked two loaves of bread in a pullman loaf pan so that we’d have nice square slices of bread to make the tea sandwiches with. We had several different flavors of sandwiches including: egg salad with rocket (arugula), ham with havarti cheese and cucumber, cucumber and Cotswold cheese, and cheddar cheese with either tomato jam or mango chutney. All of the sandwiches turned out great and went really fast, faster than I was expecting!

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For the sweets, I made Julia Child’s butter scones and served them with Devon clotted cream and homemade strawberry-rhubarb and bumbleberry jams, cranberry shortbread, and Empire biscuits. I had made the shortbread before, it’s a super easy recipe. I had also made the Empire biscuits previously, which I think turned out better than before. I had tried the butter scones before, but this was my first time making them. They also came together quite easily and were very tasty.

We had an assortment of teas out for people to try. The whole afternoon was lovely.

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Three Teas & a Lunch

Bea's of Bloomsbury

Way back in September, Dave and I traveled to the United Kingdom for a lovely two week vacation. We staying in London for a week and then went up to Scotland for another week (split between Glasgow and the Outer Hebrides). While we were in the UK we drank A LOT of tea! We drank tea with almost every meal whether we were eating at home or out in a restaurant. I really wanted to go to a “real” afternoon tea while we were in London and we ended up going to three different afternoon teas (two in London and one in Glasgow)!

Our first tea was the cream tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury. The tea included a individual pot of tea, I had the vanilla black tea, two scones, Cornish clotted cream, and strawberry jam. Our friend’s daughter enjoyed a cupcake. The tea was very nice, it was called vanilla and I could actually taste like vanilla. I hate it when food or drink is labeled something and then doesn’t deliver on the flavor. The scones were lovely and absolutely heavenly topped with the clotted cream and strawberry jam.

I enjoyed the atmosphere of Bea’s of Bloomsbury. It was nice and casual, but still felt special. I don’t know if that’s because we don’t regularly do afternoon tea at home or if it was actually the space. Either way, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Ladurée

Our next afternoon tea experience was at Ladurée the famed French macaron bakery. First, the macarons were absolutely delicious and everything that I expected and hoped for (I’m kind of obsessed). While we were eating our macarons outside the shop in Covent Gardens, we took a look at their afternoon tea menu and decided to stay. We were seated on a balcony overlooking the plaza. Our tea was served in individual pots and the cream was served steamed. Included in the tea were two tea sandwiches each, two croissants each, and two pastries each. There was a selection to choose from for each category.

The tea sandwiches were good, not anything special. We both got ham and cheese and then just cheese. The croissants were the best croissants either of us had ever had! Both of us tried a plain croissant and then I got and almond one and Dave got a chocolate one. So, so good! And then for the finally, we each tried a raspberry and mango tart. I ordered a chocolate hazelnut torte and Dave had a super rich chocolate torte. It was perfect and everything I wanted in an afternoon tea in London!

Willow Tea Rooms

Our last afternoon tea was at the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow at their Sauchiehall Street location. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904, The Willow Tea Room was the only tea room building where Mackintosh had complete control over every aspect of the design. He modeled the exterior as well as the interior of the building and even designed the cutlery and waitresses’ dresses. The tea room was restored in the 1980’s.

We were served tea sandwiches (an assortment), scones with clotted cream and jam, and then we got to pick an item from the pastry case. The sandwiches were good, especially the egg salad. We skipped the roast beef. The scones were tasty too, but the real star of the show was the Empire biscuits we selected from the pastry case. They’re HUGE and delicious. I wish I could have one right now. The Willow Tea room also has a very large selection of tea and a full lunch/breakfast menu.

Ella's Café

We spent a few days with family on the Isle of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. After our ferry ride back to the Isle of Skye, we grabbed lunch in Uig at Ella’s Café. We both order the crofter’s lunch. I had mind with a pot of tea, of course! The crofter’s lunch included a couple of slices of meat (we’re really not sure what kind of meat it was, our guess was either beef or venison), a couple of different types of cheese, bread, and a berry compote. On their own, I wasn’t a big fan of the cheese or the meat, but when combined all together with the bread and the compote, I quite liked it.

The food in the United Kingdom offen gets a bad rap, however, if you’re ever lucky enough to visit I would recommend trying afternoon tea as at many places as possible!