Afternoon Tea, Champagne & Me

A Panamanian Mother



There seems no greater love than that of a mother’s for her child.

While in Panama City last April, sildenafil drugstore I sat across a special woman who epitomized that wonder.  It was clear to me what mattered to her most.  The little nuances from her every gesture proved the depth of her love in a role that was not negotiable, treat and mine was a beautiful opportunity to have watched her in her element.  Her son was well behaved–his choice, treatment a testament of trust and educated honing from his mother. And from our few exchanged glances, he exuded a confidence within, smiling easily as he said hello and then, goodnight, after we altogether watched the cultural show in a restaurant not far from our hotel.

Luckily for me, we got seated with the locals.  My Spanish must have been so good, the Panamanians placed us in the balcony, instead of the center floor reserved for tourists.  But truly, beyond nationality, I felt just like her.  In fact, she made me remember all the precious times I shared with the boys when they were as young as her son.  Suddenly that deep sense of connection, a commitment of self, released in the highest form of creation called “child”–touched me, as if what I was observing was me, all over again.

Herewith, to share that special moment that I was happy to have documented, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, if you are indeed one.  Brunch will be cherished today over at Amaya at The Grand Del Mar– a restaurant that my good friend Fei Celestine and I frequent.  In fact, Fei and her husband Pierre will be there as well, along with Elliott, my boys’ long time friend who is like a brother to them and a son to us.  Nate, (another family friend) who has lived with us for a few months now, I will miss; but that’s ok, for he has gone home to Santa Cruz to be with his mother.

Looking back, my Mother’s Day was often spent unusually at amusement parks.  Although I hardly participated in the wild rides of such adventuresome places like Magic Mountain, I cherished those days spent just watching my children enjoy themselves. Mother’s Day to me was “playtime” — a day to laugh with the kids and be filled with excitement, rather than a day to relax with breakfast in bed–although I’ve had a few of those as well.  Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with several ways to have enjoyed the day.

This time, with some images collected from my recent trip to Panama City–

my head will certainly be in the clouds,


my body feeling buoyant, like from the pleasant view at The Flamenco Yacht Club


and my spirit  in colorful and graceful movement like the way their cultural dancers performed that night.


Add to it all, a similar drink I had filled with fruits in the bubbly like this Sangria, surrounded by love and joy in sons–Richard, Ryan and Ross, my Aunt Isabella Rose who is visiting with us for a month, my husband, Richard…and our friends.  Be rest assured, I will be with cheer on this special day, very happily being a mother.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

May you find the heart of golden treasures in those you love most.

A Panamanian Mother

There seems no greater love than that of a mother’s for her child.

While in Panama City last April, viagra usa unhealthy I sat across a special woman who epitomized that wonder.  It was clear to me what mattered to her most.  The little nuances from her every gesture proved the depth of her love in a role that was not negotiable, viagra canada cheap and mine was a beautiful opportunity to have watched her in her element.  Her son was well behaved–his choice, a testament of trust and educated honing from his mother. And from our few exchanged glances, he exuded a confidence within, smiling easily as he said hello and then, goodnight, after we altogether watched the cultural show in a restaurant not far from our hotel.

Luckily for me, we got seated with the locals.  My Spanish must have been so good, the Panamanians placed us in the balcony, instead of the center floor reserved for tourists.  But truly, beyond nationality, I felt just like her.  In fact, she made me remember all the precious times I shared with the boys when they were as young as her son.  Suddenly that deep sense of connection, a commitment of self, released in the highest form of creation called “child”–touched me, as if what I was observing was me, all over again.

Herewith, to share that special moment that I was happy to have documented, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, if you are indeed one.  Brunch will be cherished today over at Amaya at The Grand Del Mar– a restaurant that my good friend Fei Celestine and I frequent.  In fact, Fei and her husband Pierre will be there as well, along with Elliott, my boys’ long time friend who is like a brother to them and a son to us.  Nate, (another family friend) who has lived with us for a few months now, I will miss; but that’s ok, for he has gone home to Santa Cruz to be with his mother.

Looking back, my Mother’s Day was often spent unusually at amusement parks.  Although I hardly participated in the wild rides of such adventuresome places like Magic Mountain, I cherished those days spent just watching my children enjoy themselves. Mother’s Day to me was “playtime” — a day to laugh with the kids and be filled with excitement, rather than a day to relax with breakfast in bed–although I’ve had a few of those as well.  Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with several ways to have enjoyed the day.

This time, with some images collected from my recent trip to Panama City–

my head will certainly be in the clouds,


my body feeling buoyant, like from the pleasant view at The Flamenco Yacht Club


and my spirit  in colorful and graceful movement like the way their cultural dancers performed that night.


Add to it all, a similar drink I had filled with fruits in the bubbly like this Sangria, surrounded by love and joy in sons–Richard, Ryan and Ross, my Aunt Isabella Rose who is visiting with us for a month, my husband, Richard…and our friends.  Be rest assured, I will be with cheer on this special day, very happily being a mother.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

May you find the heart of golden treasures in those you love most.

Thanks to Queen Victoria, discount viagra recipe we now have a hunger chasing remedy of delicate treats served with tea, recipe long after lunch is over and several hours before dinner. During her era, advice afternoon tea became as much appreciated for its social aspect as it was for its meal. Though truly, its purpose was to keep her from going on a rampage with a meal that was to be served much later. I don’t blame her! Today, the same custom can prevent us from making that quick dive into the bread and butter when it arrives. Even when done solo, there is something about afternoon tea that is very soothing and grounding, possibly from the fact that we feel nourished and pampered with so much attention to detail.

The prettiness of such delicate serves is also very entertaining. It’s enough to keep me smiling given a glass of champagne to have some kind of bubbly company. However, it does take service and some effort. Reflective of a high society ritual, the customary afternoon break usually boasts of beauty and elegance at its tables, including its attendees. While to most, it has relaxed to suit modern day living, I can still remember the authenticity of invitations from friends, during the years I lived in Hong Kong when it was a British colony.

Surrounded by so much culture, afternoon tea has long been a past time shared between me and friends, Chinese and Europeans alike. From the years I spent living right next to the Hong Kong Country Club, I often looked forward to it. It was a ritual amongst friends, held at each other’s homes, the famous Chinese tea houses that offered the most exotic teas served with dim sum, or at other hotels like The Repulse Bay and The Mandarin Oriental where the sandwiches were oh so terribly British. And by that, I just mean that the sandwiches were made of the usual tiny cucumbers lined with very thinly spread butter and foie gras on delicate white bread.

In contrast, tea times with my German friends would offer coffee alternatives served with thick German cakes and champagne cordials, served over amazing Meisen China, however still combined with the fanciest collection of Victorian and Georgian silver. Those were the days that were seriously lived in routine of style and cultural expectation with the friends I had. My best friend during those wonderful years was Ulrike von Bienenstamm who owned the best silver shop in town. We have since parted and moved away from Hong Kong. I miss her.

The Four Seasons Bangkok Lobby

Today, I still seek the places wherever proper tea is served. This has somehow become a part of my life, and if anything, to remind me of wonderful libation spent in politeness, grace, and with everything oh so lovely!  I will seek it today, even when traveling on my own.  The last time I was in Bangkok, in August of 2011, I sat at The Four Seasons Hotel in their newly redecorated lobby for a treat I heartily enjoyed.  The mood was plush brought by its contemporary and avant garde furniture with new rich fabrics of strong colors.  Combined with the unusually warm tones from Thai sculpture, artwork and paintings, it created quite an impact.  It was unmistakably a 20th century experience of being in the present times of modern Thailand where the service, one can assume, was as authentic as can be expected from a five star hotel.  Without the usual lace and chintz, the ritual wasn’t short of its olden days flair.  Orchids replaced Victorian florals, but Queen Victoria would have loved it just the same.  The fact that this was Thailand made it for even better care, because the culture knows nothing less than acknowledging the nobility in you, (and themselves in you) by Buddhist belief and practice.  Queen or not, you felt like one.  You’ll be in great hands for a luxurious tête-à-tête at this venue.

Although my favorite is Earl Grey with a dollop of Devonshire cream, I ordered lemongrass tea which came piping hot, as it always should. The setting offered a wet and fragrant hand towel, neatly rolled on a bamboo tray, to prepare my hands with pristine value of cleanliness. As pictured above, the menu included classic savories of the following:

Brie de Maux (cucumber sandwich)

Salmon brioche with yuzu cream and dill

King prawn, egg and poppy seed croissant

Peppered ham and tomato in grain bread canape

Frittata with figs and spicy chorizo and

Smoked chicken with mango salsa served in a milk bun

As for the Pastries:

Chestnut Profiterole with Chantilly

Strawberry Romanoff with cassis jelly

Mango tartlet with vanilla patissier and lavender truffle

Financier pastry with berry yolk and rose petal

Caramel Lingot- a praline sable

Madeleine with candied violet

Macaroon with raspberry and poppy seed

Plain and Raisin Scones with fresh cream and preserves.

Then in December just before Christmas, I treated the girls (who dated my sons) to a Teddy Bear Tea offered by The Westgate in downtown San Diego. While it offered a full afternoon of entertainment with Santa, Mrs. Clause, a juggler and a story teller, the tea itself was an opportunity to chat with each other and have some simple fun around little presents.

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The table and setting was soft and pretty with natural light peering through from behind us, by a large window. It was as sweet as I imagined it to be, but short of the harpist who usually plays during normal afternoon teas.

 

The event was designed to include activities for children whose parents brought them along for the Christmas holiday spirit. The kitchen was a bit frazzled, probably by the size of its turnout, with sandwiches getting dry before it reached its tables. But we had a fun time and since talked about doing it again. Only next time, at my home.

The girls were adorable and so of course were the teddy bears!

They joked that the highlight was storytelling, having lined themselves up with the other little children, after tea was served. No, they did not sit on Santa’s lap! Haha! We then hit the mall in Fashion Valley where we shopped for presents to give to our guys, and then had dinner afterwards. Below are the rest of the photos from that day.

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And onto other places for tea, I also recommend the Tower Suite Cafe at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.

Here is what composed their trays in January of 2012:

Smoked salmon and chive cream cheese sandwich

Deviled egg salad served on Brioche

Cucumber and watercress spread

Chicken salad sandwich

Prosciutto, asparagus and cream cheese sandwich

Scones with Devonshire cream and homemade jams and lemon curd

…and other pastry delights like macaroons and chocolate ganache petite fours

 

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