Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 12, 2011

Foreign Correspondent: Returning to Turkey

Our second  Foreign Correspondent is here! Stacy, her husband, and her two children traveled to Istanbul and Jerusalem this summer. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is the first part of their adventure.

We were thrilled to be heading to Istanbul for a few days before our (nearly) annual voyage to see my husband’s family in Jerusalem.

 

Istanbul is an absolutely stunning city.  Its history is rich – it’s been the capital of one empire after another for 1600 years – Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.  The first thing we noticed in Istanbul was that there is literally water everywhere you look.  The original parts of the city are on a peninsula surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus Sea and its arm called the Golden Horn.  The Bosphorus splits Istanbul between two continents, Europe and Asia.  We stayed on the more historic European side, but our views were mainly of the very lovely and green Asian side of the city.

We had a picture perfect day to take a cruise on the Bosphorus. The stand outs for me were the fortresses scattered on the European and Asian shorelines.  It was interesting to think of the role the Bosphorus has played throughout history, including World Wars I and II, and then see the fortresses the different empires built at one point or another in a effort to protect their interests and sovereignty.   One impressive structure, the Rumeli Hisari or European Fortress, was built in the mid-1400s in just 4 months and stands to this day as a museum.

The architecture along the Bosphorus stood out as well.  The homes and palaces lining the waterway are a mixture of old seaside mansions and modern residences or second homes.  Some are made of marble and some wood.

September 9, 2011

Inside Studio T: Activity Book Art

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Have you ordered from Tea recently? If so, you may have received an extra little something in your package – our first ever Tea Activity Book! Entitled “Let’s Go There” it is a visual journey into the world of Modern Mexico, with word searches, puzzles, and a bounty of images to color. Some of them you may even recognize from our collection of clothing, such as our Cool Coyote.

The book above was colored in by Avalon, age 5, who did a spectacular job. Great work Avalon! You are well on your way to becoming a little artista. We’ll do our best to bring you more Tea Activity Books every season.

September 7, 2011

Ándale Ándale!

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

There are countless creative ways to get around Mexico – by truck, vespa, motorcycle, bus, tractor, and even donkey. At Tea we always love experiencing all of these different forms of transportation when we travel on our destination trips, and Mexico was no exception. Taxis come in many forms in Mexico, such as the two examples we found above. The most commonly seen taxis however, are the brightly-painted green Volkswagon beetles that zoom around the streets of Mexico City:

Our designers were so inspired by the bright green cheerful taxis that they incorporated them into our Andale Taxi Tee:

What’s your favorite way to travel in other countries?

September 2, 2011

Inside Studio T: Sample Sale in Action

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Last week we mentioned we were hosting a Sample Sale for our local Tea fans. It was a wonderful success, with crowds of people showing up at T2 in San Francisco both weekends to buy clothes from past seasons.

Tea fans braved long lines with their children, starting early in the morning before doors were even open. Over a thousand people turned out over the two weekends.

We loved the opportunity to meet our local customers face-to-face, and meet all the kids that showed up:

A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped us set up and break down our Sample Sale! We couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you to our customers, who after hours of waiting in line still greeted us with a smile when they walked in the door. You are why we love doing what we do.

September 1, 2011

Tortilla Soup

I am a soup addict. Every weekend I’ll make a huge pot and eat it for lunch throughout the week. My soup phases have become a way of marking time and seasons – last winter I made a lot of chicken noodle soup, butternut squash soup, and carrot ginger soup. Roasted red pepper soup reminds me of living in Berkeley two years ago, as the red peppers at the farmer’s market were too beautiful not to buy. This summer I’m all about zucchini green chile, cream of cauliflower, and cream of spinach soup.  Last night I made a new soup – roasted tomato and eggplant, with lots of garlic. It’s pretty good. I think I’ll add it into the regular rotation.

photo by Elise Bauer

One of my favorite soups fits perfectly into our Modern Mexico destination, and I thought I’d share my favorite version of the recipe. Tortilla Soup is one of those soups that is flexible – it has a list of ingredients, but you can add and remove things depending on what you have in the kitchen. I love the extra step of making my own tortilla chips.

This recipe is by the wonderful Elise Bauer, from her site Simply Recipes. Almost all of my soup recipes have originated from her website, though many I’ve changed slightly over time. All parentheses below are my notes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 6-inch corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, peanut oil, other high smoke-point oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so usually quadruple this.)
  • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped. (If you can find New Mexican green chiles these are my favorite. Roast them and remove the skin and seeds while wearing gloves).
  • 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I once tried fresh which was nice and made the soup lighter, but doesn’t haves as much flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (boil chicken until cooked, shred with fork)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (I love cilantro so I use a full cup)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

 

1 If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don’t have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

2 Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.

3 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Yield: Serves 4.