Tea and Donuts
Throughout the anglicised world, tea time is a sacred time. Tea and cake. Tea and Biscuits. Elevenses. It is not a meal time to be messed with, infringed upon or tarted up. That is until David’s Tea and Cartems Donuts of Vancouver showed up at this 11 o’clock rodeo.
I found David’s Tea by accident, lured by the bright turquoise lights and two questions “Who is David?” and “What does he know about tea that I don’t?” I have no idea who David is, but he sure knows how to stock a store full of mesmerising merchandise. They could’ve been selling just about anything in those colourful shiny jars – tea leaves, freeze-dried fish nuggets, Chinese herbal medicine, dead babies fingers – and I would’ve bought it. I would’ve happily parted with the Queen’s dollars for grams of whatever was so wonderfully dressed up like Willy Wonka’s Wonderland. The tasting and sniffing of fruit flowery infusions was fun too, and because it was so similar to a wine tasting, I was immediately lured in. Needless to say, I bought a small bundle of teas, cups and other tea-related paraphernalia. Well played David, you’ve got me hooked.
Well played David, you’ve got me hooked.
My all-natural Earl Grey is fragrant without being overly perfumed as most supermarket brands seem to be these days. It is nicely balanced, a strong black tea with distinct bergamot bouquet that is great with or without milk, and didn’t need any additional sugar (for reasons explained below). I also took home some Toasted Walnut Green tea with dried pineapple, coconut and almond. I’ve never noticed before that walnut and green tea are very similar flavours – buttery, nutty, with strong bitter tannins. Delicious! And for a take away I opted for Coffee Pu’erh. I’m not even sure what this is but it surely tasted wonderful. Somewhere between the Land of Coffee and the Land of Tea is Coffee Pu’erh Island. Tea with coffee beans, chocolate and almond bits. I wish I had bought some more to take home.
Later in the day, a friendly waitress points me in the direction of Cartems Donuts. She points excitedly in a vague southerly direction, while grinning and mouthing the words “Earl Grey Donuts”. I try desperately to take some notes (I’ve seen this wide-eyed look before – it means ‘Pay attention, it’s delicious”). Unfortunately in her ecstasy, she didn’t make too much sense and for the life of me I couldn’t spell Cartems. Cartons? Cardoms? Condoms? (Condom Donuts? That can’t be right) No idea.
Then by chance, Mimi of Vancouver told me about them too! This time I got a correctly spelled name, and yet no one seemed to know where to buy these elusive donuts. Today myself and Emily, also of Vancouver, made it our mission to source out these delicious little bastards. With the aid of Google, and some dogged-donut perseverance we found Cartems. It’s a nondescript shop on a busy corner, well serviced by Vancouver’s finest and friendliest drug dealers. It’s no coincidence that it is from the corner of Carrall and W Hastings, that Cartems peddle their wares.
Earl Grey Donuts were a must – and paired with my David’s Earl Grey Tea was just perfect. The sweetness and heaviness of the donut complimented perfectly the clear bright acidity of the tea. Double Earls. Lucky me.
Recommended by Lovely Donut Dealer Lady was the Bee Sting. Wait for it: Parmesan, Crushed Black Pepper with a Honey Glaze!!! Yes. That’s right. This confirms the well-known scientific fact that anything deep-fried is converted into something delicious. The Parmesan has a deep, nuttiness that we all love, the pepper gives it some flavour that is more smell than taste, and honey plus cheese is always a Thumbs Up. And it’s deep fried. Yes! I also picked out a Maple and Walnut one, but I can only eat two donuts in one day, and I think the writings on the wall here: I’m hooked.
Still the best tea mug I’ve ever used: shop here
Note from Katy: I only spelled ‘doughnuts’ as ‘donuts’ because that’s how Cartems spell them. Don’t argue with the Chef.
*Previously posted on May 14, 2013