Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tea From Taiwan Wu Ling Oolong Tea Review

Wu Ling Oolong Tea is a very good oolong tea that I ordered from Tea from Taiwan. The tea came as part of the Chong Pei Sample Pack in a 7 gram vacuum sealed foil bag. Inside the bag were whole, unbroken leaves attached to the stem. The tea is a light green oolong variety, and brews to a pale yellow green color. There wasn't a very prominent aroma, but the flavor was light, a bit vegetal, and delicious. The tea was not at all bitter, and was smooth and refreshing.

Rating: ****

Here is an excerpt from Tea From Taiwan's website.

Wu Ling oolong tea (wu-long tea) is our best tea in our regular collection. Wu Ling is a mountain area in Taichung county and its high altitude (more than 2000 meters) contributes to the ideal growing conditions for wu long tea.

Another reason why Wu Ling wu long tea is of such fine quality is the soil of the Wu Ling area. Wu Ling was a fruit producing region for many years until economic conditions favored imported fruit over home-grown apples and pears. Former orchards in the Wu Ling area were converted into oolong tea plantations, and Wu Ling wu long tea is renowned for its fruity quality.

Wu Ling is located on Mount Li (Li Shan or Pear Mountain) and wu long tea from Mount Li is the most prized wu long tea in Taiwan. It is ideally suited for gong fu style brewing and can be re-brewed up to eight times while still retaining plenty of flavor.

More information about the Li Shan area of Taiwan (including a section on Wu Ling wu long tea) can be found on this website about Wu Ling farm.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Ten Ren Tea Organic Genmaicha Tea Review

Ten Ren Tea's Organic Genmaicha tea is a fantastic tea. The genmaicha tea combines green sencha tea with roasted brown rice. The tea brews to a pale yellow color, and has a prominent roasted rice aroma. The tea leaves are slender and mostly broken in some way, with a few stems included. The flavor is very smooth with no bitterness at all. The flavor is prominent with roasted rice, with a light green tea flavor in the background. The tea is excellent by itself or with food, particularly East Asian food (I prefer to drink the tea while eating). The tea was good for two steepings. Some people may not appreciate the roasted rice flavor being more prominent than the green tea flavor, but I love it. Keep in mind that this is not a fancy and expensive tea with a host of complex flavors, but it's more akin to simple Asian comfort food.

Rating: **** ½

Here's an excerpt from Ten Ren's website.
Ten Ren's Organic Genmaicha tea is comprised of organic sencha green tea blended with organic roasted brown rice. A third party European agency has certified that this tea has been grown with organic farming methods with no chemical pesticides used in cultivation. The steeped tea has a light yellow hue with a roasted rice aroma and fresh undertones. The taste is pleasantly smooth with a hint of roasted rice and a mild aftertaste. This tea is often consumed in Japan and Japanese restaurants with green tea powder added. Genmaicha may be enjoyed hot or chilled, with or without green tea powder added.

The water used to steep this tea should be about 160-180°F or 70-80°C. Use about 1.5 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea leaves for about every 5 ounces (150 ml) of water. A steeping time of about 3-5 minutes is recommended with more or less time depending on the desired concentration. As a rough guide, the higher the temperature of the water or the greater the amount of leaves used, the shorter the steeping time should be. The use of a covered glass or ceramic cup is recommended for steeping in order to appreciate the tea leaves.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ten Ren Tea Tung Ting Supreme Oolong Tea Review

Ten Ren Tea's Tung Ting Supreme Oolong tea is a good green oolong tea. The tea (sometimes rendered as dong ding tea) is composed of tightly rolled whole tea leaves, many of which were still attached to the stem. The tea is pale gold in color, and has a slight vegetal aroma. The flavor is a bit on the mild side, but gets a bit stronger at the back and sides of the mouth as you swallow. The tea was good for about three steepings, and I found the second steeping to be the best (consistent mellow flavor).

Rating: *** ½

Here's an excerpt from Ten Ren's website.

The leaves of Tung Ting Supreme Oolong are grown in the Tung Ting region of Taiwan at the specific elevation of 2500 feet/740 meters. At this elevation, the leaves absorb moisture from the surrounding fog and clouds every morning and every afternoon which is ideal for Oolong plants. Due to the unique geographic location and stringent selection of leaves, this is the finest Tung Ting Oolong from the Tung Ting estate.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Volpi Sopressata Salame Review

Volpi Foods' Sopressata Salame is an enjoyable sausage that I purchased at Trader Joe's. I bought it because it's made with all natural ingredients without any nitrates or nitrites, and because I love soppressata. The 8 oz. salami is encased in a collagen casing that's to be removed before eating. The soppressata was surprisingly milder in flavor and much less salty than I was expecting. Although mild, the salami had a nice savory flavor. I tend to prefer stronger flavors, so I thought the soppressata would have been better if it had a bit more bold and complex character (and were a bit saltier and tangier), but nevertheless I quite enjoyed the salami. Rather than the whole black peppercorns one would often see in store bought soppressata, Volpi's had what looked like specks of ground black pepper in it. A lot of store bought soppressata also tends to have larger nodules of fat, but Volpi's is finer in texture. Overall, a good and enjoyable soppressata, and a soppressata of choice due to no nitrites and relatively low cost.

Rating: *** ½

Here's an except from Volpi's website.

This salame originates in the Veneto Region. A delicate sophistication exudes throughout this region, its people and its cuisine. Our Sopressata mirrors this refined lifestyle.
  • Recommended Storage Temperature: Keep Refrigerated (less than or equal to 72° F)
  • Shelf Life from production: 180 days
  • Serving Suggestions: Stands alone for a classic antipasto or adds spice to any sandwich, grilled or cold.
Packaging a bit different (sold at Trader Joe's)
Sliced, with the collagen casing removed

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ten Ren Tea King's 509 Dark Super Fine Oolong Tea Review

Ten Ren Tea's King's 509 Dark Super Fine Oolong tea is a unique, but quite good black oolong tea. It's unique in that it has ginseng added to the tea and has a very smooth roasted flavor. King's 509 tea leaves are dark and rolled up with a few stems dispersed throughout the tea. The tea has a roasted aroma, and the tea is amber in color. The flavor is interesting, as it is very reminiscent of roasted barley tea, with some black tea notes. This oolong doesn't have the characteristic vegetal taste as green oolongs. It has a much bolder roasted flavor, but is still very smooth and is not as strong as a black tea. I cannot discern any ginseng flavor, but after drinking the tea I do feel more alert and energetic. The tea is good for at least three steepings, maybe more. King's 509 is a great tea to drink that's soothing, yet gives you a boost.

Rating: ****

Here's an excerpt from Ten Ren's website.

TenRen's King's Dark Oolong Super Fine consists of the finest oolong harvested during the premium seasons, spring and winter, and from the best area to grow oolong, the mountains of central Taiwan. Each tea leaf is handpicked to ensure harvests of young terminal buds. The steeped tea has a light golden brown hue, prominent roasted aroma with sweet undertones, the initial flavor of roasted chestnuts, and a strong lasting, sweet and roasted aftertaste which lingers at the back of the throat.

The water used to steep this tea should be about 185-195°F or 85-90°C. Use about 2 teaspoons (3 g) of tea leaves for about every 5 ounces (150 mL) of water. A steeping time of about 3-5 minutes with more or less time is recommended depending on the desired concentration. As a rough guide, the higher the temperature of the water or the greater the amount of leaves used, the shorter the steeping time should be. For the ultimate enjoyment, a traditional Chinese Yixing teapot is recommended for loose oolong tea. The teapot should be half filled with leaves and initially steeped for 45 seconds to 1 minute with the steeping time increased by an additional 15 seconds for each successive steeping. The leaves may be steeped multiple times.



Ten Ren's website also gives an overview of their King's oolong tea line.

King's Tea, a TenRen exclusive, is made of high quality oolong tea blended with a touch of ginseng to create an incredible aftertaste. The tea has the rich smooth taste of oolong with an aftertaste which is sweeter and longer lasting than the traditional oolong tea. The bitter tartness associated with ginseng can not be tasted in this tea. King's Tea is offered in two varieties, Green and Dark, each in several different grades. The Green and Dark King's Teas are determined by how long the base oolong is baked, with Dark ones baked longer than Green ones. The different grades depend on the quality of the oolong leaves. Try this unique tea and taste why it is popular in southern Asia.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ten Ren Tea 2011 First Flush Dragon Well Tea Review

Ten Ren Tea's 2011 First Flush Dragon Well is a very nice Dragon Well green tea. This tea is composed of young buds and unbroken tea leaves, with a few stems. The aroma is very vegetal, and so is the taste. The flavor is very good and savory, and has an almost seaweed-like quality. The tea has very little bitterness or astringency, and has a smooth clean taste. The big negative aspect is that, as it is a first flush tea, the tea is expensive. I can't help but think that one could get a slightly lower grade Dragon Well at a lower price that has a comparable experience, but my experience with Dragon Well is very limited. Still, over all a very good tea.

Rating: ****

Here's an excerpt from Ten Ren's website.

The 2011 First Flush Dragon Well is the finest and freshest Dragon Well available. Harvested at the very beginning of the Spring harvest and before the Ming festival, this Dragon Well is in very limited quantities. The First Flush Dragon Well is also know as "Head" tea as it is the first and best of the season.


The tea leaves are a bright spring green color and the tea has a pale green color, fresh taste with roasted undertones, and a clean aftertaste.


A steeping time of 1 to 2 minutes with about 70°C/160°F water is recommended, with an additional 15 seconds for each successive infusion. Use about 1 tablespoon (3 grams) of tea leaves for about every 5 ounces (150 ml) of water. This tea may be infused 3 or more times. The use of a covered glass or ceramic cup is recommended for steeping in order to fully appreciate the tea leaves.
Slightly dilute

Monday, July 04, 2011

Ten Ren Tea Supreme Chinese High Mountain Oolong Tea Review

Ten Ren Tea's Supreme Chinese High Mountain Oolong tea is a good and enjoyable green oolong tea. The tea was tightly rolled, with a few stems and very few broken leaves. The tea's aroma is vegetal, and when steeped the color is a pale yellow. The tea has a good vegetal oolong tea flavor, but is not as bold or complex as some Taiwanese oolong teas. The tea was good for about two steepings. Nevertheless, this is still a solid and enjoyable tea.

Rating: *** ½

Here's an excerpt from Ten Ren's website.

Ten Ren Tea's Supreme Chinese High Mountain Oolong consists of the finest oolong harvested during the spring season. This tea is grown in the high mountains of China. Each tea leaf is handpicked to ensure the best quality. When brewed, it produces a light yellow hue, a strong smooth floral taste, a fresh scent, and a pleasant lasting aftertaste.


The water used to steep this tea should be about 185-195°F or 85-90°C. Use about 2 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea leaves for about every 5 ounces (150 milliliters) of water. A steeping time of about 3-5 minutes is recommended with more or less time depending on the desired concentration. As a rough guide, the higher the temperature of the water or the greater the amount of leaves used, the shorter the steeping time should be.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Ten Ren Tea Ten Li (Tianli) Tea Review

Ten Ren's Ten Li (Tianli) tea is an excellent Taiwanese green oolong tea. The tea leaves are tightly rolled, and are unbroken with no stems. The aroma is fragrant with a vegetal character. The color of the steeped tea is a pale golden yellow-green. The taste of the tea is vegetal and very smooth, with the slightest astringent character. It has a very good and complex oolong tea flavor, and even seems to have a mouth watering savory taste. The tea was good for about three steepings. I tried a 0.32 oz. sampler, and I think the only negative thing there is to say about this tea is that it does carry a high price. Other than that, Ten Li is an excellent oolong tea. 

Rating: **** ½

Here's an excerpt from Ten Ren's website.

Tianli is TenRen's most unique and highest quality Oolong. Grown in the Li Mountains of Taiwan, this tea is harvested at the highest elevation of 1200 meters in an isolated area. Due to the cold weather and relatively harsh environment, the plants grow at a very slow rate and in small quantities. The tea is either harvested during the winter or summer and sometimes only once during the entire year. After the harvest, the leaves are carefully handled and aerated during the long ride to the nearest tea master. Despite the difficult growing conditions, the leaves are selected as the highest quality of Oolong. This casnister comes in a satin lined green gift box. The steeped tea has a pale yellow-green color matching its faint fresh scent. Once tasted, the tea presents itself with a fresh taste followed by a sweet smooth aftertaste.

The water used to steep this tea should be about 185-195°F or 85-90°C. Use about 2 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea leaves for about every 5 ounces (150 milliliters) of water. A steeping time of about 3-5 minutes is recommended with more or less time depending on the desired concentration. As a rough guide, the higher the temperature of the water or the greater the amount of leaves used, the shorter the steeping time should be. The tea leaves should uncurl for full flavor. For the ultimate enjoyment, a traditional Chinese Yixing teapot is recommended for loose oolong tea. The teapot should be half filled with leaves and initially steeped for 45 seconds to 1 minute with the steeping time increased by an additional 15 seconds for each successive steeping. The leaves may be steeped multiple times.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Thanh Son Tofu Review

Thanh Son Tofu is always packed on the weekends
Thanh Son Tofu at the Eden Center in Falls Church, VA is a great little hole in the wall with just a couple of small tables that serves all kinds of tofu products, tapioca drinks, puddings, and other rice/soy/tofu-based desserts. However, the only thing I ever get there is the fried tofu to go. Their fried tofu is an excellent bargain, and is delicious as well. For just $1, you can get 7 pieces of plain fried tofu, 5 pieces of mushroom and onion, or 3 pieces of lemongrass and chili fried tofu. The plain tofu is a little too plain, so I stick with the mushroom and lemongrass tofu. The mushroom tofu has a nice fried exterior with savory mushroom and onion bits interspersed in the tofu. The lemongrass tofu has a nice citrus and onion flavor and has chili in it but is not spicy. The fried tofu is a perfect accompaniment to a bánh mì sandwich that you can pick up in the many cafes at the Eden Center.

Rating: ****

Lemongrass/chili (left) and mushroom/onion fried tofu
Thanh Son Tofu
6793-A Wilson Blvd.
Falls Church, VA 22044
703-534-1202

Friday, July 01, 2011

Iceberry Review

Iceberry is a frozen yogurt chain with a location in Reston Town Center (Iceberry's website lists other locations). Like Pinkberry and its many clones, Iceberry serves tart frozen yogurt with a choice of toppings such as fresh fruit, nuts, cookies, mochi, etc. Iceberry's selection of original, honeydew, green tea, and chocolate flavors aren't as tart as Pinkberry, and generally the flavor falls a little short of the Pinkberry gold standard. The quality and freshness of the fruit toppings can also sometimes be a little spotty (particularly in the winter), and the yogurt itself can't exactly be considered a bargain. However, what makes Iceberry worth going to is the honeydew flavor yogurt. Iceberry's honeydew flavor yogurt is a fantastic dessert that combines the flavor of tart frozen yogurt with that of a Melona bar. If you've ever enjoyed Pinkberry yogurt and melon bars, you'll love Iceberry's hondeydew frozen yogurt. A medium three topping serving makes a perfect dessert for two on a hot day.

Pro
  • Honeydew flavor is fantastic

Con
  • Pricey, especially compared to newer frozen yogurt places that charge by the ounce
  • Occasional issues with fruit freshness/ripeness, particularly in the wintertime

Rating: ****

Medium Honeydew
Toppings
Iceberry
11990 Market St. #C
Reston, VA 20190

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


I've never eaten real Italian Pasta alla Carbonara, but this video makes it look insanely good with loads of parmigiano and pecorino cheese "amalgamated" with pasta starch water and egg. The closest I've had is a creamy version from a take out place on the island of Santorini that was, while not authentically Italian, still an outstanding dish. After watching this, I've just got to try the real thing! The video was taken from the kitchen of Giancarlone in Rome. It doesn't look like I can embed the video (it was taken down from Youtube), so here's the link to the video from italianfoodnet.com.

Buon appetito!

In case the video gets taken down again, here's the text recipe from italianfoodnet.com that I've slightly edited.
Spaghetti Carbonara (Spaghetti alla Carbonara)
Ingredients for 4 persons
  • 360 gr. (12.69 oz.) Spaghetti
  • 60 gr. (2.11 oz.) Guanciale (Pork cheek)
  • 80 gr. (2.82 oz.) Parmesan cheese
  • 80 gr. (2.82 oz.) Pecorino cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Pour the extra virgin olive oil into the frying pan, add a handful of diced guanciale* (per person) and 1 teaspoon of black pepper which seasons the sauce, and put the pan on a low heat [note: it looks from the video that 1 tsp. of black pepper is added per person]
  2. Meanwhile crack the whole egg (1 per person) into a dish, beat it with a fork, and add a pinch of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of fresh grated pecorino (ewe's cheese), and a half tablespoon of parmesan and beat it again amalgamating all ingredients
  3. Now put the spaghetti into a pot of boiling salted water, 90-110 Gr. (3.17-3.88 Oz.) per person
  4. Continue to cook the guanciale on low heat until becomes crispy
  5. Once guanciale is crispy, to make a tender pasta, add a little pasta cooking water into the pan (in this way the starch of the water helps to amalgamate all ingredients), turn off the heat and wait for the end of the pasta cooking time
  6. Once Spaghetti are cooked "al dente", before draining, place the pan on the stove and heat the sauce
  7. At this point drain the pasta and put it into the pan, add a little more pasta cooking water, take the cheese/egg mixture, beat it again and pour into the pan
  8. Stir slowly, sautè, add a little pecorino cheese, a little parmesan cheese, and a little more pasta cooking water
  9. Stir again over low heat, and if the pan is too hot remove it from heat
  10. Transfer the pasta to a serving dish garnished with a little pecorino and a parmesan, add the sauce all over spaghetti and serve
*Guanciale is traditionally used to make the real and classic Carbonara recipe, if you don't find guanciale use a good quality bacon or pancetta.

Please, try it without cream or other ingredients and you'll taste the difference, enjoy your meal!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout Review

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout is simply an outstanding beer. The beer is pitch black in color, and has a malty aroma. The beer has a long lasting creamy head, is low in carbonation, and has moderate lacing. Due to the oatmeal, the beer is unbelievably smooth for a stout, and is thick and full-bodied. The taste is bittersweet, and is of roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate. I not to prefer bitter beers, and this beer only has the slightest bitterness, which is well balanced by the beer's sweetness. The only negative thing I can say about the stout is that there isn't an expiration date printed on the bottle. Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout is truly a great beer and is highly recommended.

Rating: **** ½

Here's an excerpt from Samuel Smith's website.

Brewed with well water (the original well at the Old Brewery, sunk in 1758, is still in use, with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground); fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ to create an almost opaque, wonderfully silky and smooth textured ale with a complex medium dry palate and bittersweet finish.

Best served at about 55°F (13°C).

Ingredients • Water, malted barley, cane sugar, roasted malt, yeast, hops, oatmeal, seaweed finings, carbon dioxide.

And here's another excerpt from the importer's website (Merchant du Vin).

At one time promoted as a drink for lactating mothers, oatmeal stout was described as nutritional on early labels. Oats are in the same family as barley, and a small addition yields great flavor and adds smooth body. Popular in the late 1800's, the last oatmeal stout was brewed before the First World War until Samuel Smith reintroduced this style in 1980.

Almost opaque, with an unusually silky texture and complex, medium-dry velvet palate. Bittersweet finish.

ABV: 5.0% - OG: 1.050 - IBU: 32

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Twinings Green Tea Review

Twinings Green Tea is a sencha style tea. I was able to try a single tea bag, and I wasn't impressed. The tea had a slightly vegetal, astringent, and bitter flavor. Perhaps I just prefer Chinese green teas to Japanese sencha, but I won't be purchasing this tea in the future.

Rating: **

Here's an excerpt from the Twinings website.

Pure and Natural green tea; smooth in flavor and refreshing taste.

Green tea is known for its smooth flavor and refreshing taste. Green teas are made from leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, the same leaves as black tea. Green teas go through a process where the leaves are heated to prevent oxidation while black teas are oxidized for additional color and flavor. The result is a delicious tea that brews to a light golden color and unique flavor. Twinings Green Tea is a style called "Sencha", known for its smooth, mild characteristics.

Light Flavour Strength

Monday, June 27, 2011

Twinings China Oolong Tea Review

Twinings China Oolong Tea is a tea that I purchased after enjoying Twinings' black teas. I do love oolong teas, and I thought I'd give Twinings' oolong tea bags a try. Twinings China Oolong Tea is a completely unremarkable tea, with only the faintest hint that it is an oolong tea at all. I was very disappointed, and will be sticking to premium loose leaf oolong teas in the future.

Rating: * ½

Here's an excerpt from the Twinings website.
Oolong teas, hybrid between black and green tea. A slightly sweet and delicate tea with a reddish color.

Oolong teas are principally sourced from China and mainly from the Fujian Province. It is said that Oolong tea first began to be produced at Mount Wu Yi Shan in Fujian Province at the end of the Ming Dynasty about 400 years ago. Oolong teas are partially oxidized or semi fermented which occurs when the leaves are gently shaken. It is this process which gives Oolong teas their reddish appearance and slightly sweet flavor. Great to drink with lunch or in the afternoon, this tea is best served with milk and sweetened to taste.

Light Flavour Strength

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clipdraw Review


Over the years I've bought a number of IWB holsters, but I've never been satisfied with them and they're all sitting in storage unused. The chief complaint I had with them is that they are just too thick and uncomfortable to wear. I've tried nylon, Kydex, and leather holsters to no avail. I prefer concealed carry over open carry so I tried the Clipdraw, and it's my preferred mode of concealed carry along with the Thunderwear.

I first tried the 1911 Clipdraw (#1911-B) with my Les Baer SRP. Installation was simply a matter of removing the right side grip panel, placing the Clipdraw on the grip, and then screwing the grip panel on top of the Clipdraw. Unfortunately, the 1911 Clipdraw does not work with some ambidextrous safeties, so I had to cut a notch in the Clipdraw with a Dremel tool in order to clear the ambi safety. Not having the width of a holster made carrying very comfortable. I only carry with the Clipdraw with an untucked shirt or sweater, and carry on my strong side hip slightly to the rear. When I'm not wearing a sweater or need to tuck my shirt in, I use the Thunderwear instead. Using the Clipdraw conceals the gun very well, and is comfortable to use.


The Universal Clipdaw model for semi-automatics sticks on the slide with a special tape, and works perfectly as advertised. I have the nickle plated model (#SA-S) on my Kahr TP9. The clip can be removed while leaving the leaving the tape and mounting plate in place if you want to temporarily put the gun in a holster. I like the Universal model because it's small, versatile (you can choose how high or low to mount the gun on your waist), and has a lot of clip tension for better retention. I would even use it for a 1911 instead of the dedicated 1911 Clipdraw due to the Universal model having more clip tension as well as being able to be used with any ambidextrous safety without modification (although you can always increase or decrease clip tension by manually bending the clip).


Pro
  • Conceals very well under an untucked shirt or sweater
  • Comfortable to use due to no added thickness from a holster
  • Can be quickly drawn by pulling up untucked shirt first
  • Can switch to using a holster with little effort
    • Remove the clip on the Universal model
    • Undo the right grip panel and remove the Clipdraw for the 1911 model
Con
  • Must wear an untucked shirt or sweater, or a jacket that you do not plan on taking off
  • Retention is a potential problem depending on how a number of factors
    • The Semi-Auto Universal Clipdraw has more tension in the clip than the 1911 model (though you can increase tension on the 1911 model by bending the clip)
    • Clipping over a belt helps by creating more clip tension if too loose, but also works well clipped under a belt
    • Loose pants at the waistband coupled with insufficient clip tension is detrimental to retention
  • I like my guns canted forward a bit and the Clipdraw will allow this, but after a long day the gun sometimes end up vertical as depicted in the pictures above
    • Depends on clip tension and/or tightness of pants waistband
  • Trigger is theoretically not as well protected as having tougher holster material covering trigger
    • I would only use on guns with a manual safety or a with a long or heavy trigger pull just to be on the safe side
    • Saf-T-Blok
    • The manufacturer does not recommend using the Clipdraw with a Glock that has a round in the chamber due to its light short trigger pull with no manual safety, though they do have a safe workaround with their Saf-T-Blok trigger safety for Glocks
  • Because the Clipdraw puts the gun right up against your body, wide protuberance like a wide safety/decocker or slidestop may dig into or abrade your skin
The Clipdraw, particularly the Semi-Auto Universal model, is a great product for concealed carry while wearing a jacket or untucked shirt. I recommend it highly. Although I listed more Cons than Pros, none of the potential downsides significantly affect or bother me except that the Clipdraw doesn't allow for a tucked in shirt without a jacket (I use a Thunderwear when I need a tucked in shirt with no jacket). I haven't tried these, but there's also dedicated Clipdraw models for the Glock and J-frame S&W revolvers, as well as a Universal revolver model. There's many more details to note about this product, and Clipdraw has a great and comprehensive review from Combat Handguns posted on their website. Average Joe also has a good review.

Rating: **** ½

Monday, June 20, 2011

Twinings Lady Grey Tea Review

Twinings Lady Grey Tea is a nice light tea that I bought as part of the Twinings Black Tea Variety Pack. Twinings Lady Grey takes the classic taste of Earl Grey and tweaks it by augmenting the bergamot flavoring with the taste of oranges and a hint of lemon. The tea is smooth, light, and has a refreshingly bright orange citrus flavor.

Rating: *** ½

Here's an excerpt from the Twinings website.
A refreshing, light black tea with the distinctive citrus fruit flavor of bergamot to deliver an uplifting tea with vibrant aroma and zesty flavors of orange and lemon.

Lady Grey Tea is a unique blend from Twinings. This delicious black tea has a light and gentle citrus flavour that is both relaxing and refreshing. Lady Grey is perfect in the morning with breakfast or for afternoon tea. Enjoy it with a little milk, or with sweetener, or to your liking.

Ingredients: Black Tea, Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Citrus Flavouring

Light Flavour Strength

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twinings Earl Grey Tea Review

Twinings Earl Grey Tea is a terrific tea that I bought as part of the Twinings Black Tea Variety Pack, and I'd expect no less from the inventors of Earl Grey tea. The flavor can best be described as being balanced, with the perfect mix of quality black tea and bergamot flavoring. Other Earl Greys I've tried were either lacking in bergamot flavor, or were too tart. Twinings' tea seems to have the blend just right. The tea is smooth and mild, and is great any time of day.

Rating: ****

Here's an except from the Twinings website.
Fine black tea expertly blended with the citrus fruit flavor of bergamot, to deliver an uplifting tea with a unique floral aroma and refreshing taste.

Twinings has been blending my family tea for years. Today, I am proud to continue this tradition with the tea celebrated throughout the world known as Twinings Earl Grey. Legend has it, that my ancestor, the second Earl Grey, was presented with this exquisite recipe by an envoy on his return from China.

Light Flavour Strength

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea Review

Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea is a nice tea that I bought as part of the Twinings Black Tea Variety Pack. The Irish Breakfast tea is quite smooth, not at all bitter, and has a nice black tea flavor. I've only had it black without milk or sugar, as I prefer my tea unsweetened and without milk. I was expecting the tea to be quite strong, but found it to be smooth and mellow. All in all a good, solid tea.

Rating: *** ½

Here's an except from the Twinings website.
A strong, full-bodied black tea from the regions of Ceylon and Assam expertly blended with a hearty flavor and delightful aroma.

The Irish really love their tea and are amongst the most frequent drinkers of tea around the world. In celebration of this tea drinking tradition, Twinings blended a special Irish Breakfast Blend. This tea is best taken with milk and sweetened to taste to bring out the best flavour.

Robust Flavour Strength

Friday, June 17, 2011

Twinings English Breakfast Tea Review

Twinings English Breakfast Tea is a decent tea that I bought as part of the Twinings Black Tea Variety Pack. The tea is smooth, and has a bit of an astringent characteristic. It's got a prominent black tea flavor and aftertaste, which to me is a bit stronger than Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea, although Twinings lists the English Breakfast Tea as Medium and the Irish Breakfast Tea as Robust in flavor. I also tried the tea sweetened and with half and half, but much prefer the tea black.

Rating: ***

Here's an except from the Twinings website.

A rich & satisfying robust black tea. The robust, malty character of this tea comes from pure Assam and Kenyan tea leaves grown in India.

Twinings English Breakfast Tea was originally blended to complement the traditional, hearty English Breakfast, from which its name derives. The refreshing and invigorating flavour makes English Breakfast one of the of the most popular black teas to drink at any time or occasion - not just for breakfast. English Breakfast can be enjoyed with or without milk, sweetened or unsweetened - the choice is yours.


Medium Flavour Strength