Tea, oysters and donuts

Includes: Olde World Tea Company Shoppe and Cafe in Smithfield, Va. and O’doodleDoo’s Donuts in Suffolk, Va.

Tea, oysters and donuts together sounds like a recipe for digestive disaster. But as ingredients spread over a fun foodie weekend they’re pretty great in and of themselves.

Friday: tea

We kicked off our long weekend with lunch at the Olde World Tea Company Shoppe and Cafe. Mom and I have been fans since Julie and Carlos opened it a few years ago.

We’ve experienced moments poignant (when my father was dying) and fun (tea parties with kids) and everything in between sipping tea and comfort in the whimsical and cozy house-turned-cafe-and-shop. Julie’s warmth and friendliness combined with the ambience and menu offerings are the reasons we keep going back.

Tea and a cookie sampler were delivered to our table-for-two soon after we ordered. My hot almond tea tasted as lovely as it smelled. (And it always tastes better in dainty, old-fashioned cups, doesn’t it?) Small sweet bites included cookies (oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip and walnut combo) and two scones: ginger and plain. Julie definitely has a special touch with scones — they’re always oh-so-tender. My favorite was the ginger, spiked with tiny bits of candied root.

      

My main course was a Stacked Triple Cheese sandwich: slices of cheddar, swiss and provolone layered with spinach and thin-sliced roasted potatoes and onions, sandwiched between two baguette halves that were spread with a delicious, herby cilantro cream. The whole concoction was oven-toasted just long enough for the cheese to melt nicely and all the ingredients to warm. Fresh-baked sweet potato fries with yet more cilantro cream for dipping rounded out the perfect midday repast.

Saturday: oysters

Okay, I have a confession to make. Despite my foodie nature, I’m not an oyster enthusiast. If they’re “stuffed” or topped with other ingredients or fried and crammed into a po’ boy, I’ll eat them. But I don’t seek them out, and I’ve never been brave enough to gulp a raw one. The color, texture and the fact that it’s a living creature kind of gross me out.

But I fully intended to give steamed oysters a second, long overdue try at a birthday oyster roast thrown by my mom’s friend Anne in her Surry back yard on Saturday afternoon.

I have eaten steamed oysters one other time, but I was 22 or so and a lot of alcohol and fraternity and sorority hijinks were involved. The memory’s kind of fuzzy.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the oyster-roasting ritual and accoutrements. The big steaming kettles; the dumping of hot, clacking Rappahannock River oysters onto long wooden tables; the shell-prying knives and hand-protecting gloves.

     

I first tried one all by itself. It was okay. Not quite as tender or sweet or pretty as a mussel, my favorite bivalve.

Next I copied some others and dipped my next oyster gingerly in Trader Joe’s habanero sauce (wowsa!), placed it on a saltine cracker and flung some cocktail sauce on top. Pretty tasty.

But even after quite a few, I know I’m still not ready for a raw bar. Not sure I’ll ever be.

I supplemented the oysters with roasted asparagus, garlic bread, a creamy scallop and shrimp chowder, wine, cookies and cake.

            

It was truly a “golden” afternoon. (In my experience, every once in a while, day-to-day life is punctuated by wondrous “golden moments” that live on forever in memory. Saturday afternoon’s gathering was a long string of such moments stretched into an entire afternoon, thanks to the hospitality, beautiful setting and company.)

Thank you, Anne!

Sunday: donuts

There’s a cute little family-run donut shop in Smithfield that I haven’t yet blogged about, but will. The only problem is, it’s closed on Sundays. I completely respect that fact, but at the same time, Sunday always seems such a donut-craving kind of day, doesn’t it?!

Mom and I had noticed a newish donut shop down the road in Suffolk, and drove over after breakfast on Sunday to see if it was open.

It was. So yes, we ate donuts after a full breakfast.

The name just tickles me to death: O’doodleDoo’s Donuts! Ha! The retro look and feel of the tiny shop is just as pleasing as the moniker. As are the donuts.

O’doodleDoo’s isn’t trying to be one of those upscale, gourmet donut shops with exotic ingredients and chic flavor combos. It’s a casual donut joint, offering fun and funky (some pretty wacky) donuts of the cake variety only. (Hey, if you’re going to eat a donut, you might as well go for broke.)

We took home half a dozen — simply because we couldn’t narrow down our preferences any further — and cut them into small pieces so we could taste a bit of each. Pictured below, top to bottom, left to right, they were: chocolate cream slider, banana pudding, caramel cheesecake, peach cobbler, old fashioned sour cream and chocolate frosted.

Mom’s favorite was the slider, which tasted a lot like a tiny Boston cream pie. I particularly enjoyed the caramel cheesecake (a caramel-frosted donut with cream cheese frosting filling the hole) and the old fashioned.

Once I’d looked O’doodleDoo’s up on the internet, I wish we’d bought a red velvet. It’s one of 200+ possible rotating flavors, but apparently they make them every day because they’re so popular.

Oh well. I’m sure there are plenty more Virginia donut Sundays in my future.

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About atarheeltastes

I'm a passionate foodie who started this "temporary" blog during a gustatory tour of Tuscany. I decided to continue, since I love to dream about, plan for, prepare, eat and write about food!
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