Some days are magical. Some days lift you out of the abyss and make you feel wonderful. I had that day last week when my sisters and I went to visit our Auntie Laima and Uncle Meinhard. We had beautiful weather (which was a bit of a miracle in and of itself) and a lovely drive out to their wonderful home.
The Feasting Begins
I was in total shock when I saw this large soup tureen absolutely FILLED with lobster claws!
Not to be outdone there were huge two-bite shrimp for us to snack on and dip into garlic butter. Oh my!
Jamie does not share the same love of seafood so there were all different fancy cheeses and spreads for her to indulge in too. Note the fan to help protect her from all the seafood aroma?! Auntie Laima thought of everything.
There were croissants so we could put lots of lobster meat inside to make fancy lobster rolls! I had one but then just attacked the rest of the claws to dip in that heavenly garlic butter.
This may have been the most indulgent thing I had ever experienced with food. Auntie Laima wanted to show us what it was like to have more than enough. This is not a concept I am very familiar with. Growing up in a pretty large family, you made sure never to take more than your share because someone else might not get enough. To just sit there eating lobster like that? Blew my mind.
Uncle Meinhard made this beautiful lemon Bundt cake with raisins! So light, so lemony and perfectly baked. A wonderful choice for dessert after such a rich lunch.
Food and feasting is a part of Latvian life but we were actually there for a day of crafting! I will eventually write more about that part of the experience on my personal blog and it will definitely be coming up on our next episode of stART: Creating As We Go.
Just know that Auntie Laima is not only the queen of crafting, she is an artisan with so many skills and tons of knowledge. From soap making, painting, drawing, leather carving, embroidery, quilting… You name it, she has done it. She even cards and spins her own wool!
I was going around taking photos of her amazing space when this hanging lamp caught my breath. I pointed it out to Jamie and Shannon and said how much it reminded me of ours growing up. Auntie Laima said this was the actual lamp from our house! It was really hard not to cry. I remember it so well in our kitchen in Montreal and then it was also above our long wooden rustic table in the kitchen.
Well we of course could not get started without some tea! I was going to choose the lovely pretty light blue tea cup until I saw…
This adorable tea cup! Thanks to my friend Suzy I discovered it is a Brambly Hedge mug and it reminded me of our mom so much, I had to use it.
Auntie Laima set up a tea service in the basement, we made our tea and got to some serious learning and playing with art and colour.
I took the most, well, conventional approach? Writing down the name of the art tool and doing colouring swatches. The Sakura pens were my favourite! Saturated bejewelled toned paint pens with glitter!!!
There was a LOT of playing and learning about different mediums, markers, pencils, pens… Even the heat gun was used and she showed us how a die cut machine works!
Back To The Food
The day did not end there! In fact we ended up going out to Mandarin for dinner! Because all-you-can-eat lobster must be followed by all-you-can-eat Chinese food, right? OMG!
I usually go for the hot and sour soup but not this time. Boston clam chowder and it was damn impressive. Not a ton of clams but so much seafood flavour and the green onions worked perfectly on top.
After soup we indulged in the cold food bar.
Yes, I had more shrimp and piled on the mussels! Some edamame for token veggies, an olive because I LOVE olives, devilled egg and a lychee! And macaroni salad. I can never say no to macaroni salad.
The hot plate as the meat section of dinner with some noodles of course. More chicken than I was expecting but beef spare ribs, BBQ pork, more shrimp… All delicious. I know it must be hard to believe I was ever a vegetarian.
The last time I went to Mandarin they did not have any chocolate-covered strawberries which are my favourite! I could literally just eat these all night. I did not see them at first and loaded up my plate with dessert already.
Highly recommend the chocolate cream pie! Divine. Chocolate silk pie? Not so much. The mochachino ice cream? Perfection. Only one lone chocolate-covered strawberry for me.
Then came out the fortune cookies and mine was hysterical. I am apparently often the life of the party. Yeah right but it was nice for the fortune cookies to lie nicely to me like that.
Wait! There Is More!
There was so much lobster and shrimp that Auntie Laima gave me and Shannon leftovers to take home with us. So the foodie party continued! I donned my Fabulous Foodie apron to protect my clothes from the impending seafood carnage.
To save Jamie from having to live with the smell of seafood in her house I got out an air sponge which worked for the seafood but apparently not the garlic butter. I think she was OK with that.
Wow, another lunch of just seafood. I swear, I must be part mermaid. My ancestors come from England and Latvia, places that live off the sea. Getting to enjoy my fill of seafood not once but twice was incredibly healing for me. It was not about gorging or over eating. It was about, as Auntie Laima’s said, having more than enough.
As a people who survived dire circumstances in WWII the idea that you can have more than enough is quite shocking. Every time I get to indulge in something, whether I made it or not, I feel more whole. Most of my life has been about getting by on as little as I can. This sort of indulgence is outrageously wonderful and I am so honoured that Auntie Laima gave it to me and Shannon on this trip. And don’t worry, Jamie was well taken care of too!
It was the perfect visit.