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CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Garth House celebrates; thanks for holiday beverages

Sparkles, clown noses, hoops and a lion-dog with a magnificent mane greeted guests to the 29th annual Pour Les Enfants, the huge under-the-tent gala to benefit Garth House Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Program in Beaumont. In addition to serving great food, several foodie packages were available in the silent auction, including a “Mid-County Madness” set of gift cards from area restaurants. Clever title, huh?

Executive Director Marion Tanner’s program notes indicate the group has interviewed more than 13,000 victims over the past 28 years. The goal is to help abused children to share their story in a safe space. Of course, the goal is that children wouldn’t have such stories to tell. This social affair helps keep the agency running. The program also included a fitting quote to match the circus theme:

“I am braved, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be… This is me.” – The Greatest Showman

Who’s your nana?        

Wissotzky Tea (since 1849) has been playing with nana, a variety of mint that I have not grown or tried or even heard of. Did you think it was a banana thing? I did. It’s not. Their Nana Mint teas are promoted as “mint like no other.” I tore into Ginger & Citrus first as this is a sooth-the-throat season. I went into instant relax mode with the steam and the flavor. I’m saving the lemon for after I enjoy all the homegrown lemons I’ve come into and slipping the black tea into evening rituals because this is also the overeating season. A mug of hot tea is a much better alternative to that extra cake ball. Chamomile has flowers from Poland, Germany and Egypt; Green Tea “adds layers of subtle earthy sweetness for a mint experience. Wissotsky is a trusted name in tea, so please meet their Nana.

Drinking up roses

“Drink and Be Beautiful,” H2rOse encourages. A cool beverage based on rose and saffron is light, as you’d imagine. Maybe the mere 40 calories a bottle is another hook, or maybe the label notes that this 2000-year-in-the-making product is hinting at history that Cleopatra and Michelangelo would enjoy it as much as I did. Flavors within flavors include an apple variation. A healthy pour of this water into your fluted glasses would “clearly” impress guests. You’ll be getting that stemware out for New Year’s Champaign anyways, right? H2rOse is difficult to type and easy to savor. Think hostess gifts, too.

For your honey

They say Vermont is for lovers. How about a holiday gift pack of gin and raw honey to love all season long? We’re a margarita bunch down here in Texas. Enjoy the warming mingling of flavors that come in a cute boxed set that would be a great gift. Tom Cat gin is barrel aged 4-6 months with whisky-like notes of oak, spice and a finish of juniper and raw honey. Contrast that to Barr Hill Gin, a pure-grain spirit to showcase juniper and raw northern honey, makers say. Gin is something that just doesn’t seem to come up too often in these parts. See what you think about the Vermont way.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who is ready for the holidays. Tell her what you’re serving at darraghcastillo@icloud.com