Tag Archives: tea

Destination: Boulder

Breathtaking mountains, great hiking, pedestrian and bike-friendly streets, charming restaurants and cafés, and tons of breweries — these are what make Boulder such a great destination.

I recently spent a long weekend in Boulder for my friends’ wedding.  It was my first time there and I loved it from the start.

Coming from flat South Florida, I found I couldn’t take my eyes off the mountains.  From the iconic Flatirons, to the distant ranges that I drove by, I was glued to the scenery.

Besides the incredible views, you can’t beat Boulder’s dry air.  No humidity is such a treat when you’re used to living in a steam room!

Of course you can’t visit Boulder without exploring its many breweries and brewpubs!  Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some of my favorite brews, as well as my visit to a meadery and my first taste of Colorado wine (spoiler alert: it was pretty good!).

Even if you’re not a beer drinker, Boulder is a great town for foodies.  I had a lot of fun strolling through Boulder’s farmers’ market on Saturday.  It’s the largest farmers’ market in Colorado, and features an assortment of locally grown fruit, vegetables and flowers, as well as meat, cheese, nuts, coffee, wine, bread and pastries.  Bring your appetite so you can taste some of the locally prepared food.

The Boulder farmers’ market is located next to Central Park on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue.  It’s open on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm until November 7th, and Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm until October 7th.

If you like tea, you must visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.  It’s also on 13th Street so you’ll walk by it if you go to the farmers’ market.  Built in the late 1980s, the teahouse was a gift to Boulder from the Mayor of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to celebrate their sister city ties.

Stepping inside, you feel as if you’ve entered an Asian palace.  The ceiling and columns were hand-carved and hand-painted in vibrant colors by more than 40 artisans.  It’s truly a special place to enjoy a cup of tea and a bite to eat.

Tea enthusiasts won’t be disappointed — there are pages of teas to choose from including Puerh teas.  Though not well known here, these teas are prized in China.  The tea has a strong flavor, the result of several unique processing steps and aging underground (some Puerh tea is aged up to 50 years!).

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served at the teahouse.  Traditional afternoon tea costs $18.95 per person and $10.95 children under 9.  Reservations for afternoon tea are required 24 hours in advance.

If you love raw oysters, you won’t want to miss happy hour at Jax Fish House on Pearl Street.  Every day from 4 to 6pm you can get East Coast oysters for $1 each.  The oysters are big and juicy with a fresh, clean taste — definitely worth a special trip!  A selection of appetizers including peel and eat shrimp and ceviche cost just $3.  House wine and draft beers are $3 as well.  From the bar you can look back at the kitchen for a glimpse of executive chef Hosea Rosenberg, the winner of Top Chef season five.

The best meal I had while in Boulder was at the Black Cat.  This intimate bistro cooks up organic fare with produce harvested daily from their own farm (you’ll see their produce at the downtown farmers market).  Chef Eric Skokan’s menu changes often and expresses both the season and what’s exciting right now.  Each dish excels at letting its main ingredients shine, with subtle flavors adding support.  The green beans that came with my appetizer were delicious, and likely only had a little olive oil and salt on them.  For my main course, the duck was perfectly cooked in a heavenly lavender, honey and thyme sauce, and so tender I barely needed a knife.

To pair with the mouthwatering cuisine, the Black Cat has a great wine list.  There are many bottles from wineries you’ve likely never heard of, and even a few from Colorado.  Our server helped us select a lush Meritage from Washington.

The Black Cat is located on 13th Street just south of Pearl Street.  Definitely call ahead for a reservation.

If you’re in the mood for a late night snack visit Boulder Baked on Broadway Street.  Here you can get all sorts of baked-to-order cookies, cupcakes and comfort food.  Open from noon until 2am Monday through Saturday (midnight on Sunday), Boulder Baked is the place to go when you’re craving a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate peanut butter cookie (they make both).

Click below to read more:
Boulder’s Best Brews
A Visit to New Belgium Brewing Company
Odell Brewing Company and Oskar Blues
Mile High Mead: Redstone Meadery
Colorado Wine: BookCliff Vineyards

Tea Time at Takashimaya

When I was in 4th grade, my best friend Mari and I did everything together. We had sleepovers, shared inside jokes, gushed about boys and acted out scenes from our favorite TV shows. I was devastated when she and her family moved to Japan that summer. The following summer I had the opportunity to visit Mari in Yokohama. I went to her classes, explored Tokyo and visited nearby temples and shrines. During my two weeks in Japan I developed a deep appreciation of the Japanese culture and lifestyle, which I still have today.

While I was in Japan, Mari, her mom and I went to Takashimaya. I remember it being a huge department store, like Saks Fifth Avenue. A little while after I returned home to New York, Takashimaya opened a store on Fifth Avenue. The New York version is smaller and more posh, with clothes that are out of my price range. When I go there I head straight for the café downstairs. It’s a great place for tea and a light bite. I went there earlier this week with my mom.

There’s a great selection of black and herbal teas, and of course, green tea. I ordered Houjicha tea. It is brown in color with a great roasted aroma. It has a slightly smoky taste with flavors of toasted rice. The finish is smooth and clean. My mom ordered Gyokuro tea. It’s light green in color with a great fresh smell. It has a clean and grassy taste; it’s almost like you can taste the individual leaves used to brew the tea. It has a slightly bitter finish.

I ordered my tea with a Japanese version of tea sandwiches. They’re triangles of pressed rice with either thinly sliced salmon or cucumber on top. It’s like a large piece of sushi you eat with your hands instead of with chopsticks. They’re simple and yet so good, I order them almost every time I have tea at Takashimaya. My mom went for dessert, ordering a chocolate tart served with mascarpone cheese on top. The tart was dense with a great dark chocolate taste. It was so rich one bite was enough for me.

Takashimaya is located on 5th Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets.


Turkish Tea for Two

And Dinner Too

A taste of the Old City made us hungry for lunch.  We decided to check out tea at our hotel, the Çiragan Palace.  One of my favorite indulgences anywhere in the world is afternoon tea, and this one I highly recommend.

Turkish tea is a must-try at least once.  It’s always served in a clear, tall, crystal-like glass (we saw several vendors at the Grand Bazaar drinking it while hawking their goods).  It was served to us with two teapots.  One had the tea, the other, hot water.  Our server poured the tea halfway, then filled the rest of the glass with hot water, turning it from deep brown to an amber color.  It has a strong and slightly bitter taste.

Accompanying our tea was 5 different kinds of sugar, and a selection of light bites that added up to be quite a meal.  Among my favorites – stuffed grape leaves and couscous.  We did our best to finish everything on our plates (and were pretty successful).

Post tea we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the pool deck, watching boats pass along the Bosphorus.

After spending the day sightseeing, we decided to cancel plans for another late night out – instead opting for a more relaxed evening at the hotel.  We decided to check out Laledan Fish Restaurant, and were treated to an assortment of meze.

After dinner we went to the outdoor bar and smoked strawberry-flavored tobacco from a hookah.  As we enjoyed watching the smoke drift up into the night sky we knew our early morning wake up call would come too soon.