Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Modern Tea

Imagine a corner cafe with expansive windows framing a not terrifically busy street. Swaths of colored glass are draped across the windows, and casual tables perch invitingly so one can lounge and take in the scene. It's been an exhausting stretch, and rather than fuss with rush hour traffic as I continued on my merry schedule, I wandered towards Modern Tea in Hayes Valley for some needed sustenance and meditation. I got both.

Although I enjoyed the quinoa chowder and variation on coleslaw featuring hijiki, it was the tea and dessert that really got my attention. I was charmed when the waiter asked if I wanted to see the baked goods menu after my supper. I nearly swooned when three slices of bundt cake and a hearty spoonful of whipped cream and strawberries appeared at my table. The cake was a simple butter cake. Neither dense nor heavy, it featured the most delectable citrus glaze whose sugary crackle was a lovely contrast to the cake's melting qualities, and surprisingly, it wasn't insanely sweet. The entire effect was refreshing. But since the cream was homemade and vanilla flavored too, I turned the refreshing into decadent and scooped up the whole mess in bites that made the dessert disappear all to rapidly. I only stopped for sips of tea. Their Nepal selection was Darjeeling-like, with a slight flowery note that was tempered by a bit of smokiness. Better yet, they brewed the tea in a pot and removed the leaves before bring the tea to table. The result - cup after cup of a perfect brew.


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