Saturday, May 5, 2012

Imperial Tea Court (Ferry Building)

GIRLS' TEA TIME: 05.03.12 @ 2:30 PM

Use your imagination and you will find yourself transported  in a tea court in China.You will find yourself seated at a glossy cherry dining table, with paper lanterns hanging from the ceilings and staring at jars of exotic teas.

This is exactly where my lovely friend Heather  and I wanted to be on a Thursday afternoon. Instead of sharing tea in Asia, we were at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. We have no complaints. This is one part of of the world where we would rather be on a rainy weekday afternoon.

Armed with a Living Social Deal for Tea Presentation for Two, we were treated to an elaborate tea ritual. It started with our friendly and knowledgable server showing us 6 kinds of tea leaves: puerh, oolong, chrysanthemum, black, green, etc. She allowed us to smell each tea.

We decided on the puerh and green tea. She explained that for the green tea it is recommended to hold it in your mouth for few seconds to savor its light and delicate taste; while the puerh belongs in your back palate. 

The tea presentation was a great tea experience. What we participated in was the Gaiwan Tea Presentation or China's classic covered teacup. It  represents the traditional way of sharing tea informally with friends.

It shows respect for the art of drinking tea with different vessels for seeping the tea, changing the water and the final enjoyment of the hot tea being poured for you. It was calming. It was Zen.

Heather and I enjoyed our teas with a SNACK PLATTER of wasabi squash seeds, almonds. poppy seed cookies and prunes (similar to Filipino-Chinese snack "champoy.") We enjoyed the sweet-savory flavors and variety of textures of our snacks. (Included in the package.)

We ordered an extra plate of DIMSUM PLATTER $12: 1 fried eggrolls, shrimp sui mai, pork sui mai, bean dumpling, mustard greens dumplings. Skip it!  Not only the platter too skimpy for the price, everything was either very greasy or dry. The dumplings tasted like they were microwaved -- came out very dry and inedible.

PRICE: The regular price for the Introductory to Tea (which we participated in) was $30 for 2. With Living Social I paid $24 with a free book "The Great Teas of China."
Was it worth it? As educational and wonderful our tea experience was, I am glad that I did not pay full price.

-Go for the tea. They were delicate, fresh and a wonderful treat for you and your friend.
-Skip the food. You are at the Ferry Building-- foodie haven. No excuse for eating mediocre food.
-If you are really craving dim sum, go to Chinatown, just one BART ride away.

Imperial Tea Court on Urbanspoon

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