Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Tea Rooms in Manhattan

Originally uploaded by lools.

A cup of hot tea has firmly established itself as my antidote to the stressful Manhattan life. I read somewhere recently that according to ancient Chinese legend, the first cup of tea was produced in 2737 B.C., when the leaves of a black tea shrub haphazardly fell into the boiling water of Emperor Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine. Ever since, tea has been used to treat various ailments. Tea also has any number of psychological benefits that have increased its popularity in our day and age.

I usually have on stock my favourites like Rishi's Organic Earl Grey, The Republic of Tea's Vanilla Almond, Tazo's Wild Orange Herb and good old Taj Mahal. My moods dictate my choice of teas at different times of the day. But of late, I've become a little more adventurous and have started discovering new teas and delightful places to enjoy tea in Manhattan.

My fascination with tea rooms began when I had afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel's Palm Court Tea Room celebrating a friend's baby shower. Every day at 4pm, people line up and wait to be seated at this cafe/restaurant which has a distinctly British ambience. Along with different selections of fine tea, one can order scones and little sandwiches which literally melt in one's mouth. I was quite charmed by the concept of a tea room (and a little surprised that I hadn't ever been to one before!)and so began to find more such places.

I did some research on Google and found a comprehensive list of tea rooms in Manhattan.. It's a long list and I'm looking forward to visiting many of the tea rooms listed. So far I've been only to Chocolate Bar in the West Village. They have highly indulgent chocolate flavoured teas that smell just divine. And their chocolate bon bons that have classic as well as seasonal flavours are to die for. Imagine the powerful combination of chocolate and tea. How can this not be uplifting and good for the soul?

Next up, I'm hoping to visit a much talked about Japanese Tea Room in the Upper West Side. This place is set-up to be a real sanctuary in the midst of the urban jungle we live in. Hopefully I can enjoy a fine cup of tea while being shielded from the sirens. Stay tuned!


Blogger gs said...

lulu,that was a great job done on the merits of teadrinking.i cannot but totally agree with is a bit strange that though we are south indians and famous for coffee drinking we are singing encomiums for the omnipotent and omnipresent tea. i suppose,our upbringing in east and west of india partially explains the acquired love for tea.
for me,a morning cuppa tea is a must.the body does not move properly till one has consumed a cup of hot tea.some even complain of headaches if the morning tea is missed for some reason.and then there are varieties of tea.and umpteen ways in which tea is brewed and prepared.we have the light north indian tea,the kadak tea of mumbai,the sharbati chaay of gujerat,the masala tea,tea with adrak(the indian ginseng),the coorgi tea,the kerala chaya etc etc.i have a friend in kolkata who swears by the darjeeling tea which he gets every month fresh from the tea gardens in darjeeling and which i must drink without milk and sugar.plain hot green tea.the taste for such tea has to be cultivated.
then there are the weight watchers who want to have their tea with a slice of lemon.and i am sure there are many many more variations.
undoubtedly,tea has great healing is good for the heart and green tea reduces bad cholesterol and gets rid of the flavoids and can lengthen one's life.the english fell in love with tea when they came to india and started the tradition of the tea-party.even today england imports large quantities of tea from india and srilanka.
tea has everything going for it as demonstrated by the chinese who have become famous for the highest percapita consumption of tea.
i wonder whether the word teetotaller means one who drinks nothing else but tea.totally tea.
when edmund hillary and sherpa tenzing reached the top of mount everest,there was a malayalee welcoming them with a cup of hot chaya!. so the joke goes.
three cheers to tea and may the tea-driniking tribe live long.

6:58 AM  

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