Monday, December 14, 2015

Chocolate Garage

Do you live in the South Bay? Are you looking for a place to get unique chocolates? Check out the Chocolate Garage! We ventured down the coast on Caltrain one day to host a Meetup event during their open tasting event. Several bars were available for try and the employees were happy to help curate the tastings. Plus guests could bring wine, turning the event into a Chocolate Happy Hour!

Light to darkest was the suggested tasting menu.

There wasn't a large group for our event, but the little garage bustled with guests making purchases and enjoying coversation. Currently the Chocolate Garage is open for general tasting on Saturday mornings, but you're welcome to call and schedule a private group tasting. A tasting event could be a lot of fun for a birthday or bridal shower. The Garage is a very easy walk from Caltrain, so no excuses from the SF contingent.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Katia's Russian Tea Room

Second Sunday Tea at 3 met at Katia's Russian Tea Room for a very different afternoon tea. J.K. was worried about having to choose her savories from a totally tempting list, but fortunately that was taken care of in advance by the group's leader. Tea Time has enjoyed several outing with the SST@3 group and this time was a great experience as well.

The food was all delicious, and there was plenty of it. We started with bread and butter on the tables.
Russian Bread and Butter with a sprig of dill
The bread was quickly followed by Eggplant Caviar to spread on it.

Next we had Salmon Roe Blini.
Blini : delicate crepes, brushed lightly with sour cream
filled with smoked salmon
The Blini were followed by Pel'meni.
Pel'meni : Tender, round, beef filled dumplings sauteed and 
served with a light curry sauce.

And of course there was tea, served in podstakanniki (silver glass holders). My Russian-born elders drank their Swee-Touch-Nee tea from glasses, without the holders. Herbal tea bags were available for those wanted a caffeine free beverage. Sugar, lemon and milk were ready to doctor up your drink as you desired. 

Our last savory was Potato Vareniki.
Potato vareniki : crescent shaped dumplings, filled with potatoes, 
steamed until they look like fat little pillows. Served with caramelized onions.
And then there was dessert! The first item was syrniki, fried cheese patties.

The Chocolate Walnut Meringue Torte was a big hit. Fresh fruit and mint were a lovely and tasty garnish on the dessert platters.

And of course Napoleons are always popular with any nationality. All the food was in perfect portions for family style sharing, and what our group didn't eat was available to be taken home! Our sweet waitress told us that Katia may consider retiring in the next year, so hurry up and make your reservations to try their tea offerings. Or if you're craving Pel'meni, stop in for dinner. Just make sure to try dessert!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Tea at Haas-Lilienthal House

Looking for a Holiday Tea? You may find that Crown and Crumpet has a delightful experience waiting for you. Either visit their Tea Stop Cafe in Japantown, or decide to splurge on their current Holiday treat. Tea Time chose to enjoy their offerings at the Haas-Lillenthal House. A posh venture with a set menu, but plenty of teas to choose from. It was a great chance to see this historical house and enjoy a spot of tea with company.
Lovely and classic table settings.
lemon curd, clotted cream and jam

Savory tea sandwiches and treats
Can't resist sweets
Yummy cuppa
Our group enjoyed afternoon tea prior to the house tour. A few facts:
"William Haas entrusted Bavarian architect Peter R. Schmidt and contractors McCann & Biddell to build his home in 1886. Three generations of Haas and Lilienthal descendants lived at 2007 Franklin Street, after which the house was donated to Heritage. In keeping this house alive, Heritage is helping to educate people about the City’s architectural legacy and why it is important to preserve and protect it. The Haas-Lilienthal House was opened to the public for tours in 1972. It is the only intact private home of the period that is open regularly as a museum, complete with authentic furniture and artifacts."
A wide variety of personalities ready to relax and enjoy afternoon tea.

Our Hostess from Crown and Crumpet in her period finery!

exit through the gift shop
but only after you check out the preserved laundry room (with modern conveniences added in)
and the train room!
The Haas-Lillenthal house is still hosting Holiday Tea this year, partnering with the SF Heritage club. There's plenty of time to make a reservation with Haas-Lillenthal, Crown and Crumpet, the Fairmont, the Palace or event in the Oak Room. Happy Holidays from Tea Time Adventures! We hope you enjoy many relaxing Holiday Teas during this festive season and let us know your favorite. Especially if we haven't been there yet to try it out.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lunch With Beth–Joy Hing BBQ Noodle House

Beth was craving soup, and I'm always ready for noodles in any form, so we went over to Joy Hing BBQ Noodle House on Kearny Street, which specializes in both.
Beth had a bowl of Spicy Angus Beef Noodle Soup, which was pho, with the extra vegetables on the side. This soup was listed on a sign on the wall, not on the menu. At Joy Hing, all the wall signs are translated into English.

Close Up of the Soup
 I had the Mixed Seafood Chow Fun.
The food was tasty and reasonably priced. There was also a lot of it. We both had enough left over for another meal, and our waiter cheerfully brought us containers to pack it in.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lunch at Chez Maman West

Tea Time Adventures is lunching at an old favorite today. Chez Maman has two restaurants in the City, and Angela first ventured into the Potrero branch with a visiting friend years ago. They found a warm neighborhood spot which was tiny, bustling and featuring a delicious menu. Since the Hayes Valley branch is on our side of town, Tea Time decided to check out and make a comparison.

We arrived in time for a late lunch (fortunately they aren't a restaurant that closes between lunch and dinner) so there was no wait for a table. The sun was warm and there wasn't a wind so we opted to dine alfresco*. After a quick gander at the menu we decided to share an appetizer and panini with a side of mac n cheese.

Roasted Garlic with delicious baked camembert cheese, toast points and a taste of greens. Perfection!

Mac n Cheese at the next level- just add truffles

The smoked salmon panini with side salad.

Later when we walked back over to J.K.'s hood, we stopped in and got delicious dangerous housemade gelato for a delightful dessert. She had been talking about Lush Gelato since the construction signage went up because Angela loves gelato. The running joke is that if you need Angela to go somewhere simply leave a trail of gelato bowls and she'll crawl right into your kidnapper van asking for more. (Please be prepared to continue to give her gelato once she's inside the van as well, or there will be trouble. Fair warning.)

Tea Time really enjoyed their flavors-- Chocolate and banana for J.K. and Salted Caramel for Angela. Lush has some exotic combos too, so get your tastebuds ready, any sunny day weather could be perfect for an afternoon of eating and walking.

*J.K. has a blowing napkins fear