|Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland|
|the server shows us proper brewing technique|
|taro moon cake awaits our bellies|
|edamame - so savory and rich!|
|Mikalina makes the happy yum yum tea face|
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sipping on a superb white tea flight (tea tasting) at the tea house within the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The intricate, wood carved ceilings, white walls, rustic chairs and tables as well as gorgeous view of a delicate reflecting pond below transported me to similar scenes in Vietnam. The white teas I tried were very refined and elegant in flavor, a whisper of a tea -- very different than my usual robust black and green teas I tend to drink at home. My darling slurping and straining companions, Mikalina and Marshall, indulged in the Oolong and Green flight tasting respectively. We all managed to clean up a really compelling meal of little dishes that accompanied our tea.
Our bites included:
turnip cake -- a slightly gelatinous, hearty savory cake that was redolent of Earthiness and a superbly chewy texture.
taro root moon cake -- one of my favorite treats discovered while hanging out in the Chinatown section of Ho Chi Minh City last year, I love the mild sweetness of the rich filling and how it is enrobed by papery-thin filo-like pastry. The best part is the vivid red stamp on the top.
pickled bamboo shoots -- these were super funky, in a pickly/stinky/yummy way.
chilled homemade soymilk -- now THIS is how I want to drink soymilk everyday, no doubt made moments before serving and sweetened lightly. So fresh and pure! It was exquisite.
edamame in star anise, goji berry sauce -- this was the best edamame I've had around town.
All in all, it was a wonderful, serenity-filled afternoon, full of laughs and tea-buzzing. As we left, a harp player strummed downstairs, a beautiful melody. This is a place to dine with friends or make a special date to visit on your own. My time spent at the gardens again renewed my faith in the fact that there are fun and interesting events going on in Portland, one must get off their lazy weekend butt and go! It was FABULOUS.