Thursday, June 14, 2007

SF: Day Three, Part One

Today was even better than yesterday. I love SF.

My first event of the day was a walk. My friend Tajee and I walked for about 45 minutes, exploring SF's hills and winding streets, passing by beautiful parks, cool apartments (including one with pet parrots in the window), and chic shops, and then finally arriving at our destination: a tearoom.

We met my Uncle Brad at Samovar, a gorgeous, tranquil tearoom in the Castro district of SF. We sat by the front corner of the restaurant, where the sun was filtering in through the window and the music (a refreshing blend of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French, fusion, and Aphex Twin) was at just the right level. Samovar has a great menu, so deciding what to order was a big deal. After sending the waiter away three times, we had finally decided. (OK, OK, I had finally decided. It was my fault.) We each chose a tea service: British for me, Russian for Brad, and Indian for Tajee. We figured that this way we could each sample each other's tea and food.

When the tea and food arrived, we knew we had made the right choice. The array of dishes was almost dizzying, especially since I hadn't eaten breakfast yet. Tajee had a tofu curry, a spiced pulau with raisins, a raita, coconut rice pudding with pistacios, and a huge carved ceramic cup of masala chai. Brad had salmon blinis, a boiled egg with caviar, a phenomenal muffin drizzled with warm honey, a hunk of bittersweet chocolate, fresh fruit, and an "endless cup" of Russian caravan tea. I had sliced grapefruit, apple, and strawberry, a divine lemon tartlet with a sprig of mint, a savory wild smoked salmon/whole grain (I think, anyway) crumpet, a perfectly balanced cherry oat scone with Devonshire cream and jam, and (of course) a breakfast blend black tea with milk and sugar. The presentation was gorgeous. The vast majority of the food was absolutely incredible. That's enough to make me return, but it's the atmosphere that makes me love this place. It is so calm and warm and peaceful . . . . If I ever live in SF, I'm sure that this is where I will seek refuge from the many stresses of life.

After our wonderful meal, my uncle left for Napa (where he is vacationing for a while) and Tajee and I left for the yarn store across the street. (You see, I am a bit of a yarn addict.) After chatting with all the staff and geeking out over the color palates and textures of their exquisite yarns, I decided on three (mostly black) yarns, which you'll be able to see when I post a video blog about my trip.

Oh, whoops! Did I just say that? Yes, I guess I did. I'm making a video blog about my trip to Atlanta and my trip to SF. After I return to NYC, it will just be about tea in general. And when I'm in India, it will be about the meaning of the life, the universe, and everything . . . err, I mean . . . it will be about tea. And . . . other things.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, the yarn shop. Very cool. Afterwards Tajee split off for work for the rest of the day. And me? I began another long walk, this time to a tea wholesaler. Alas, this is a whole other story and I will have to resume my telling later. Suffice it to say, it was a marvelous experience, a feast of the senses, even, and that I will tell you about it soon, in "Day Three, Part Two." For now, enjoy your tea, and check back for my video blog in the next few weeks!

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