Tea Time at Takashimaya's Tea Box and Minamoto's Seasonal Wagashis
I want to apologize for not writing in a looong time. I’ve been stressed with work at the office I’m working at and my Internet connection was down for the past two and a half days. Both are long stories that I would like to spare you from reading.
Okee…moving on. Last Friday, I went to Takashimaya, a Japanese owned, gorgeous, luxurious boutique store on Fifth Avenue (and yes, I know their site is in Japanese). I go there just because of their tea shop in their basement, not the other stuff.
Anyhow, since it’s past 3 PM they were serving tea. After being seated in the small, earth-toned café, I perused their tea menu. The usual suspects for tea are there: pastries, tea sandwiches and cookies, along with their well known teas. I ended up ordering their “East-West Afternoon Tea” ($18) and I asked the waitress for a recommendation of what tea would go along with this set (the tea is included). Since I told her I wasn’t feeling for green tea (I’ve been drinking it for ages at home), she recommended me the Takashimaya Rose black tea, and that’s what I’ve ordered.
The tea was very delicious. The tea has a very sweet, rose flavor that I thought there was sugar in that tea but there isn’t due to the nature of the roses contained in that tea. It’s very lovely. About five minutes later, my bento box of sweets and tea sandwiches arrived. I don’t have a photo of the entire thing because I only have my newly acquired macro lens with me that day. Much apologies on your part but at least I have the individual photos of each food item in that box.
The tea sandwiches served in this bento (as well as a la carte) are the cucumber on pressed rice, salmon on pressed rice, chicken with wasabi mayonnaise on Japanese white bread, and a vegetarian spring roll in rice paper. The most intriguing to look at is the cucumber on pressed rice but the one with the best tasting was the chicken with the spicy, pungent, wasabi mayonnaise.
The sweets were fine in general. None really struck a chord on me that made me say, “This dessert is awesome!” It’s more like, “Hmm…this isn’t bad but it’s not spectacular either.” If I had to choose a favorite of what’s presented before me, I would say the smooth, creamy, caramel panna cotta. I don’t think it’s on their a la carte menu, as I’m looking at the copy they let me keep… The cheesecake they serve is not the cheesecake that us Americans think. It’s more cake-like than the dense, creamy, artery-clogging dessert that we normally associate as cheesecake; you’ll see as you look at the photos.
One of the cookies that was served was a large, sugar crystal encrusted, puff pastry cookie that made me feel mesmerized and started to have fun with my macro…hence the multiple photos, as you’ll see. It’s buttery, not very sweet despite the fact that it’s sugar coating the entire side of the cookie and it’s deceptively light in texture.
After eating and paying my check, I walked over to Minamoto Kitchoan in hopes of their seasonal peach jelly and sherbets; the hopes were finally no longer dashed like it had been for the past few weeks.
As I open my hakuto jelly, I came across this instruction/description card…eh, I wish I could read Japanese. Unfortunately, I never took a Japanese language course in my life. If anyone could translate this for me, I will be grateful. But at least the illustrations helped.
All of them are my favorites for the summer. The peach jelly and sherbet has a delicate, slightly floral peach flavor, and it’s not your ordinary jelly; it’s more smoother than the Jell-O. The sherbets are different because it’s jelly at room temperature, as you’ve seen for the muscat. In frozen form, it has a bit of the jelly texture as you bite into it. It’s delicious and flavorful and it definitely doesn’t taste like medicine.
Takashimaya Tea Box
693 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022
608 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10020