The Mandarin Tea Room

I've had the Mandarin Tea Room bookmarked and had been meaning to attend a private class for more than year and finally went recently with Georgia. 

I emailed the tea room to set a date and time and before attending the private class, Georgia and I answered some questions regarding what we hoped to learn in our session. Tim covers Chinese teas, so we decided to focus on oolongs.

Located in Soho, The Mandarin Tea Room is an space where Tim runs his book design business and gives his tea lessons. The space is gorgeous and Tim's giant dog greeted us at the door. 

Across a long table with Tim on one side, and us on the other, he started to prepare the oolong for steeping. The private class is very much a conversation rather than a lecture. 

First, we started with breathing into the oolong to warm it up a bit and to take in the essence of the tea. 

Then came the steeping. Many, many steepings. Expertly prepared, the true flavors of the tea were experience between each steep. And each steep tasted different. 

Loud sips and slurps were encouraged and even with the tiny cups, we got tea drunk pretty quick. I was starting to get loopy.

Tim prepared about 3-4 different kinds of oolong and it was surprising how different they tasted. I lost count of many steepings we had for each kind. Toward the end, I couldn't even finish a tiny cup.

Each session runs about an hour and a half, with ours lasting about two. It costs $85 per person and is limited to three people per private class. 

It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon and I learned a ton about oolong teas. 

Posted on August 28, 2014 .

How to Spend One Perfect Day in New York City

I love being a tourist in my own city. That's a good thing since I'm usually the one that takes visiting family and friends around Manhattan, going off a list I've put together of places to see and places to eat.

My cousin was in New York, for the first time, on a business trip from Korea, and he had a free day to do a little sightseeing with me. MoMA was on his list, as was going to the Empire State Building, so I filled in the rest and here's how we spent the perfect day being a tourists in New York City.

We met up at MoMA and the museum was bustling. When visiting a museum, I usually like to start at the top floor, and work my way down, so that's what we did. I like to linger in front of Rothko paintings (my favorite!) and always stop by the third floor to take in this view:

I have a thing for mansard roofs so I love seeing the row of buildings overlooking the sculpture garden across the street from the museum.

If you're hungry, grab a bite to eat inside MoMA since they have excellent food options. Go to Terrace 5 on the fifth floor if you want something light like tea and dessert but go to Cafe 2 on the second floor for something more substantial. When I worked a couple of blocks from MoMA, I used to go to Cafe 2 for lunch since my work ID got me free admission into the museum.

After MoMA, off we went to the Top of the Rock! The admission is a bit steep at $29, but it's totally worth it for these spectacular views. Forget the bottom two levels of the viewing deck and go straight up to third level where you get these amazing, unobstructed (no glass) views. 

LOVE this view of Central Park. It's breathtaking.

We were starting to get hungry, so we headed to Le Bernardin for an early dinner. No need for jackets for men if you sit in the Lounge for dinner, and seating is walk-ins only. It's a more casual (no tablecloths) dining experience, but with the same 3-star Michelin service and food. 

I can't go to Le Bernardin without getting The Egg, their signature off-the-menu dessert. Perfectly salty and sweet, The Egg is a chocolate pots de créme with caramel foam and a little sea salt, served in an eggshell.

Completely full from dinner, we walked down about 20 blocks to the Empire State Building so we could be there to take in the views at night. It was PACKED and dark up there. And super windy and cold (in August!). I was afraid I would lose my phone when I was holding it out to take photos over the ledge since the wind was so strong. Admission is $29, which is pretty pricey, but the Empire State Building is so iconic it should be visited at least once. 

MoMA, Top of the Rock, Le Bernardin, and the Empire State Building. This is how we spent one perfect day in New York City.

INFO: Museum of Modern Art | 11 WEST 53rd STREET | NEW YORK, NY 10019 | 212.708.9400
INFO: Top of the Rock | 30 Rockefeller Plaza | New York, NY 10112 | 212.698.2000
INFO: Le Bernardin | 155 West 51st Street | New York, NY 10019 | 212.554.1515
INFO: Empire State Building | 350 5th Ave. | New York, NY 10118 | 212.736.3100

Posted on August 26, 2014 .

Giveaway // Ippodo

I'm super excited about this giveaway. Ippodo, the 300-year-old Japanese tea company, is THE ultimate expert when it comes to green tea. They opened up a shop in New York about a year ago and it's where I got my matcha whisk and scoop. It's also where I attended a tea workshop about Japanese green teas. 

Thanks to Ippodo, we're giving away this Ippodo Matcha Starter Kit to one lucky winner! Everything you need to enable a matcha addiction is in this kit, which includes an 80-tip bamboo whisk, a bamboo tea scoop, a matcha bowl, a tea cloth, directions on how to make matcha correctly, and most importantly, Ippodo's exceptional matcha. Everything is made in Japan (legit!) and from the packaging to the color of the matcha, the entire kit is absolutely gorgeous. The total value is $48.58.

 
Sign up for Oh, How Civilized Emails!

 

NOTE: Winner will be contacted by email and comments/follows will be verified. If winner does not respond within three days of being contacted, another winner be chosen. Good luck!

Posted on August 25, 2014 .

Matcha (Green Tea) Salt

You know what's easier than this Matcha (Green Tea) Salt recipe? Nothing.

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When I went to L'Arpege in Paris, one of the little dishes they brought out was radish and salt, which gave me the idea to make it with matcha. 

Mariage Fréres sells their own matcha salt, but really, it's so easy to make I don't see why anyone would buy it.

Add the matcha salt to popcorn, top it off on your Matcha Milkshake, sprinkle onto edamame or eggs. The list goes on and on...

MATCHA (GREEN TEA) SALT

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon salt (I used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.)
1/2 teaspoon matcha (I used 
Organic Culinary Matcha from Mizuba Tea Co.)

DIRECTIONS
Combine salt and matcha. Done.

P.S. Love that mini square salt dish in the photo? They are available for purchase in my new Shop My Find section. I brought a few back with me from my last trip to Paris. It's a limited item and I only have 4 available. (Shop My Find features a product that I love, which I think you'll love, that will be available every so often, one product at a time.)

Posted on August 19, 2014 .

Tasting Menu Lunch at Jean-Georges

At the end of May, I went to Jean-Georges for lunch with a couple of friends and we all ordered the $148 tasting menu. (Since then, the tasting menu has gone up to $158.) 

Jean-Georges is a three star Michelin restaurant and it did not disappoint. (Well, there was one thing...)

Here's everything I ate during the three hour lunch:

1/ First, a Cherry-Yuzu soda. Refreshing!

2/ A trio of amuse-bouches. The pickled radish sushi reminded me of the beet sushi at L'Arpege in Paris. A great, tasty way to start the lunch.

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3/ Caviar, Meyer Lemon Gelée and Crème Fraîche. What's not to love? Rich and light at the same time.

4/ Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado and Spicy Radish, Ginger Marinade. Tuna melted in my mouth and it was fun slurping the tuna like spaghetti. Thankfully, I didn't wear white.

5/ Goat Cheese Royale, Roasted Beer Marmalade and Toasted Crushed Pistachios. Mixed together to get everything in each bite. 

6/ Slowly Cooked Cod, Lettuce Puree, Herbal-Lime Vinaigrette. I loved the crunchy bits with the super soft cod, all swimming in the lovely green broth.

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7/  Suckling Pig with Baby Beets, Ginger Vinaigrette. The last savory course and the richest.

8/ Now for dessert! The running ingredient was rhubarb through all four sweets on the plate. These were afternoon-tea mini sizes, so of course I loved it.

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9/ A tea break. Highly disappointing since the tea were teabags (not the highest quality of tea). Really, Jean-Georges? I expected more. 

10/ A trio of chocolates, jellies, and nougat. 

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11/ And drum roll please... what I've been waiting for. Super fluffy, melt-in-you-mouth marshmallow cubes. One per person and cut in front of you, tableside. OMG. SO GOOD. If you can imagine what it's like to eat a cloud, this would be it.

Service was excellent, as always, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

INFO: Jean-Georges | 1 Central Park West | New York, NY 10023
COST: $148 lunch tasting menu, now $158