Grace Street

Queenie and I have a running joke about Grace Street, a cafe in Koreatown. When Grace Street first opened it was an huge space with little seating that served a very limited menu so I joked that the cafe was a front, while Queenie didn't understand how a place like this was in business in the first place. Fast forward to months later, and it's a bustling cafe that Queenie and I frequent quite often. Ahem, we have been proven wrong.

Until 5PM, the cafe is open seating where you order at the counter in the back but after 5PM, they shift things around so there is only table service. 

They make a lovely matcha latte that's sweetened with honey, but isn't overly sweet. Drinks are served in ceramic cups after 5PM but in paper cups before then.

They are known for their hodduk but the real draw for me is their shaved snow. The snow isn't shaved ice, but rather more like shaved ice cream. It's creamy and served with a scoop of red bean ice cream, sweet red beans, and mochi balls. Aside from the green tea, they also have a black sesame version.

Grace Street always seems to be packed since it's a great casual spot for a quick cup of coffee or for sweets after dinner.

INFO: Grace Street | 17 West 32nd Street | New York, NY 10001

10 Favorite Tea Spots in New York City

Looking for an adorable tea spot (not afternoon tea) in New York City that delivers on great tea, delectable sweets, friendly service, and comfortable seating? Here are my 10 favorite places, in no particular order, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy your sweets and a cup of tea. 

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1/ Bar Pleiades
Tea isn’t on the bar menu, but it can be requested at this cozy lounge with comfy seating at The Surrey hotel's Bar Pleiades on the Upper East Side. The main reason to go is for their perfect madelines, the same ones served at the restaurant Daniel.

2/ Harbs
Tea and cake go so great together, which is why Harbs, with plenty of seating, tasty cream cakes, and lovely teas makes for a great place for tea at three. 

3/ Chalait
My new go-to place for matcha-based drinks. Love that they have sweet options on the menu.
 

4/ Ladurée Soho
From the lavish desserts to signature teas, Ladurée Soho knows how to do tea and delicate French pastries.

5/ Espresso Bar at the Marlton Hotel
The lounge at the Marlton Hotel has gotten a bit popular, but if you can find seats, it's a nice spot for a tea break. Get the cheese and kale scone or the olive oil muffin and pick one of the Bellocq teas served in a matching teapot and teacups.

6/ Lobby Lounge at Mandarin Oriental
This is a great place to meet a client or an old friend. Superior service, excellent tea, and desserts. Get a seat by the window if you want to take in the sweeping views of Central Park and Central Park South.

7/ Cha-An
I've been going to Cha-An forever and this cozy little spot on the second floor in the East Village serves an excellent hojicha. Plus, desserts here never disappoint. I love their sweet honey toasts.

8/ The Crosby Bar at the Crosby Street Hotel
The Crosby Bar has afternoon tea service, but I like going here for tea and sweets. 

9/ Lady M
To me, the original Upper East Side location is their best. There's less seating, but that also means it's way less hectic than the Bryant Park location. Banana mille-feuille is my cake of choice.

10/ Caffe Storico at the New-York Historical Society
This is a secret I almost don't want to share. Tucked inside the New-York Historical Society museum is this completely adorable cafe that serves decadent desserts that should be enjoyed between sips of tea.

Posted on March 2, 2015 .

Blending Two Tea Bags to Create a Custom Brew

I recently got a few samples of Kronen Tee to try and noticed their teas are all in tea bags, not loose, which is what I usually prefer. Although, I will say that when I'm feeling lazy I'll reach for a tea bag.

On one of those lazy days, I came up with the idea of creating my own custom blend by using two different flavored tea bags. After looking at the selection, I decided to create a Vanilla Earl Grey by using an Earl Grey tea bag and the Vanilla tea bag. It was surprisingly great with both the earl grey and vanilla flavors coming through equally. It worked especially well since they were both black teas, so the base was the same.

At this point, I felt much more adventurous so I tried blending their Green Coffee Infusion with green tea and peach black tea. This was not as successful, but it wasn't horrible. The base for one was a green tea and and the other, a black tea, which I suspect is the reason it didn't go as well. 

I'm going to try a few more blends to see which ones work the best together. Have you ever tried doing this? Which blend worked for you?

 

Posted on February 26, 2015 .

Matcha Cafe Wabi

Took a trek ALLLLL the way out to Matcha Cafe Wabi on the Lower East Side to try their matcha latte. And it was totally worth it even in the freezing cold.

The matcha latte is made with a heavy cream base (YES!) and light syrup. 

The matcha flavor shines through and it's perfectly sweet and creamy. It was delicious and I love the cute leaf design topping the latte. 

To go with my matcha latte, I got their matcha rice crispy treat (I need to make this!) and a sweet red bean, cranberry, and raisin steam bun. The steam bun is savory and isn't really sweet at all, but it went well with the sweet matcha latte. The rice crispy treat had a nice matcha flavor but overall the baked goods were good, but not exceptional. I wouldn't go back for those baked goods, but if I'm in the area, I would definitely go for another matcha latte -- so good!!

It's a cute place but there's very little seating inside. There's just a small bench that can fit two people so it's better to take your drink to go. But really, you should go and try that matcha latte!

 

Posted on February 24, 2015 .