Blooming Tea

Drinking a cup of art tea at the Slanted Door in San Francisco is a dynamic experience where art is created before your eyes.  I love to watch the ugly dried up brown blob in my clear wine glass evolve. I love to watch as the hot water slowly unfurls the flower’s petals, changing it into a beautiful, aromatic, delicate red flower.

What is art tea? Also called “blooming tea,” art tea refers to a dried flower surrounded by tea leaves whose petals unfurl as the tea steeps and the leaves infuse the water with fragrance and flavor.

Where before I was leery, I now have no hesitation and eagerly sip the jasmine flavored green tea surrounding the beautiful lychee flower.

Trip taken May 2009.

San Francisco’s Gourmet Faneuil Hall

Every trip I take to San Francisco, I always end up at the Ferry Building. I love to meander among the open shops, browsing the unique objects for sale, the ceramic sushi dishes, the redwood burl bowls, the handmade felt animals, silk scarves, and fragrant soaps. I like to taste the chocolate, to sip the drip coffee, to sample the olive oil, and the honey. I like to browse the books, check out the many mushrooms for sale, and drool over the cheeses.

There are so many good places to eat and to sample. I’ve eaten green papaya salad at the Slanted Door, fish tacos at Mijita, and had a mint chip shake at Gott’s Roadside.  I’ve bought fruit and veggies at the Farmers’ Market and sat outside on a bench in the sun, watching the boats and the people go by.

And for you gluten-free eaters, Mariposa Baking Company sells gluten-free breads, quiches, bagels, cookies, and other goodies right in the building. For more gluten-free ideas on where to eat in the Ferry Building, check out these blogs:  and

Just a ferry ride from Marin, a Muni ride from Fisherman’s Wharf, a walk from California Street’s cable car stop, or an easy drive in the city with metered parking across the street, the Ferry Building is located on the water near the Embarcadero. I remember when the building was empty, just a cavern to walk through on my way to work in San Francisco. Now it’s a destination, whether for lunch or dinner, to buy a gift, or just to browse. Every time I go to the city by the bay, I make a point to stop, and I’m never sorry I did.

Photos on this post by Erica Taft on trip taken in May 2009.