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Three Recommendations And A Petition

Drinking Tea on the Terrace at Samovar Yerba Buena
Drinking Tea on the Terrace at Samovar Yerba Buena

We are happily spoiled in the San Francisco Bay Area when it comes to tea, and all the more so because we have three fabulous Samovar Tea Lounges to choose from.  Having even one would be a great boon to any town, but three?  Wow… Or ‘Yum,’ I’m not sure which.

Although I haven’t tried everything on the Samovar menu, I can recommend some favorites. First, the Tea Soup is a celestial creation.  It’s simple, healthy, flavorful, and comes with a half pot of Houjicha green tea (the first half pot is actually poured by the server over the soup bowl which is filled with rice, veggies, wakame, and shitake mushrooms).  It’s elegant, healthy, whimsical, and delicious—everything we look for in fine Bay Area cuisine.

Another Samovar Delight: Tofu Curry with Raita and Spiced Basmati Rice
Another Samovar Delight: Tofu Curry with Raita and Spiced Basmati Rice

I’ve also been sensually hijacked by the Braised Tofu Over Spring Greens, which, like the Tea Soup, stands out for its natural simplicity and vegetarian fabulousness.  Covered with a tarragon-balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a filling but light meal that satisfies even those who seem to need protein every two hours.

The last time I had this, I paired it with the Phoenix Oolong, which is as carefully handcrafted as the sumptuous salad.

Any meal is not complete in my world unless it is followed by something sweet. I have wanted to try something other than the Cherry Oat Scones with Devonshire Cream & Jam, but to no avail.  These scones are so delicious, I would have to simultaneously place an order of these to wrap up and take home with me so I might feel it to be a sensible risk to try another sweet. Even still, I would feel a bit like a defector, and my loyalty is always on the side of clotted cream.  But this defection has not yet happened because of the following ditty (and a rather pithy protest of sorts):

There is this one last item to mention, more as an appeal than as a recommendation, because, alas, Jesse has taken the Earl Grey Bread Pudding (italics mine, in place of sophomoric exclamation points) off the menu.

More deliciousness: Salmon Jook with nori, fried garlic, sweet potato, and more!
More deliciousness: Salmon Jook with nori, fried garlic, sweet potato, and more!

Seeing as the internet is socially viral, I’d like to take this opportunity to start a formal petition to get this item back on the printed page and onto our plates as soon as it is humanly possible to do so.

I brought a food and wine editor from Chronicle Books to Samovar a year or so ago just to share this little piece of Nirvana, and after taking just a few bites she asked if I thought Jesse might be interested in a cookbook deal (which he was not, because apparently he was putting all his resources and energy into out-doing himself with the now Chocolate Chip Brioche bread pudding).

Chocolate is fine, but this is a tea lounge, Jesse, and we want the Earl Grey Bread Pudding back, don’t we folks?  Fill the S.T.L. e-mailbox with your request to bring this item back:  [email protected]  There.  Go ahead and do it.  Show them the muscle and integrity of your culinary citizenship.

In the meantime, the scones are not a mere consolation prize.  You may as well enjoy them for any occasion, short of celebrating the return of the Earl Grey Bread Pudding.  They go well with just about any tea….

Jennifer Leigh Sauer for Samovar Life

Jennifer Leigh Sauer, is a freelance photographer, award-winning video journalist, and author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of The Way to Tea: Your Adventure Guide to San Francisco Tea Culture (2007). Click here to reach her by email.

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Crocs Cities by Foot Visits Samovar Tea Lounge, Yerba Buena

cross“About Samovar Tea Lounge
Quick quiz: What do the Dalai Lama and tea have in common? The Samovar Tea Lounge, of course! A great place to meet and have a conversation, this teahouse unites the world’s best teas under one roof. They also offer organic meals paired with the perfectly selected tea. USA Today even rated the Samovar Tea Lounge as one of the top ten great places to be seeped in tea, tradition and comfort.”

Click on this link to watch the Crocs video of Samovar Yerba Buena:

http://www.citiesbyfoot.com/main/cityID/2/locationID/77/do/Eat_Detail

Media Contact:
Jesse Cutler, Samovar: (415) 655-3431 / [email protected]

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Yerba Buena Gardens

Samovar Yerba Buena Gardens

We are open…
Sunday – Wednesday:
10am – 8 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 9 pm
Phone:
(415) 227-9400

Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, above the waterfall on the Upper Terrace in the Yerba Buena Gardens.
730 Howard Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Directions to Our Store:
from the North Bay
1. US-101 S toward SAN FRANCISCO 10.6 miles
2. Turn RIGHT onto VAN NESS AVE / US-101. .3 miles
3. Turn LEFT onto BROADWAY ST. 0.1 miles
4. BROADWAY ST becomes BROADWAY TUNNEL / ROBERT C LEVY TUNNEL.
0.5 miles
5. BROADWAY TUNNEL / ROBERT C LEVY TUNNEL becomes BROADWAY ST. 0.1 miles
6. Turn RIGHT onto STOCKTON ST. 0.3 miles
7. STOCKTON ST becomes STOCKTON ST TUNNEL. 0.1 miles
8. STOCKTON ST TUNNEL becomes STOCKTON ST. 0.3 miles
9. STOCKTON ST becomes 4TH ST. 0.1 miles
10. Turn LEFT onto MISSION ST.
11. Park, and follow walking directions to Samovar

from the South Bay
1. US-101 N toward SAN FRANCISCO
2. Take I-80 E toward BAY BRIDGE / OAKLAND / SEVENTH ST / US-101 N.
3. Take the FOURTH ST exit toward EMBARCADERO. 0.1 miles
4. Turn SLIGHT LEFT onto BRYANT ST. 0.1 miles
5. Turn LEFT onto 3RD ST. 0.4 miles
6. Turn RIGHT onto MISSION ST.
7. Park, and follow walking directions to Samovar

from the East Bay
1. I-80 W toward SAN FRANCISCO
3. Take the FREMONT ST exit. 0.4 miles
4. Turn LEFT onto FREMONT ST. 0.1 miles
5. Turn LEFT onto MISSION ST. 0.4 miles
6. End at Yerba Buena Gardens
7. Find Parking and walk to Samovar Tea Lounge in the Gardens

on foot from Union Square
1. Walk South towards 4th St, to Mission St. (2 minutes)
2. Take a left on Mission St, and walk East to the entrance to the Yerba Buena Gardens (2 minutes)
3. Take a right into the Gardens, and follow the path which parallels the Sony Metreon.
4. Walk up the stairs to the upper terrace, above the Martin Luther King waterfall, and come on in!

Parking
1. Street Parking:
Street parking is metered with a two-hour limit.                                                                                                                          After 6 p.m. there is no need to plug the meter.                                                                                                                               Always check for and carefully read the parking restrictions posted along the surrounding blocks. Most streets have street cleaning from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.

2. Moscone Center Garage
255 Third Street (between Folsom and Howard Streets)
Phone 415-777-2782
Open 6 AM to 11:30 PM Monday to Saturday. Closed Sunday

3. 5th & Mission Yerba Buena Gardens Garage
833 Mission Street (between 4th and 5th Streets)
Phone 415-982-8522
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week
Bike Parking

Please park your bike on one of the bike racks that have been installed around the perimeter of Yerba Buena Gardens (There is one at the garden enterance on Mission St. between 3rd St. and 4th St.)                          Unfortunately, if you lock your bike to a random pole or railing within the garden, it may be cited or removed by Yerba Buena Gardens management.

Public Transport
MUNI / BART
1. Take either MUNI or BART to the “Powell Street” station, and exit onto Market Street.
2. Walk South on 4th St, one block to Mission St. (1 minute)
3. Take a left on Mission St, and walk 1/2 block East to the entrance to the Yerba Buena Gardens (1 minute)
4. Take a right into the Gardens, and follow the path which parallels the Sony Metreon.
5. Walk up the stairs to the upper terrace, above the Martin Luther King Waterfall, and come on in!