That title sounded open-ended enough, that there will be more from just one of my favorite cities. So tis the season for fun, for friendship, friends (wait what), family, food, and frenzy!
And there’s always room for tea. Because tea encompasses everything I stated above, and so much more.
Several months back, I went on a tea shopping spree in Philadelphia (you can read about them here and here) and the experiences were awesome overall. And I saved a few gems for later. When I was going to get to them all depended on timing, whether the content was relevant, and how the holidays would influence my posts.
However, if I waited too long, my visit to Ray’s Cafe & Tea House in Chinatown may feel more like a footnote than a proper review of a charming experience.
There’s no thrills to this place. If you look on the outside, one might presume exactly that. And that’s a good thing. Many of the businesses in the neighborhood follow the same pattern on the outside and from within.
The interior had a standard counter for ordering, with all the teas on display in the back, and just a few tables for sitting. It felt cozy enough to feel like I was in a friends’ living room, without feeling too cramped. My initial thought was the tables were bunched up together. No, it was just right.
But I came for tea, not for critiquing the showroom.
I love my seasonal teas this time of year. Actually I love ’em any time of year. I equivocate that too the Soup of the Day or the daily special at my favorite restaurant. It can be an exciting surprise, and a change of pace versus ordering off the menu.
Much to my hilarious surprise the seasonal Green Tea I went with tasted a bit too familiar. Where have I tasted this before? Could it be that’s it actually the tea listed below, the Jasmine Green? I can trick my mind into otherwise, but the taste is too overpowering too ignore.
No I’m not complaining. The tea was wonderful. The pot and overall display was overall magnifique. And what is seasonal to you and me, might be seasonal to someone else. Maybe I ordered the Jasmine and not realized. Maybe their seasonal tea is a play on that too. Maybe they were making fun of me. I would be too. The manager saw me taking photos. I was in awe of this set-up. Many have been posted for your viewing pleasure
And how can anyone complain about getting a free cookie? That’s a holiday special in and of itself
The tea was divine. The energy inside was divine. The tea never stood a chance. I sipped it in proper time. After I did my photos, I enjoyed myself for a long while. I was in my zen pose. No, I actually wan’t posing. I was just at peace.
I did this place. I will be back and maybe order something off of their extensive menu. But for now, I’ll savor this experience.
If you’re in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia, give them a visit. It’s a tranquil experience in a city that doesn’t always attract that kind of calming.
This was the perfect segue into the holidays. I look forward to what December will bring. But I truly appreciate Ray’s for what it was. It’s simple, soothing, and the tea was sensational. If you find a better synonym (oops) that starts with ‘s”, I’ll change it.
More alliteration and awesome (ha) tea reviews to come.
Happy Holiday Season,