Monday, May 30, 2011

week 36_Smith & Hsu

Tea time seems to be a fairly common afternoon pastime here in Taiwan. Somehow, whether it be of British origin or the more likely Japanese influence, people here enjoy sitting down to a nice hot cup of tea with one another for an afternoon chat. There is a lovely & fairly modern tea shop near my home that I have been intrigued by for some 8 months now, so on my birthday weekend, the husband and I decided to try it out!

Smith & Hsu Afternoon Tea Shop, Zhongxiao E. Road, Section 5
Clearly it is all about the tea here, and we may be amateurs, but we definitely had some fun picking out our tea and crumpets! :) First, you must begin with the tea...

Tea menu & Tea leaf samples
We were treated with a tray of clear glass jars containing all kinds of tea leaves from the world over. We took our time sniffing each concoction, debating if we should go with the crazy or safe options...? As we browsed the menu, we were treated to a sample of Oolong Tea... Not my fave, but I already knew this from previous encounters... In the end, we decided on an Afternoon Tea set (a set meal that comes with both food & beverages), which came with 2 pots of tea. The husband chose a Black Vanilla Tea, and I chose a Black Orange Tea... We must have been in the mood for black tea at the time (and our two choices seemed pretty safe)! In the end, we must have done quite well, because I preferred my choice as he preferred his selection.

Tea pots, with tea leaf canisters set to the side.
Leaves can be added to the tea pot or set to the side, depending on how strong you'd like your tea...
Of course, being the Americans we are... tea time would seem somehow empty without food, so we were thrilled when our tower of goodies arrived! In truth, I was expecting the middle tier to be my favorite, but actually the scones were the best! The only scones I've ever eaten have been stiff and dry... but these were warm, slightly moist and fluffy... and with the clotted cream (whatever that is?) and fresh honey they were amazing! 

Top tier: Finger sandwiches - smoked salmon, roasted chicken, & prosciutto
Middle tier: NY Style Fromage Cake (cheesecake), Apple Pie, cranberry jelly & tea cookies
Bottom tier: Warm scones with honey, orange marmalade, and clotted cream
Smith & Hsu was a great place for a lingering lunch of treats & chatting. It would be the perfect place to take an old friend to catch up. I think the husband and I will definitely go back sometime. We might even go just for the tea next time - it really was good. We enjoyed this first little afternoon tea time together. And best of all ~ it was only the first part of my extended birthday weekend celebration! :)

Birthday. Girl.

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