Tea Shops Review 1

4 06 2010

Today I started doing what I’ve always needed to do but kept running out of time on: finding a place that sells good Earl Grey tea.

Ever since buying that really expensive earl grey at Afternoon Tea in Japan (about $2/bag), I’ve been craving superb earl grey here in Canada. But considering I know nothing about tea and I don’t do that thermometer and timer thing, I can only fumble my way through this all tea sampling thing. Regardless! I tried the earl grey from two shops with a friend today and here is my review!

Tealish:
50g bag for $5.50, free of tax (or included) and staples (staple-less stapler for the receipts).

Great scent, better than the Tetley crap you get at supermarkets but a bit… impure. It smells like there’s something else mixed in with the earl grey, a faint whiff of something that resembles preserved Chinese plum fruit thingers. The tag says the base is a Chinese black tea and has blue mallow blossoms and yellow sunflower blossoms as highlights.

Taste-wise, it’s okay. You can’t really taste (what I think is) the bergamot and there’s no bitter tea taste (that I actually really love). But it’s not bad for the price. Comes in a silver reseal-able bag with a label that describes the tea and some steeping instructions.

The Red Tea Box:
1 pot for $8.75, sit down tea. 2oz. bag for $12, paper bag then wrapped again in plastic. 1oz. tin for $9 (or something).

Because this had a sit down place we chose to have a pot instead of buying more leaves that’ll take me years to finish if I didn’t particularly like it. The smell again, was nice, and purer than Tealish. Leaves look to be pure tea (no flowers) and all they could tell me was that it’s a normal Ceylon for the base. The tea was just as bland but with more bitterness to it. I’m not too crazy about this one either.

The good thing is, they had some nice sandwiches in their Mad Hatter Sandwich Set ($25). The set included an Indian spiced chicken sandwich with avocado and romaine lettuce (I think, I’m not into lettuces) on raisin bread, chicken wellingtons with curry potatoes on it, carrot cake with berries on top, scones, banana bread, and.. some other cake/bread thing.

The amount was decent for the price but still a little pricey for afternoon munchies. The scones were definitely too sweet for the tea they served but it may just be me. Tea is served with milk and honey and tiny shortbread cookie squares. Decor is lovely but the dishes, utensils etc are very mismatched and confused.

Verdict:
Buy tea at Tealish if they have what you need, at least in terms of earl grey. But that’s not set in stone until I actually try the teas side by side one day. Go to The Red Tea Box for some dainty but filling munchies in the afternoon and don’t panic when you’re getting out of the bathroom (read the unlocking instructions under the knob).

I know the lack of pictures makes this a boring review but I didn’t think to bring my camera today so maybe next time.

Shops found through this, feel free to suggest others.

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How Original is Original?

18 12 2009

Today’s fantabulous post is about the store Original in downtown Toronto. It opened not too long ago and is a two-part store.

On the first floor there’s a good selection of shoes and boots that are cute, conservative, and versatile. There are those Victorian-esque boots with the decorative buttons on the side. There are classy heels from Bordello and there are some other… generic cute shoes. Also some very weird ones off to the side that are kinda… retro. I don’t know, but one pair looked pretty darn close to a non-bouncy pair of moon boots.

Amazingly enough to say, I also found some extraordinarily bling’d out office calculators.

On the second floor is a formal dress shop full of dresses that will probably not match the shoes below. It’s similar to the ones that make you remove your shoes to get into but this one doesn’t have that particular requirement. The floor is luckily, wood. If I didn’t already buy a dress for formal this year I’d have looked around a bit more but at a glance, it has an impressive selection of dresses. The longer dresses aren’t that well suited for the young and picky so if you like short prom dresses, this is a good place to look. The old and picky should be able to also find nice things there. Sequins and beads seem to be an overhanging theme when the owner ordered her stock but it’s not old school or gaudy at all.

Also when you head up the second floor, look up. It may escape your notice if you’re not paying attention but the top rack has a LOT of petticoats. And some of these petticoats are REALLY fluffy. So much so that they don’t look like petticoats when you stand under them, but instead, a bizarre giant ball of fluffy things.

Dresses are at a normal price. I noted some of the short ones are between $100 CAD and $150 CAD. The petticoats start at $60 but the ones with a decent poof in them starts at $100, the $60 one is a joke.

The store I’d say is worth a visit. I’ll definitely go there to buy shoes but maybe not so much the dresses considering I’m a big loner and don’t have too many high school proms, weddings and galas to go to. Bawl.

Original
515 Queen St. West
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 2B4
416.603.9400
www.originaltoronto.com