Sunday, June 10, 2007

At Imen's Tea Habitat & The Long Beach Aquarium

[Behind bar L - R: Louise, Will, yours truly, Imen and Nick; guests are seated]

I had a great time at Imen's new tea lounge, Tea Habitat, on Saturday. It's located in the very upscale neighborhood of Palos Verdes. As it was the grand opening event, drinks were on the house...gongfu style! I volunteered to help with brewing the teas and serving the guests. Time passed like a blur, but I remember handling 2 to 3 gaiwans with different teas in them at the same time, while guests kept pouring in and questions were pouring out. It was a hectic sort of fun!

The customers asked me many questions, and especially often was the question on the differences between the types of tea (green vs. white vs. oolong, vs. black, etc.).

Louise, Will and Nick were there to help out as well. We drank and chatted with each other and with the guests. A young girl (10 or 12 years old at most) whom I served tea with was quite amazing in her ability to describe aromas. When I brewed a white tea named Jade Pole (leaves are rolled and shaped like butterfly chrysalides) for her, she immediately said "Wow, it smells like hot dog!" While I didn't necessarily relate the tea's smell to hot dog, it did smell like smoked meat or bacon. Bravo young lady!

Good stuff that I enjoyed at Imen's: Da Hong Pao (which I mistook for Dan Cong because of its fruitiness), Dan Cong, Jade Pole white tea, non-roasted Baozhong and roasted Baozhong.

After closing time, we popped open a 1996 Laurent-Perrier Champagne that I brought along to celebrate the grand opening (tight, citrussy and refreshing...very "1996" in taste and structure, as compared to other 1996 Champanges I have had. It probably still has a decade or so of life to mellow itself out).

On Sunday, I went to the Long Beach Aquarium with my family. Another fun excursion! My not-so-baby-anymore daughter was fascinated with every swimming thing behind the glass, especially the sea otters.

Me...I love those Sea Dragons! Such an amazing looking creature!


MarshalN said...

Sounds like loads of fun!

Imen said...


Thanks for everything! It was wonderful having you guys here. It was such a blast! From now on you can call yourself a gaiwan juggler. :P

The champagne is very nice, just the way I like it, the right amount of sweetness with just enough citrusy. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, here's to a bright future for Tea Habitat.

Phyll - I think that's the first photo I've seen of you. Always nice to see a face behind the name. You should follow Imen's lead and open a tea and wine bar - call it, oh I don't know - Adventures in Tea and Wine? :)