Monday, June 29, 2009

New spot in T-town. Make that Tea-town.

A little quiet here last week — I was on the road. As Michael Fracasso sings, I was "headed back to Oklahoma to see my ma and pa." (Also, my new play premiered there! I co-wrote a one-act with a former colleague of mine, and it was produced last week ... and sold out!)

But while in Tulsa, I stopped by a fairly new tea shop there. The Dragonmoon Tea Co. in Tulsa, Okla., (can't find a Web site; newspaper review here) is a splendid spot for tea ladies and tea dudes alike. I love, in the video below, how they stress, "Men, we're not too fussy in our decor." 'Tis true. It's a clean, comparatively minimalist space inside a rehabbed two-story home built in 1924. The only wacky decor are the dog paintings (a parody titled "Mona Lulu," etc.). Not a square inch of lace in sight!

My buddy Chris and I grabbed lunch there on a busy afternoon last week. The chow was darn tasty — not just a hastily assembled backdrop for the tea — and filling. Chris had turkey pita pockets with a sublimely simple fruit salad; I had what I gathered was a house special, a "Calcutta chicken salad" sandwich, with apples and peanuts and just the right amount of curry. Delish. Desserts fell a little short, though. The croissant chocolate bread pudding is really heavy, with the dense bread fighting against the overpowering chocolate, though the honey baked custard reached for, and almost made it to, nice and light.

Fabulous teas, though, nicely presented in glass pots with tea-light warmers. I had two pots: first, the yellow tea (Wild Kwan Yin Sparrow Tongue), because I've read much about yellows and always wanted to try one — very light color, a whiff of cinnamon, flavors of peach and rose (a woman behind me called it "buttery," but I didn't think so) — and then, with dessert, the Versailles Lavender Earl Grey. What a winner. I'd never thought of adding lavender to already-flavored Earl Grey, but it's a mellow contrast to the sharp citrus. And if you love the smell of regular Earl Grey, well, this is heavenly stuff, wet and dry.

The yellow tea at Dragonmoon

Co-owner Sara Creed-Piper and manager Melanie Loucks were attentive and chatty, in addition to our server. Came to find out Loucks is a recent transplant from Chicago, where she worked at both Second City and my beloved Argo Tea. Small world, big kettles.

Here's a video shot by the Tulsa World, showing the place and its owners. I know Tulsa's largely a drive-through kind of city for folks on the interstate, but even with a Teavana opening soon in Oklahoma City you're likely not to find a nicer tea joint in that very red state ...

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