So afternoon tea in San Francisco may not be what you’re thinking of. If you’re thinking white gloves, tiny bites of food, and floral tea sets…you’re wrong. At least not where I went.

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Remember that spot I circled from earlier?

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Turns out that’s exactly where I ended up going! The place is actually the Samovar Tea Lounge.

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My friend Rachel (you may remember her from Serena’s Key West wedding) picked me up from Union Square and we headed to the tea lounge to catch up and relax.

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Our view.

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Rachel got the tea of the day.

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I don’t remember what the name of the tea was, but I do remember that it took a mere 30 seconds to blend and it had a pleasant taste.

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I got the Chai, which was perfection in a handle-less mug. (I think I need a handle-less mug in my life now – it was so fun to cup in my hands).

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Rachel got a tea soup, which I am going to try to re-create back home.

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In the bowl were veggies, seaweed, rice, and braised tofu, plus sauce.

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And you just had to add the tea to the bowl to finish your soup.

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Rachel shares some soup with me, so here’s my mini version.

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So light and perfect for the cold day.

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I got the squash dumplings with sesame dipping sauce.

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The dumplings were amazing…

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…but it was the sauce that really took it over the top!

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After we were done with the tea lounge, we walked around a bit before Rachel took me on a driving tour through the Castro area of town. It seemed like such a happy little place.

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With the sun setting, it was time for me to bid adieu to Rachel and meet up with my friends for dinner.

Thanks Rachel for the fun time! Next time we’ll have to hang out longer! 🙂

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We went back to Cafe Gratitude again!

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I had the housemade ginger ale.

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And I had a couple bites of Gina and Michelle’s appetizer plate.

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I split a Macrobiotic bowl with Michelle. I never would have picked this dish off the menu, but I was interested in trying it once I read the description. The sesame sauce really sold me.

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And I was so happy with my decision. The bowl was another success!

I can’t wait to try to re-create these quinoa bowls back home!

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Michelle and I were going to split this tiramisu but I had to run out to catch a cab. I managed a couple bites before rushing out the door for the cab. I think I may have panicked a bit, but you would too if you waited 1 1/2 hours for a cab without success just two nights before (remember that fiasco?).

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Luckily, we caught the cab, made it to the hotel, I met up with my roomie and we made it to the airport on time. I snacked on my Foodbuzz swag bag stuff, we caught our red-eye flight, tried to sleep with 2 crying babies, and landed safely in Charlotte at 6:00am ET. Phew! Not sure I’ll ever do a red-eye again (at least not without taking the next day off), but I guess it was worth it to have all day Sunday to play.

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Reunited with my boys!

It’s been fun San Fran, but I’m happy to be home sweet home!

In case you’ve missed other posts from my Foodbuzz/San Francisco trip, here’s a list of related posts:

How to Get to Sir Francis Drake for the Foodbuzz Festival 2010
Bloggies Do Chinatown
Marvelous Millennium (San Francisco)
Alcatraz Experience in Photos
All Aboard for Alcatraz
I Am Thankful for Cafe Gratitude
How We Almost Missed the Foodbuzz Street Food Fare
Foodbuzz Workshops and Tasting Pavilion
Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion in Photos
Foodbuzz Festival 2010 GalaFarewell Foodbuzz 2010

Have you ever done a red eye? What did you think?