One of my favorite restaurants is Boulder's authentic Oriental-style teahouse. The restaurant serves many foreign ethnic dishes, including Asian, Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, Indonesian, Persian, and Italian.
When I had lunch there I knew I wasn't in the midwest, but somehow I felt transported to another continent. The ornate Oriental wood carvings and colorful original paintings brought back memories of our trip to Hong Kong and China.
The teahouse is a friendship gift from Boulder's sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic state that was once part of the old Persian Empire.
It took more than 10 years of planning and lots of perseverance to make this 2,100-square-foot teahouse become a reality. Leaders of Dushanbe,Tajikistan, Boulder's sister city, proposed the teahouse a friendship gift.
Piece by piece, three craftsmen came from Dushanbe to reassemble this magnificent teahouse, which is decorated with bright floral and geometric patterns of Central Asia and Persia. Its intricately carved cedar columns support a beautifully painted 13-foot ceiling with a skylight.
In the center of the teahouse, a fountain bubbles beside seven bronze-colored statues that depict a 10th century folk tale from Central Asia. Hand-painted tea tables of different sizes complete the decor; some are quite small and just the right size for children while others large and roomy enough for lounging.
The menu is very cosmopolitan and creates an awareness and appreciation of cuisine from other lands.
The varied ethnic specialties include a spicy Thai green curry noodle dish with steamed vegetables, coconut milk and roasted peanuts, marinated Persian lamb kabob served with vegetables on Tajik plov rice, black eyed peas and tomato lemon chutney, and Italian layered polenta with gruyere cheese, grilled portabello mushrooms and a spicy tomato puttanesca sauce.
Celestial Seasonings created Boulder Tangerine herbal blend tea especially for the teahouse. The waitress, who wore a black skirt with matching black blouse and black turban on her head, served our tea in an ornate teapot along with a three-minute ôeggö timer. She recommended that we steep our tea a minimum of six minutes but no more than nine to get maximum flavor. We followed her advice, sipping our just-right steeped tea with our exotic lunch and left as happy souls.
The teahouse opens in the morning for tea, scones and other pastries. It's open for lunch and dinner and has an outdoor patio.
For more information, contact Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, 303/442-2911. For reservations, call 303/442 4993.