The last time I wrote the word verdant I was speaking of my garden and all the possibilities when it grows with abandon in midsummer. This time, I am referring to a place I heard on MPR about the growth of the Seward neighborhood for good food. We had a quick trip planned to Minneapolis so I looked up Verdant Tea. Intrigued by the elegant selection of offerings, we arrived for breakfast last Saturday morning.
Review: (Real Local Cooking’s criteria)
Verdant Tea does serve local food. They have partnered with Birchwood Cafe which many readers will recognize from our past reviews. Verdant’s focus is on tea. They source their teas from small farmers in China. The business began as on online tea business and has now expanded to include the tasting room.
We ordered chai tea and another kind of tea that we didn’t quite catch when it was given. Both were good, but the food was what we enjoyed most. I ordered the sweet Congee, Steve had the Soba Noodles, and Luke ordered the Birchwood Granola with Fruit and Yogurt. Congee is a porridge and the sweet version had wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, burdock root, gogi berries, walnuts, and a coconut ginger sauce. I was able to sneak a taste of the two other options and was equally impressed with both. The yogurt was excellent. It appeared to be the kind of yogurt one makes at home on the counter rather than the kind one dumps from a plastic container.
Pleasant Surprise: Yes
The food was surprisingly good. Since it is a tea room that has food we were not really sure what to expect. We went hoping the food would be decent. It was stellar! We talked about it for days afterward and discussed how to recreate it at home.
Comfort+Coziness = The C factor: 4.5
When we walked through the doors we were greeted immediately. The environment is serene and makes for a peaceful calm retreat or gathering place for quiet conversation. The staff was friendly but a bit more explanation about the options would have been helpful. They explained that they didn’t have tea flights at that time and they were in the process of changing their menu. Having owned a restaurant, I have sympathy toward the situation they are currently finding themselves but others might be more put off by that kind of response.
Overall Rating: 12.5+
I strongly recommend visiting Verdant Tea. I look forward to returning and learning more about tea next time I visit. In addition to partnering with Birchwood Cafe, they also sell Sweet Science Ice Cream. We heard about them last year at an event for new food producers. I look forward to trying some interesting flavors like salted caramel or toasted coconut.