Beirut Restaurant, Qingping teahouse, Emac & Bolios
Beirut's a divey but decent middle eastern place a block away from the Federalist on Beacon Street. According to beetlebug, it's a recent opening -- both of us sighted it independently. I lunched there today before tea and was fairly happy with the beef kibby plate. Each kibby is composed of two slabs of a minced beef and buckwheat mixture with a meatloafy moist texture that sandwiches a sprinkling of pinenuts. It's ready to drown in tahini sauce the way a slice of meatloaf eagerly dives into gravy. Very homey, with one major but not fatal flaw: dry rocky corners on one of the kibbys. Salad was very fresh, rice was well oiled but not greasy. There's quite a few middle eastern soft drinks and juices in the fridge display -- I got a rich guava nectar.
Qingping makes references to the Chinese teahouse ambiance on many fronts, especially in the Chinese-style tables and chairs. The classical elegance is updated with many modern hipsterized touches and the end product looks stylish in a funky sort of way.
The teas are fairly good but pricey. At the low end it's $3 or so for a cup (gaiwan style brewing where the tea is brewed in a large covered cup); at the high end it can come to $10 a cup, like the white flower tea that beetlebug got (beetlebug -- what wa sthe tea you got again?). They're good for 3 or so brews. I got an an aged pu-erh ($6) with the classic earthy flavor of this tea, although it wasn't as deep and complex and loamy as I was hoping it would be.
Also went to Emac and Bolio's. They had a small selection of flavors numbered in the teens. I tasted "Heaven" (their name, not mine, for vanilla, marshmallows, white choc chips) and the vanilla speck. The verdict: the clarity of the luxuriant vanilla flavor was better than "Heaven." The ice cream was dense, and almost "buttery," for the lack of a better word. Pretty good stuff.
I actually had the silver tips tea. It was ok, not as flavorful as other silver tips teas that I've had. But, the teahouse was lovely and had this great cushy couch that was great to sit in. Next time, I would go for one of the green teas.
Emack & Bolio's does have good ice cream, but I really value it when I need to be more ascetic, because they make good hard-scooped frozen yogurt. The best are the low-fat black raspberry chocolate chip and the nonfat key lime pie.