Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Tea Spot: Hats off to you!

I’ve been wanting to visit Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake, a very popular Matcha inspired bakery, for quite some time. I just don’t wish to endure the long line-ups. This has been ongoing for a few years now, so, rather than heading to the original hot spot, I ventured off to Uncle Tetsu’s Angel CafĂ©, a sister operation, with less to no line-ups, and a variety of dessert options to satisfy your Matcha fix. 

The green dome!

I opted for something to takeaway rather than dine-in, though, I wouldn’t mind heading here one evening to experience the whole Japanese maid-style service and try a few different plates along with a Matcha latte or two. Another time for sure!

A bird's eye view of the dome!

For my takeaway, I went for their signature Matcha Angel Hat Cheesecake. At $10, it’s a good portion for two or three people to enjoy. It’s a cute, smooth, dome-shaped cake. I enjoyed it. It was unlike the traditional, dense, western-style cheesecakes. I’ve never been a big fan of cheesecake. It always felt like I ate a brick, especially after a full meal. I much preferred this texture. It was fluffy, airy, soft, and moist. It was a cross between a sponge cake and a mousse. Not super cheesy either. 

The dome is open!

There was a slight bitterness at the end of each bite, much like you would expect of any Matcha infused item. It wasn’t overly sweet either, which I liked. Perhaps a drizzle of dark chocolate sauce would enhance the experience and take it to a new level, but it’s lovely all on its own.

The Matcha Angel Hat Cheesecake is not the best cake I’ve ever had, but I’m glad I tried it. I prefer it over the regular cheesecakes, and I am curious about the other flavours the shop offers. Of course, I will need to swing by for the maid service. I hear they perform J-pop routines on their stage. Cool!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tea Readings: Tea for thee and me!

A little while ago, I posted a write-up on I’m a Little Teapot, a very well known nursery rhyme made into a song and dance. Well, there are other tea nursery rhymes too, though perhaps not as popular. At least I’ve never heard of them. I would describes these rhymes as “school bus songs”. They’re the sort of rhymes with repeated lyrics, that children sing on buses to pass the time away and drive their teachers insane. ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round…round and round…’ (Rolling my eyes!)

Here are a few more for the little ones to kill some time!

I love Billy.  He loves tea.  Go Billy!

Molly likes coffee.  So sad, but, let her be!

Party hearty girlfriends!

Polly makes, and Sukey takes!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Tea Spot: Hits the sweet spot!

Though it’s not summer yet, my hometown has experienced the odd day with high temperatures normally expected in July or August. What better way to beat this sudden heat than with a treat in the form of an ice-cream? I decided to swing by one of the many Japanese dessert shops that have popped up in the city these past few years. These shops specialize in tea, specifically Matcha, in their products, whether it’s cheesecake, tarts, cookies, and of course, ice-cream.

The shop I decided to visit in order to partake in their ice-cream offerings is called Tsujiri, which was established in 1860 in Japan. The have shops all over the world, and Toronto is lucky to have the first of its kind in Canada. Woo-hoo!

I knew what I already wanted after checking out Tsujiri’s website, so, when I stepped into the shop, I quickly ordered myself a Houjicha Soft Ice-cream. I figured there were plenty of Matcha options that I could always have another time here or at some other similar shop.

Houjicha is a Japanese green tea, usually made from Bancha leaves that have been roasted in a pot over charcoal. The green tea leaves turn into a reddish-brown colour as a result of being fired at high temperatures. The amber liquor from Houjicha has a toasty and nutty aroma and flavour. These unique characteristics can be found in the ice-cream too. 


I opted for a cone rather than a tub for my treat. The soft ice-cream had a lovely caramel colour and the taste was a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t overly sweet, which I find sometimes masks the true taste of a flavour. It had a roasted taste with just a touch of astringency at the end of each yummy lick. It was like having a Houjicha tea but as an ice-cream. I really like it. It’s definitely not your typical chocolate and vanilla ice-cream.

As I said, there are many other items on the Tsujiri menu that had me drooling. Clearly, I will need to tackle the menu and work my way through it. Hey, it gets pretty hot in city! Besides, I’m always on the lookout for new content. This is investigative journalism at its best!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Teaology 101: Today’s post is brought to you by the letters 'N' and 'O'!

Time for some more alphabets! This time, we’re getting another double dose of letters. Can you handle it? See all the previous definitions by clicking on their letters:

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M

Neat:  This indicates a well-made tea with good even-looking leaves.

Nilgiri:  Located in south-west India, this mountainous region produces some delicate tasting, fine black teas.

Nose:  Refers to the scent of the tea brewed. May also imply that the aroma of the brewed tea is good.

Nutty:  These are teas that taste, well, nutty. It's a good taste and can be detected in some Assam teas and even Genmaicha.

Nuwara Eliya:  This area, located in located in Sri Lanka, produces some fine, fragrant black teas that are light and delicate.

Old:  Tea liquor that has lost its usual characteristics due to the aged tea leaves.

Oolong:  Usually described as a Chinese tea falling between a green tea and a black tea, in that it is partially oxidized after the withering process. The name is derived from "wulong" and translates to Black Dragon.

Open:  Refers to an untwisted, loosely rolled, whole leaf. Shoumei, a white tea, is such an example.

Organoleptic: The process of using all your senses to evaluate foods. This procedure is used by tea tasters to evaluate the quality of teas.

Orange:  This refers to the colour of the tea tips or buds.

Orange Pekoe:  This refers to the size of the tea leaves. It has nothing to do with the flavour, colour, aroma, or any other characteristic of a tea.

Orthodox:  A style of tea making in India, these are teas that go through the traditional methods of plucking and processing tea. It is not a CTC processed tea.

Oxidation:  This is a process where the leaves react to the oxygen causing chemical changes that result in the teas unique aroma, flavour, and colour.