Last week, my family and their terrified-by-everything miniature schnauzer, Hoppa Loppa (not joking, that is the dog’s name), came into town, which meant I had to take time out from decorating my lime green tinsel tree with Facestuffer iPhone cases to show them around town, which was fine, because my family is #crazybutsuperfun.
We tromped through glorious Pittock Mansion and admired its holiday splendor. We had drinking chocolate at Cacao, a few times. We watched classic holiday movies like Die Hard. We had drinks at The Nines’, and complimented the Pioneer Square Christmas tree’s beauty from the heated comfort of the 8th floor elevator lobby. We investigated the cause of the entire house feeling like a giant sauna, found the thermostat turned to 82 degrees, and turned it back down to 64, approximately every 20 minutes. We dug around in the garage, found our garden gloves, put them on, removed other people’s underwear from the bathroom floor with two recoiling fingers, and gave impassioned lectures on bathroom etiquette. We yelled “I found your quaking miniature schnauzer hiding in the Goodwill bag again, want me to donate it?” And because there are few things more festive than a steaming cup of tea on a December day, we went to Steven Smith Teamaker’s ultra-cozy Northwest Portland tea room and had tea flights.
Most of the best markets in town carry a generous assortment of Steven Smith’s gorgeous teas, but there are so many more varieties than can fit on the shelves, and they’re all on the menu at the tea shop, a beautiful, cozy red brick building sharing the block with Olympic Provisions Northwest.
Choose four teas for your flight, and they’re served with suitable ceremony, complete with slurping spoons, tiny pots of their unsteeped loose leaf form, and fantastic little informational cards that give you the 411 on your tea’s heritage.
A flight serves two generously, and costs $8, which is a deal, especially considering that it gets everyone out of your house for a couple of hours, which gives people two less hours to leave their underwear all over your bathroom floor and shaves about $50 off the holiday central heating bill. You can then use that windfall to shop for holiday tea gift packs or samplers, and knock out a nice chunk of your holiday shopping.
Afterwards, the whole family agreed that besides watching Die Hard in a makeshift sauna and buying Hoppa Loppa back from the Goodwill, this was their favorite activity of the trip, so I’d definitely put it on your family holiday agenda, somewhere in between touring Pittock Mansion’s decked out halls and refilling your anti-anxiety meds prescription.
Steven Smith Teamaker * 1626 NW Thurman St. * 503.719.8752 * www.smithtea.com * Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm