Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Second Trip: Rose Tea Cafe

This past Sunday, SP's family gathered for a family dinner to celebrate Googer's birthday. Googer chose Rose Tea Cafe for his birthday meal.

When Sunday rolled around, I was pretty grumpy about dinner. There were several reasons, but a huge reason was that it was pretty darn cold out. Yes, I know it's January in Pittsburgh. But due to my health issues, the cold really, really bothers me. It's more than me being slender/small. I have talked with my doctor about this, and basically, I'm out of luck. The solution to the cold affecting my muscles so much and making me even weaker and chilled to the bone to the point where when I get home and finally huddle under a blanket, I still cannot warm up? Stay home or move to a warmer climate. Not great options. The night before, we'd been out & about to see a movie and have dinner and I ended up so darn cold and miserable. Even after a cup of hot tea and curling up under a blanket to watch TV I was still thoroughly chilled when we went to bed that night.

So off we went, to a 4:30 pm dinner (yes, that's another huge grumpy factor, the ridiculously early dinner hour because of one person who is unreasonable & inflexible in regard to the hour of dining), me bundled up in ear muffs, gloves, a scarf, winter coat with hood flipped up, extra shirt under my sweater... I could barely move I was so bundled up! It was a 1-2 block walk from the parking garage to dinner, but as I expected, I was thoroughly, miserably cold when we got there. It was warm inside, but every time the front doors opened, a gust of frigid air blew through and chilled me again. I kept my scarf on as an extra layer across the back of my neck.

A big gripe of mine with this place is the lack of description on the menu. That drives me nuts because I want to know what kind of sauce comes on the food. 'Chicken with vegetable' just isn't enough description for me.
To start, SP ordered a jasmine bubble tea:
I was surprised he ordered a cold tea, but he wanted the fat, black tapioca pearls. The drink was served with a fat straw to suck them up.

SP might have ordered a cold tea, but he ordered a hot soup (of course!) for an appetizer. Hot & sour soup:
He likes this kind of soup a lot and said this is a tasty version.

For his meal, he ordered seafood rice noodle soup:
You can't really see in the photo, but there were skinny (angel hair like) strands of rice noodles in a broth with cabbage, bamboo, carrot, sprouts, onion, and seafood (I remember shrimp & scallops). He said it was good.

I also opted for soup. I chose noodle soup with pork. In my mind I was thinking this would be similar to the bowls of udon I ate when I lived in Japan.
The noodles were thick like udon, and they were tasty noodles, but overall this dish was pretty bland and flavorless. Definitely not as tasty as the udon I ate in Japan. I'm not a big fan of cabbage or bamboo, so those didn't do much to enhance the dish for me. There were slivers of pork, but I would have liked more pork slivers. It was disappointing.

It didn't taste salty to me, but it must have been pretty darn salty because after we got home, for the rest of that night I couldn't drink enough water to satisfy my thirst. Between all the water I was chugging to quench my thirst and the hot tea I kept drinking to try to warm up... well, I drank a lot that night!

Rose Tea Cafe just isn't my kind of place. There were 8 of us crowded around tables smushed together and there wasn't really enough space to be comfortable, especially with our cold weather layers and coats. SP & I kept bumping each other. Food is served as it is ready, not everyone's meals at the same time. Both times I've eaten here, the food has been greasy and/or salty and/or bland or just plain mediocre, but given that I do not especially enjoy Chinese food (or much of any Asian food) it's not surprising that I do not like this place much. To be fair, I've only ordered lo mein (greasy), this soup (bland and apparently salty), and the fried dumplings (mediocre). SP's family frequently dines at RTC, so if you like Chinese/Taiwanese food, I suppose it's a good choice. His mother likes the seafood soup, though she added a lot of salt to it. She also really likes the salt & pepper shrimp and the shrimp with broccoli. Googer enjoyed his squid dish and last time he had an eggplant dish that he liked a lot. Z & ZSO order the lo mein and fried rice a lot and seem to enjoy it. SP's dad always enjoys his food at RTC.

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