This will be the first in a series of posts I will explore from time to time called Chicago Hidden Gems. This series will have a affordable inspirational, culinary and travel angle .
Today I showed a dear friend around to my some favorite spots only we could appreciate. We decided to have a weekday Dim Sum lunch (average tab $15-$20 a person) at Phoenix , and then explore Wentworth Avenue, otherwise known as Old Chinatown. Admittedly, I don’t get to that part of Chinatown often but love a hidden little cookware store called Woks and Things. Affordable and huge variety. I left with a Dragon shaped garnish cutter ( suggested uses as cakes, garnish, vegetable cutouts) and the tea cups featured above for $1.25 each ( suggested uses for tea, soups, amuse bouche, starters, mini desserts, spice bowls). We then crossed over to the East side of the street and found Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng shop, one of the oldest and venerated tea havens in Chinatown, let alone Chicago. This is for hard core tea lovers who seek exceptional teas, beautiful ceramics, and a helpful educated staff. Don’t come here for adulterated artificial flavored teas. Amongst the copper tins and boxed teas, I choose a smoky and rich Lapsang souchong (Lap Sang Soo Chong at $17.00 a pound (suggested uses drink, tea smoke fish , chicken, or pork) along with boxed sets of Oolong, and Rose teas .The beautiful tin cannister to store my smoky goodness was an additional $5.75.
Finish your promenade with a stop by Hoypoloi, and Uncommon Gallery and revel in great American based art finds like the prints of Dr. Seuss. And then grab a hot or bubble tea from the younger hipper St.Alps Teahouse .
And there is a great Far Eastern interlude in a corner of Chicago some are too timid to explore in depth. There is a lot waiting to be discovered in Chicago.