Dobra Tea Restaurant Review: Absolutely Delightful!

A few weeks ago, one of our interns stopped by Dobra Tea and couldn’t wait to share her experience with our readers. Dobra Tea describes itself  as a “Bohemian-style” tea house where friends may take time to unwind and bond over tea and light fare.  Each months features several musical and dance performances by local and international artists, as well as belly dancing and tarot-reading lessons. So, what should you know about Dobra Tea?

The Atmosphere: Dobra Tea describes itself as a “Bohemian-style” tea house, though one might say that its interior is more reminiscent of a Turkish tea house. Patrons have the option of either dining in the public dining area or small, raised alcoves partitioned with beaded draperies. The walls are adorned with photographs and painted in shades of coral, cool turquoise, and sunflower yellow.

Patrons have the choice of either reclining on cloud-soft benches that wrap around the length of the alcove; intimately-positioned sofas; or small cushions on the floor that encircle the table.  Traditional patterns are featured as mosaics on both tables and beneath some of the windows.

The dining area is not particularly large, but it does offer patrons the dual experience of creating a quiet, relaxing environment in which one may chat with old friends, yet further the sense of community amongst patrons. The way in which the seating is positioned allows one intimate and private conversations with friends, yet allows a broad view of the restaurant and other patrons. Outside seating has recently been made available.  Rating: 10/10

The Service: The staff at Dobra Tea are exceptionally knowledgeable about their product – quite an impressive considering their selection of over 100 teas! Our server made us feel very welcome and treated us as if we were old friends who had come for a visit. He also was able to expound at length about the history, make, and quality of each tea, and his suggestions were perfectly tailored to both my preferences and those of my friend.  Rating: 10/10

The Tea: I drank the plum tea, which featured small pieces of dried plum mixed throughout. I enjoyed its subtle fusion of sweet and sour, but the pieces of plum distracted me slightly from fully enjoying the flavor. However, I tend to not prefer any fruits  in my beverages (i.e not pieces of fruit in smoothies, no pulp, etc), so this should not pose a problem to most patrons.  

My friend drank the Rooibos Masala tea, which couples cinnamon, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, and orange peel to offer the tongue an initial sweet taste that turns into a kick that challenges even the most heat-resistant palate. The taste was subtle enough that it do not conflict with her hummus and vegetable plate, but distinct enough to leave your mouth both delighted and surprised. I returned several times later with other friends, each of whom could only say good things about their tea of choice. Rating: 10/10

The Food: Dobra Tea offers individual-sized portions of international treats like pita bread and hummus, chocolate medicine balls, fresh fruit, baklava and more. On my first visit, I tried pita Jerusalem, which are thin slices of pita coated in cinnamon – a perfect accompaniment to sweet or spicy teas and a great choice for those who prefer sweet-and-salty treats.  My friend ate a rich, lightly-seasoned hummus with air-light pita and sliced vegetables. The portions are on the smaller side, so it is best to order a plate for each member in your group. 9/10

Affordability: Since it caters to specialty tastes, Dobra Tea’s beverages are somewhat more expensive than at your local coffee shop (anywhere from $4-$8 depending on the ingredients, and then more if you order a kettle of tea versus a single cup). Tea and appetizers for two people should cost only around $25 dollars, which is quite reasonable considering the cozy atmosphere, excellent service, and wide selection of quality teas and appetizers. Rating: 9/10

In short, my experience with Dobra Tea was quite good – the teas were delicious and affordable, the service was excellent, and the atmosphere makes one feel as if one is in a Turkish tea house from hundreds of years ago. I have gone back several times with friends, and their quality of service and fare never fails to delight.

 

Contact:

http://dobrateapgh.com/menu/

 

1937 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

412-449-9833

Monday-Saturday: 10AM – 10 PM

Sunday: 11AM – 7 PM

 

Listen to Music From India Every Suday at 8:00 PM

Every Sunday evening from 8:00-10:00 PM, Silk Screen founder Harish Saluja and Board President Dr. Vijay Bahl  host Music from India on Pittsburgh’s WESA radio station*. Conent comes from Dr. Bahl and Mr Saluja’s shared collection of over 2,000 CD’s and cassettes, and features classical, contemporary, and film songs from India. The program is the longest of its kind in the nation, having started in 1972 after the India Association of Pittsburgh asked Harish Saluja to host the radio program We can’t think of a more perfect way to end one’s weekend than by listening to soothing compositions by a score of exceptional Indian artists.

*Music from India was on the WDUQ radio station until recently, but was later changed to WESA

If you would like to learn more about the Music from India radio program, please check out the following sites:

 

Silk Screen : http://www.silkscreenfestival.org/134/music-from-india-radio-show

WESA: http://wesa.fm/schedule

Global Pittsburgh : http://www.globalpittsburgh.org/community-south-asia

A Perfect Dessert After a Night at the Movies

Today’s recipe is for barfi, which is a popular Indian  and Pakistani dessert food that has its origins in Persia. Recipes vary from region to region, and according to personal preference, but barfi undoubtedly is the perfect end to night spent at the cinema with friends. Today’s recipe from SBS.com is for a coconut barfi with pistachios and almonds, with some small additions and variations. If you have any other variations on the barfi recipe that you would like to share, please feel free to comment below!

Ingredients

          10 oz. shredded coconut

          14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

          1 tbsp. ghee (or oil, if needed)

          ½ cup of sugar (optional)

          10 pistachios, de-seeded and crushed

          10 almonds, crushed

          10 cardamom seeds, unpeeled and crushed

1.      Put a frying pan on low heat on your over burner

2.      Mix in the coconut, milk, ghee, and sugar in  a large bowl, and pore into the pan. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture begins to dry

3.      Once the mixture is dry, pour it from the pan into a large bowl or cake dish. Once it is cool enough to use your hands, begin to knead the mixture into small  balls, and evenly mix in pistachios, almonds, and cardamom

4.      Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a large dish and let is solidify in a refrigerator. This is better for thinner mixtures or large amount of barfi mixture. In this case, it should cool for at least twenty four hours

For a little something extra, you may also want to incorporate chopped dried fruits or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

If you would like to explore other barfi recipes, you may want to look at some of the following websites:

SBS.com: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/41/Coconut-cardamom-burfi

Nisha Madhulika.com: http://nishamadhulika.com/en/263-mawa-barfi-recipe.html

Sailu’s Kitchen: http://www.sailusfood.com/2009/12/23/kobbari-burfi-coconut-sweet/

Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gale-gand/almond-burfi-recipe/index.html

Who is the Most Recorded Bollywood Playback Singer?

Asha Bhosle, one of  India’s most renowned playback singers, was awarded the Guiness World Records 2011 award for the Most Recorded Artist.  Since 1947, it is estimated that Ms. Bhosle has sung in over 11,000 songs – singles, duets, and songs with choral backgrounds – in twenty different languages (Hindustan Times). Ms. Bhosle and her sister, Lata Mangeshkar, have been alternatively lauded as the “most recorded playback singer”. From 1974 – 1991, the Guinness World Records claimed that Ms. Mangeshkar was the most recorded artist. However, in 1991 they asked for documentation that she had sung in over 25,000 thousands, which Ms. Mangeshkar could not fully provide ( Hindustan Times).  Regardless of the specific numbers, one cannot deny that Ms. Mangeshkar and Ms. Bhosle are perhaps two of the most renowned and gifted singers of their age, and have drastically influenced Bollywood cinema and singing.

If you would like to read more, please read the following articles from the Hindustan Times or NPR:

Regarding Ms. Mangeshkar’s  record:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/ColumnsOthers/Setting-the-record-straight/Article1-906115.aspx

Regarding Ms. Bhosle’s record:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Music/Asha-Bhosle-enters-Guinness-World-Records/Article1-759920.aspx

Regarding Ms. Bhosle’s record:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124110521