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

 

Recipe for Iranian Halva – Yum!

We’re currently stuck in the dog days of summer, so why not snack on some sweet and savory halva to cool you down? This super-simple dessert recipe is a favorite throughout the Iran and parts of the Middle East and Mediterranean – and it may just be on of your favorites, too!

          1 tablespoon chopped or crushed almond

          1 tablespoon chopped or crushed pistachio

          ½ teaspoon saffron

          – ½ cup rosewater

          7/8  cup sugar

          7/8 cup cooking oil

          1 cup wheat flour

1.       Put oil into a frying pan, allow to sizzle under medium heat

2.       Mix in flour and reduce heat.

3.       Stir until the flour and oil takes on a thick consistency and becomes golden in color. If mixed properly, it will also become aromatic

4.       Mix sugar into a small pot of water. Let boil.

5.       Mix saffron and rosewater into the sugar-water mixture, stirring regularly.

6.       Allow the flour and oil to cool, the mix in the other mixture.

7.       If the mixture is not thick enough (about the consistency of dough), then heat for 2 more minutes.

8.       Allow to cool, and garnish with pistachio and almonds.

9.       For a cool summer treat, allow to sit in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

For more delicious Iranian recipes, check out the following sites:

Iran Chamber Society (where today’s recipe came from): http://www.iranchamber.com/recipes/dessert/halva.php

My Persian Kitchen:  http://mypersiankitchen.com/persian-halvah/

Persian Recipes: http://www.persian-recipes.com/persianrecipes/2009/10/04/tar-halva/

What Afghan Recipe Uses Yogurt, Mint, and Cucumber to Parch Your Thirst?

 

Dogh is  a yummy and super-simple yogurt drink from Afghanistan that will surely quench your thirst (and your palate!) on these mercilessly hot days.

          16 oz. plain or vanilla yogurt

          4 cups chilled water

          ½ medium cucumber

          ½ tsp. salt

          ½ tsp. dried mint

 

1.      Mix yogurt and  water into a large pitcher.

2.      Skin the cucumber and finely chop. Add it into the yogurt and water

3.      Mix the mint and salt into the mixture. For a milder mint flavor, rub it between your hands before mixing.

4.      Serve chilled.

5.      For a twist on an old favorite, you may want to add in fresh berries and chopped fruits instead of mint.

 

For more information on Afghani recipes, check out the following sites:

Afghanistan Online (where today’s recipe came from): http://www.afghan-web.com/culture/cooking/dogh.html

Afghan Cooking Unveiled: http://www.afghancooking.net/afghan-culture-unveiled/afghan-cooking-recipes–all/

Which Capital was Once a Nomadic City?

Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, was originally intended as a nomadic city when it was established over three hundred years ago. 28 locations changes and several different names later, the Mongolian government decided to call the capital city “Ulaanbataar” after the nation was officially declared in 1924. The name means “red hero”, though it remains just who this hero was (Source: Info Mongolia; Legend Tour)

Black Rice Pudding is the Perfect Summer Time Dessert

Need something to cool you down during these scorching summer days? Brunei’s black rice pudding will do just the trick. A popular dish in Southeastern Asia, black rice pudding features coconut milk, glutinous rice, and palm sugar all mixed together for one ulta-delectable dessert.. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 ¾ cup black glutinous rice (note: it must be sticky rice or else the recipe will not turn out)

1 ½ cup fresh coconut milk

½ cup palm sugar

5 cups water

2 pandan leaves, finely ground

5 cups of water

Salt

1.       Rinse the rice for several minutes in running water, and make sure to drain thoroughly afterwards.

2.      Put the water, rice, and ground pandan leaves into a large put, allowing to cook for 45 minutes over a medium heat

3.      Add in palm syrup, and cook until the liquids begin to evaporate

4.      Allow to cool, and mix in some salt (no more half a teaspoon) in order to preserve the rice. 

5.      Allow to set a room temperate and serve topped with fresh coconut milk.

6.      For a more cooling summer dish, let sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving

 

For more recipes from Brunei, the following websites are a good start:

 

Healthy Life (where today’s recipe came from): http://www.healthy-life.narod.ru/wor_ek31.htm

Brunei Tourism: http://www.bruneitourism.travel/cultures/recipes.html

Recipes of Asia: http://www.asian-recipe.com/brunei 

Recipe for Japanese Curry to Spice Up Your Summer

Silk Screen is pleased to welcome Derek Vasconi as a contributing writer to our blog. Derek is a musician, writer, and entrepreneur who founded his own publishing house, Sakura Publishing, that caters to first-time authors and helps to secure interviews, appearances, and press release for the authors. Derek also had avid interest in Japanese culture, language, and cinema, and his articles will focus on contemporary issues in Japan; tips for travelling and learning the language; scrumptious and less-known recipes, among many more.. If you would like to learn more about Sakura Publishing or Derek Vasconi, please check out his website: http://sakura-publishing.com/

 

If anyone has ventured to the land of the rising sun, there’s a good chance you probably had a bowl of curry. It’s one of the easiest meals to digest if you have Americanized taste buds. Even if you’re not American, the flavor is something that I feel anyone can enjoy. The recipe below will make up to 8 to 10 plates of Japanese curry. And if you are a leftover kind of guy or gal, this tastes great for days after it’s made. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

Curry (sauce mix). You can buy this from anywhere that sells Japanese curry. I prefer  to use “Kokumaro Golden Curry,” Medium Hot blend. Amount you’ll need is 190g (approximately ¾ of a cup).

Chicken, beef, or pork, whichever you prefer 400g ( 1 lb). 

Onion 600g (1 1/3 lb)

Potato 300 g ( ¾ lb)

Carrot 200g ( ¾ cup)

Water 1200ml (5 cups)

Butter 1 teaspoon

Milk  4 teaspoons

Soy sauce 1 teaspoon

1 flat pan to cook the meat

1 big pot to cook all this yummy goodness in!

 

DIRECTIONS:

Ok, so you will need that big pot to start.

1.      Put your butter in the pot.

2.      Put your onions, carrots, and potatoes in the pot next. Be sure to dice up each one according to your liking.

3.      Heat on the stove until all vegetables are cooked well. I set my stove to about the middle of the dial, around 5 or 6, to cook the veggies.

4.      Chop up your meat to about thumb size pieces.

5.      Put your meat into the flat pan.

6.      Add a little salt and pepper to your meat…how much is up to you. If you like your meat extra salty, add extra salt, etc.

7.      Cool the meat until it’s brown and well done, according to your liking.

8.      Take the meat and put it in the big pot with the vegetables.

9.      Add water.

10.  Add milk.

11.  Add soy sauce.

12.  Cool on the stove at a low setting (I cook around 2 or 3 on our dial, sometimes even 1 if I have time to let it sit) for at least an hour. However, if you can, try to cook it for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you let it cook the better it tastes.

That’s it! When you’re finished, you’ll have an amazing home-style cooked Japanese curry!

 

If you would like to learn more about Derek Vasconi or Sakura Publishing, please check out his website: http://sakura-publishing.com/

 

Liangban Huanggua is a Summer Treat That Alawys Delights!

 Summer months mean vacation, sun-kissed glows and a change to unwind from work or school, but summer also means one thing: inescapable heat. Luckily, there are lots of awesome snacks and side dishes that will cool you down, are easy to make, and will even keep your waistline trim! Today we want to share this super simple Chinese recipe for liang ban huang gua, or cold-tossed cucumber salad. There are several ways of preparing, such as spicy, sweet, or sweet and sour, depending on the region and person preferences. Below is the version that one of our summer interns, Taylor tried out with friends – she couldn’t say enough good things about it!

Ingredients

– 2 large cucumbers

– 3 tsp. soy sauce or rice vinegar

– 1 tsp. chili powder

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp. garlic powder or four minced garlic cloves

– 1 tsp. sugar (optional)

– makes about 4 servings

 

1.      Keep cucumbers refrigerated over night. In the morning, peel them an put them into 1-inch cubes.

2.      In a large mixing bowl, mix soy sauce/rice vinegar until each of the cubes is finely coated and sticking.

3.      In a separate bowl, mix together garlic, salt, and chili powder. Then mix with cucumber until evenly coated.

4.      Served chilled

5.      Enjoy!

Below are websites that offer other variations on liang ban huang gua, each more delicious than the last!

ChiChiHeHe: http://chichihehe.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/%E6%B6%BC%E6%8B%8C%E9%BB%83%E7%93%9C-cold-cucumber-salad/

Vegetarian China: http://vegetarian-china.info/

CD Kitchen: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/133/Basil_Cucumber_Salad13258.shtml

SBS Food (originally published in Feast Magazine, June 2012): http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/15356/Spicy_cucumber_salad_%28sichuan_liang_ban_huanggua%29