Such a teaz

Flavors of the East delight at this new tea bar and café

TEA FOR YOU<br>Teaz Me manager Sherri Mikel serves a hot cup of some kind of exotic beverage to customer Gina Henson Tropea.<p></p>

Teaz Me manager Sherri Mikel serves a hot cup of some kind of exotic beverage to customer Gina Henson Tropea.

Photo By Tom Angel

Get teazed here: Teaz Me Tea Bar and Asian Café is located at 250 Vallombrosa. Phone: 895-8100.

If java just won’t jump-start you anymore, try tea.

You’ll find an amazing selection of teas and creative tea drinks, along with healthful and fun food items, at the recently opened Teaz Me Tea Bar and Asian Cafà on Vallombrosa Avenue in Chico, just behind Morning Thunder Cafà.

While many equate tea with a squishy and sorry-looking Lipton tea bag on a saucer, nothing could be further from that idea at Teaz Me, where you’ll find a dramatic and extensive drink menu. The alluring categories of drinks include Frost Me (creamy, frozen tea lattes); Freeze Me (blended tea freezes); Shake Me (specialty iced teas); Stir Me (sparkling tea infusions); Steam Me (hot tea lattes and chai); Shoot Me (shockingly refreshing herbal shooters); and Brew Me (loose-leaf teas).

Even if the idea of “high tea” has never appealed to you, you’ll want to try the myriad “anytime” drinks that Teaz Me offers. The Steamy Cider Chai and the Ginger Pear Sparkling Tea Infusion are two exquisite discoveries. For a loose-leaf tea, you have to encounter the White Silver Needle Jasmine, which gives an ethereal flavor. If you’re really daring, you can order tapioca pearls in your cup for texture.

Drinks run from $1.50 to $3.25, and you will thoroughly enjoy sipping amid the soothing, well planned dàcor, where ambient lighting and rich autumnal colors prevail. With its convenient location and pleasant atmosphere, the tea bar attracts the studious and the congenial alike. If you’re in need of fresh air, there’s a delightful outdoor area where you can hold court at a table with all of your friends gathered ’round for tea.

Once you transcend the pleasant novelty of a tea bar in Chico, you’ll want to try the “Asian Cafà” side of things. The Feed Me menu offers a Teaz Me Big Bowl in two variations: The Rice Bowl, which is seasoned sushi rice topped with a fresh combo of pickled ginger, avocado, cucumber, julienne carrots and sprouts with wasabi ginger sauce ($8.95), and The Salad Bowl, which includes fresh baby greens tossed with the pickled ginger/avo/cuke/carrots/sprouts combo and doused with a creamy miso dressing ($7.95). You can top either bowl with Hoisin BBQ Salmon or Sweet Chili Chicken for an additional sum. We tried the Salad Bowl with the chicken, and it tasted superb, the miso dressing proving to be an especially palatable condiment.

From the Asian Bites & Finger Food category ($3.95), we nibbled on the Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Skewers (2), which, while delicious, seemed a bit pricey for what was served. Hoisin BBQ Salmon and Scallion Skewers are also available. Other finger foods offered are the Baked BBQ Pork Buns (4) and the Hoisin BBQ Chicken Wings (6). We sampled the Teaz Me Sushi Roll ($3.95, California Shrimp or Spicy Salmon), which served as a pleasant hors d’oeuvre before our salad was served. Summer Rolls are available too. We didn’t get to the Munchie Bowl ($1.95), but it looks tempting: Warm edamame, roasted wasabi peas, smoked almonds and candied walnuts.

You shouldn’t leave Teaz Me without experiencing its desserts: The Strawberry Cocoa Cream Puff provided a wonderfully fluffy texture, but the Ginger Peach Layer Cake ($3.25) is the item we will request on a return trip; its flavor is positively transformative.

Although our first trip to Teaz Me found us busing our own table, as our waitress appeared to be oblivious to our progress with our meal, subsequent trips have allowed us to experience a wait staff that is friendly, gracious, helpful and efficient. We have enjoyed how several employees have asked us for feedback and suggestions, and we even provided a suggestion: Offer tea cookies. One staff person explained to us that we could purchase teas at Teaz Me so we would have something good to take home to brew.

Teaz Me offers a fun, upbeat food and beverage experience. If coffee seems a little passà these days—get teazed.