Monday, September 24, 2012

Spice Island Tea House

AHHHH, this weather is making me SOOOOO happyyyyyyy!!!

Can you sense my enthusiasm?  For that reason, it was irresistible for James and I to take one LOOOOOONG walk along the trails in Frick Park on Saturday.  The weather was perfect, the air was crisp, and we were motivated to walk as long as we could through the trails, despite the changes in elevation.

While walking, I received a message via Facebook from a fellow co-worker, asking my opinion of the Spice Island Tea House in Oakland - rarely do I ever venture into Oakland (I did not attend Pitt - Penn State was my homeland), so I had never been, but I figured that James had.  I asked his opinion, and it was positive, so I relayed it to my co-worker friend.

I guess the positive thoughts on the place stuck in James's head, because he suggested going there for a late lunch.  We had walked 4.7 miles, up and down many steep hills, and were famished.  I agreed to go on one condition - he had to drive us there, as I had driven my car to Frick Park.

Oakland is foreign territory to me.

Spice Island Tea House
We found a spot right near Spice Island, luckily, and once we arrived at the restaurant, we were immediately seated at a table for two.  The place was small, but 3/4 full of people, with lively conversations taking place in all corners.  We ordered the house iced tea to drink, which today was oolong:

Oolong Iced Tea
I had no idea what to order.  I had thought about the Pad Thai, but I also thought that I should venture outside of my comfort zone.  I left the ordering up to James, who ordered for himself - oh, guess what? - PAD THAI (he claims it as his favorite Pad Thai in the city):

Pad Thai 
For me, he ordered the Five Spice Chicken, with Coconut Jasmine Rice (which is $1 extra as a substitute for steamed rice), which was also accompanied by the Soup of the Day, :

Burmese Hiringa with Tilapia Soup
Five Spice Chicken
James's Pad Thai was fantastic.  I can see why he claims it as his favorite - I haven't had Pad Thai at many restaurants around town, but this was GREAT Pad Thai.  Best I've had, for sure.

My dish was good - not very adventurous, by my standards.  As I cut into the chicken, the skin immediately separated from the meat.  If the chicken had five spices, I could not identify any of them, but it had flavor.  I mentioned to James on the way home that if my dad (the non-adventurous one) had been forced to eat at Spice Island Tea House, I would recommend that dish to him, since it was similar to barbecued chicken.  The Coconut Jasmine Rice was definitely worth the extra dollar - much more flavor than boring old steamed rice, but not so much to overpower the flavor of the chicken.  I especially liked the crispy fried onions that adorned the top of the mound of rice.  On the side of all of this were two small samoosas, and I gave one to James (awww, I'm so sweet!)

Speaking of sweet, at this point we were presented with the choice of dessert or no dessert - so we compromised and decided to share a dessert - Fried Banana...

Fried Banana
...with a side of Coconut Ice Cream (which the waitress forget to bring with the banana - and we crushed the banana before she made it back out, hence the separate pictures):

Dave & Andy's Coconut Ice Cream
Well, I mentioned that we crushed the banana - SO yummy - and the coconut ice cream (from Dave & Andy's up the street, by the way) was TO DIE for.  Dessert is a must-do at Spice Island.

With full bellies, we walked up the street so that I could see what this Cuban place up the street was...

The Black Bean, also on Atwood Street in Oakland
*Adds to list*

And then we walked down the street to visit Las Palmas #2, similar to the one in Brookline (maybe a bit smaller), with a taco stand outside!  SO TEMPTING, but it wasn't possible for us to fit another morsel of food into our stomachs that day :-(

Maybe I should go into Oakland more.  I'm not a traitor if I do, am I?

Spice Island Tea House
253 Atwood St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (Oakland)


Spice Island Tea House on Urbanspoon

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