Tea Time at DragonMoon Tea Company

By on March 11, 2015

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Years ago, my boyfriend and I lived in separate cities, and spent a lot of time dining out alone. One day, he called me with a confession. “Meg,” he said half hesitantly, half excitedly, “I ate at a teahouse today… and it was freaking amazing.”

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He took me there on my next visit to Tulsa, and I’ve since become a fanatic of the restaurant, proudly espousing the fancy-pants yet approachable magic that is DragonMoon.

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Owners Susan Blair and Sara Creed-Piper opened DragonMoon seven years ago. The sisters are Oklahoma transplants by way of Ohio, Colorado, and California, and are longtime restaurateurs. They ran a Keystone Ski Deli in Colorado in the 70s and 80s, moved around a bit, and finally settled in Tulsa.

“We always wanted to do tea,” Susan said. While it’s no Berkeley, Tulsa has provided a sound backdrop for the siblings-turned-business partners to harness their hopes for a traditional teahouse, and Green Country folks have been flocking to it like the English to Tea Time.

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When it comes to brewing tea, it’s an art. After talking with Sara and Susan, I now know that tea bags doused in microwave-nuked faucet water simply won’t cut it. Indeed, our interview was as much an intervention as it was an experience.

“All teas…come from a Chamilia Sinensis plant. That’s what tea is,” Susan explains. “But the amount of oxidation is what’s going to determine if it’s a green tea, or an oolong, or a pouchong, or a black tea.” And if you’re sipping green or white tea, forget boiling water. Those delicate leaves need hot water, which preserves oxygen better than boiling water, and leaves the tea with the desired life and brightness.

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Deciding to save the hot stuff for later, we started our lunch with the Iced Coconut Pouchong tea, which is absurdly delicious. Brisk and sweet without being overbearing (pouchong teas usually fall somewhere between a green tea and an oolong), it’s a perfect tea for afternoon porch sipping.

“I don’t think I know the word ‘Lipton,'” Sara says, and I believe her. One sip of the House Tea, and you’ll get it, too.

The House Green Mango Tea has a fruity vivaciousness to it, and bright notes of honey, despite not actually containing any. Enjoy a glass over lunch, or brew a gallon at home for guests.

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Keeping with the theme of sweet, we nibbled on the Cherry Almond Chocolate Chunk Biscotti, which are as delicious on their own as they are dunked in a cup of earthy Pu-erh Bordeaux tea. Tart cherries baked into a buttery, golden, chewy crust come out perfectly cooked (the hard crunch of an undercooked and dried out biscotti is enough to break your teeth. Theirs have none of that).

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After that we moved on to the Baked Chocolate Pudding, which was named one of the nine best desserts in Oklahoma by Oklahoma Magazine. Reminiscent of baked fudge, the Belgian dark chocolate is whipped and chilled into a silky, custard-like consistency. It’s sinful, and I ate it all.

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Next came the Lamington Cakes. Lamington Cakes were immensely popular while the sisters were growing up in Ohio, and are a nostalgic favorite. Made out of hollowed-out white cake, raspberry jam, whipped cream, chocolate, and coconut, they’re great for afternoon tea, or any old Tuesday.

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For lunch, we sampled the Southwest Chipotle Apple Sandwich. Roasted red peppers, tart, crisp green apples, melted Gouda cheese and homemade chipotle mayo sauce piled atop housemade sourdough bread make this sandwich irresistible. Best to enjoy it warm, when the cheese is still gooey.

After that, we noshed on an old world favorite, Hot German Potato Salad. Grandpa’s family recipe comes from Germany, is sweet and tangy with tender potato chunks and mouthwatering Raisin River bacon, and is served perfectly warm for quick feasting. “We might have the best Hot German Potato Salad in town,” Sara says. They’re bold words, but you know what they say: if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

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While we feasted, Susan and Sara nibbled on the Chinese Soba Noodle Salad. Consider this your challenge: order the salad, and see if you can bear to share a bite with you neighbor (I doubt it).

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Up next was the Duchess Veggie Sandwich. Housemade shallot cream cheese and fig and olive tapenade smeared beneath fuchsia-colored watermelon radishes, cucumbers, and sprouts stacked on top of homemade honey wheat bread combine to create a complex dish that eats more like a main attraction than a tea sandwich. Lose the cream cheese, and you’ve got a fantastic vegan option.

For an extra indulgence, dip it the Pumpkin Soup. Cumin-spiked and dusted with maple cayenne pepitas, the creamy puree packs a depth of flavor that stretches through the last slurp.

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Whatever you’re trying at DragonMoon, expect it to be uniquely delicious. “We try and stay away from things everybody can get every place else,” Susan explains, “and we work on being very long on flavor.”

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Homemade spicy pimento cheese, housemade breads, daily quiches (Lorraine and potato and herb are favorites) can be found on any given day, but the menu always packs a seasonal flair.

For example, their Guinness Stout Chocolate Cheesecake is a special feature for March, and it’s as decadent as it sounds. A chocolate cookie crust, rich layers of spongy chocolate cake, creamy folds of Guinness Stout cheesecake, a layer of chocolate ganache and green Sixlets for garnish comes beautifully plated, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s an inventive creation from their Pastry Chef, and it. Is. Good.

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“We’re really lucky. We have the best people working for us,” Susan insists. One of those people is Pastry Chef Zachariah Parker. The Johnson Wales-trained chef has helmed the teahouse pastry menu for just over a year and a half, and Sara and Susan couldn’t be more pleased. “We’re very lucky to have him,” Susan said.

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With a new menu coming soon, plans to start baking breads made with ancient grains, and grab and go quiches, strattas, and puddings about to hit the shelves at Petty’s Fine Foods this week, the ladies behind DragonMoon aren’t showing any signs up slowing down. Count on DragonMoon to remain a place to congregate, connect, and celebrate.

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“The way of tea, it’s about how the Orientals really look at tea, and what we wanted to do here was kind of follow that, where the tea room became a place for people to connect with each other… It’s tea as a community, and reconnecting with people.”

Human connection? We’ll clink our cups to that.

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DragonMoon Tea Company.
https://www.facebook.com/dragonmoontea
Wed-Sat, 11am-5pm
1927 S. Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK 74112‎
(918) 742-8322

Editor’s note: mark your calendars for DragonMoon’s upcoming Titanic-themed tea, to be held in April. Give Sara and Susan a call for details.

See an error? Please send corrections to suggestions@TulsaFood.com. Thanks for reading! 

Megan

About Megan

TulsaFood.com was founded 2008 out of a shared love of good food. What started as a blog where normal everyday people dined out and posted about their experiences has grown into a full scale food publication with professional chefs, writers, and photographers, each with a unique culinary and educational background to pull from. Today TulsaFood.com is Oklahoma's #1 online food publication.

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