Field Trip: Afternoon Tea at Humble House, Taipei, La Farfalla 寒舍艾麗 La Farfalla 儀式餐廳下午茶

Information: Humble House Hotel: La Farfalla Italian Restaurant Songao Road, No. 18, 6th Floor, Xinyi District, Taipei, 110|Phone: 02-6631-8060| Website: www.humblehousehotels.com | 寒舍艾麗酒店 台北市 信義區松高路18 號六樓|

Taipei has really taken afternoon tea to a different level.  It’s gotten to a point where it’s no longer acceptable to just have tea, a scone, maybe a slice of cake, and/or a savory.  Instead, afternoon tea in many places actually constitutes an entire meal.  Buffet style!

Please note, some places do afternoon tea poorly.  First, you have to line up in this everlasting queue to just even set foot into the restaurant,  then you have to line up for ages just to get your food.  If that wasn’t enough, you have to go through more undignified jostling to get desserts and coffee afterwards.  The entire experience becomes a “grab what you can, while you can, before someone else gets to it first.” By the time you finish your afternoon tea, you are a grumpy, carb and sugar overloaded mess.

Thankfully, there are some places such as Lar Farfalla, at Humble House  that gets it just right.

Located on the 6th floor of Humble House Hotel, you are transported in to a bright and airy space as soon as you alight from the elevator.

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Field Trip: Waiting out the storm at Labu Cafe

One of my standby favorite cafes in Taipei is Labu Cafe. (Labu the phonetic pronunciation for the Japanese word “love.”) It’s a place where I really feel comfortable either going on my own and getting some reading or work done, or taking a friend for a leisurely chat and cup of coffee.  My most recent visit was during an afternoon torrential rainstorm.  (Side note: we are in the middle of typhoon season and the weather goes from blazing hot sun, to overcast and pouring down sheets of rain in the matter of minutes).

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I ordered a Croque Madame, which to me is fancy grilled cheese~ it’s a toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with a perfect sunny side up egg.  At Labu, it’s served with a generous portion of salad and a thoughtful side of French fries (since nothing is worse than having to choose between both).

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And of course, I had to have coffee. I ordered their regular latte, which arrives on a wooden tray with cute wooden animal knickknacks.  The coffee itself is strong and hearty, and gave me the energy to brave the typhoon.

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Enjoy!

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Information: Labu Cafe |Address: No. 7, Alley 2, Lane 161, Section 2, Xinyi Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100 |Phone:02 2351 621 | MRT Station: Dongmen

(This was not a sponsored post. I paid for all items with my own money, and all experiences and opinions expressed are my own)

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Field Trip: Cafe and Meal Muji (Taipei) 無印良品餐廳 ( 阪急店)

Information: Cafe & Meal Muji is located in the B2 Level of Hankyu Department Store, Taipei. | PH:02-2345-8551 |Hours of Operation: M-Thu: 11:00-21:30,Last order 21:00, Fri-Sun & National Holidays: 11:00-22:00,Last order 21:30 | More photos can be found here.

Cafe & Meal Muji opened in Taipei sometime in early 2015.  I kind of imagined to be an idyllic place~ where we could eat slowly and really enjoy the food.  That, was only a figment of my imagination. In reality, is that Cafe & Muji is a crowded, hectic little piece of square footage in the basement of one of Taipei’s busiest malls. Ever since it’s opening, there is always lots of people waiting in line. I happened to pass by one rainy afternoon, and decided to try my luck.  The front of the cafe now has a kiosk, where you can enter in your mobile phone number, and they send you a text message when there is a table available.  You can also specify if you are willing to share a table with other people, which may speed up your wait.  Then you can wander off and browse in the store and wait to be notified via text message.

Once your spot is available, you have to wait for the staff to lead you to a table, then you have to wait in line again, to select your food.  The basic formula is you can choose set menus consisting of three items (one hot food item, and two salad items, or two hot items and one salad)  for $220 NTD, or four items for $270 NTD (two hot, two cold items)  There is invariably a hold up because there is always someone ahead of you that cannot make up their mind, and/or changes their mind about 5-6 times.

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Luckily, they have a semi-open kitchen where you can watch the food being created.  Dozens of staff are bustling about, churning out the food that is served in the cafe. They seem to use the same kitchen tools that are sold in the store (some appear a bit larger, and are probably designed for restaurant use)  Continue reading

Field Trip: Afternoon Tea at TWG (新加坡創立品牌 TWG 微風分店)

Information: TWG Tea at Breeze Breeze Center, GF, No. 39, Sec. 1, Fuxing South Road, Taipei City 105, Taiwan| PH: + 886 2 8772 4519| Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 11am to 9:30pm, Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm| Please note they do not take reservations. 

Before taking friends to a particular place for afternoon tea, I like to try the places out on my own first, to make sure the atmosphere is right, the service is attentive and the food is scrumptious. I read about TWG’s opening on Vogue Taiwan’s website, and decided to stop in for a quick cup of tea while I was in the neighborhood. TWG (which stands for “”The Wellbeing Group”) is a Singaporean company that specializes in curating teas and tea ware from around the globe. They have locations in the United States, and throughout Asia, and just recently opened up shop in Taiwan. The TWG described in this post is located in the basement level of Breeze Department Store. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is quite a generous space for afternoon tea. The front of the shop has curved glass windows, the interior is a mixture of yellow, gold, black and dark wood furniture. The chairs are wicker and black velvet and quite comfortable. More importantly, there is plenty of space between the tables, so you can sit and chat without being too distracted by the neighboring tables. The tables have crisp, white table cloths (my favorite!) and crisp napkins to match.

I ordered their afternoon tea set, where you can choose either to have a scones or muffins, or a dessert from their dessert cart, and a pot of tea from their vast selection. The tea selection was about 10 pages long, which is to be expected from a tea specialist.  However, you start to lose your focus a bit after paging through the third or fourth page.  (I find that Smith and Hsu’s hands-on way of selecting from their collection of teas, to be much more user friendly, and entertaining, since tea is much more than a visual process, it’s a tactile and sensory process too) I chose a lemon tart from their dessert display. There were also different tea infused cakes and macarons to choose from, but I had the most desperate craving for lemon tart, so that was my first, only and number one choice.

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Hello Hong Kong! LOG-ON, Midori Traveler’s Notebook Hong Kong Tramways Edition and Simply Life

Information: Simply Life  Shop A,C&D, G/F, 13-15 Cleveland Street, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong |銅鑼灣Fashion Walk加寧街13-15號地下A,C&D舖 | Log-On Fashion Walk, Level 1 Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

When I was in Hong Kong, I made time to visit the Log-On Store to see the「Traveler’s notebook and Hong Kong Tramways」special edition. The Log-On store that carries this line is located in the Fashion Walk shopping complex, in Causeway Bay. (I went to the other Log On Store in Kowloon Tong, and they did not have them there)

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In case you are wondering, Log-On is a branch of City Super, which is a chain of grocery stores that sells a combination of local and imported products. I think the City Super chain originated in Hong Kong, and now there are several branches in Taiwan too.  In Hong Kong, Log-On houses all the lifestyle, homeware and stationery products and is in a completely separate section from the groceries. In Taipei, there is some stationery in the City Super Stores, but the layout is not very user friendly. It’s sort of squished in the same section as the sweets and personal care products.  While it’s convenient enough to do some impulse shopping, while you are popping in to buy milk or something, I think it would be better to have  a separate section just for stationery and lifestyle products.

Back to the Log-On store in Fashion Walk, which was really very pleasant to shop in. The layout of the store is clear, and there is plenty of space for you to browse. Naturally, the first thing to catch my eye was the washi tape display.

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The Traveler’s notebook and Hong Kong Tramways special edition display is located a little further into the store.

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I seriously wish it was my job to design these bulletin boards. Love everything on this board, and the way it was laid out. So many fun details.

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Field Trip: Finding kitchen treasures at Woolloomooloo’s WXY Yakka~ 讓我找到回憶跟創意的小店

Many of you know that Woolloomooloo is a hip urban gastropub in Taipei that serves Australian-style lattes and a wonderful variety of Western style entrees and appetisers.

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But, to me, the best part about Woolloomooloo is the desserts.  My most heartfelt love goes to their strawberry tart.  It is perfection on a plate. The organic strawberries are ripe, sweet and juicy, and the creamy smooth tart base has just the right hint of tanginess.

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學生時代的時候, 我在澳洲住了將近四年。 那時候, 最enjoy的是澳洲的咖啡。 那裡的咖啡就是小小的一杯, 但非常濃郁。 喝完了那一杯真的會讓你精神百倍。 回想一下, 我那幾年加起來大概喝了上百杯的小小杯咖啡吧! 後來時透過好朋友 Janet 才知道 Wolloomoolo 也能喝到澳洲 style 的咖啡。

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