Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Santa Monica: Valen Dolce

A Saturday midday excursion with Hua, at Valen Dolce on Montana Avenue.  Neither Hua nor I had ever been in that particular section of Santa Monica, but we really liked the peacefulness and the comfortable selection of cafes and boutiques.

We had a Groupon for a tea tasting at Valen Dolce, which entailed a brief "tea tour," tastings of three teas - with the option to specify our own blend - and macarons.  We tasted the Earl Grey Creme (black tea), Jasmine Rose (green tea), and Guava Ginger (white tea).  I really liked the Earl Grey Creme for its richness.  Hua, who often takes her Earl Grey with milk, found the vanilla flavor to be a bit much, and she ultimately preferred the Guava Ginger.  Initially we both found the Jasmine Rose to be promising, but it ended up being the one tea for which we didn't request a hot water refill.

Sniffing various teas

Our chosen three: Earl Grey Creme, Jasmine Rose, Guava Ginger

For our macarons, we chose pistachio, coconut, raspberry and chocolate (top to bottom as pictured).  These were excellent: both delicate and chewy.  Coconut was probably my favorite.

From the picturesque assortment in the display case we also chose two little cakes, because we're enthusiastic like that: "Romance" (champagne and lychee mousse) and "King's Purse" (chocolate mousse, almond crunch, and chocolate cake).  The former was very well-balanced, while the latter was arguably too sweet and rich.

Display case of desserts
"Romance" and "King's Purse," with macarons

Two pleasant hours passed, and then it was back to Westwood, where much renal physiology had to be learned (and, lets be honest, still has to be learned).  I suppose that transition was somehow fitting since caffeine is a diuretic and by now we have learned how the various types of diuretics work, but I'm pretty sure no one wants to read those details on my food blog, so I'll stop here.