Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Tea House – Plymouth, MN

A-Wow and I like to meet up for lunch from time to time. We both work for the same company, so we like to call these “working lunches”. They’re clearly not. After the last adventure we had, A-Wow suggested one of his favorite places for me to try – The Tea House.

I was actually coming from a Nurse Coaching session for my health insurance. If you couldn’t tell from reading my blog, I like to eat. And generally the food I eat isn’t filled with lettuce and sprouts (and if it is, then it’s battered and deep fried). I failed 4 out of five of my biometric screening tests and was getting a consultation so I can lower my insurance rates. I had just listened to the nurse run through the list of foods I wasn’t supposed to be eating, secretly smiling the whole time, knowing A-Wow and I were going to demolish a Chi-Buf immediately afterwards. Hahahaha. Sucker.
When I walked into the Tea House, just a tad earlier than our scheduled meet time, I noticed the buffet was at least three times larger than the last place A-Wow and I went. This was already a good sign. It’s difficult to see in this photo, but just past the medium-sized buffet in the middle of the room, there is a wall-length buffet just behind it filled with even more goodies.
The lady showed us to our booth and then we got started loading our plates. This place has sooo many things on the buffet. More than any Chi-Buf I’ve been to. General Tao’s Chicken, Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Mongolian Pork, Sesame Chicken, Egg Rolls, Vegetarian Egg Rolls, Fried Cream Cheese Wontons, Fried Lo Mein Noodles, Pan Fried Beef Dumplings, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Egg Drop soup, Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Chicken, Cumin Beef, Chicken Steak (had a bone), Fried Rice, etc. The only thing I didn’t see were any seafood dishes.

I was still a bit jaded from the scolding I had just received from the nurse – “You’re tubby this…” and “Cookie dough is not a food that…” and “Your blood is like gravy this…” and “You’ve got two weeks left to live…” All this culminated into my first plate being at least 50% fried deliciousness.
The fried cream cheese wontons were really good, as were both egg rolls. They were all fried, but they didn’t feel greasy. I wasn’t constantly wiping my fingers off nor had grease dripping down my chin. Really good. The same went for the sweet and sour chicken pieces. Fried, but not greasy. See, I’m already eating healthier, Miss Nursepants!

The fried rice was better than most, as were the fried lo mein noodles. The General Tao’s Chicken (bits of fried chicken in spicy sauce) was pretty outstanding, and I totally got more on my next trip. And finally, the chicken in black bean sauce was NOT fried, but it was delicious anyway. I’ve never had that anywhere, and, like Ronnie James Dio, now I’ll be on the LOOKOUT for it.

And based on the above two paragraphs, my initial estimate of 50% of my plate being fried MIGHT have been a little low…

No matter. The next trip up, I got some egg drop soup (HA! NOT fried). It was one of the better ones I’ve had despite it being more egg-y than broth-y. It also had a strong corn flavor, which I’m totally becoming a fan of after recent versions of egg drop soup I’ve had have had corn in them. I like it. ….and back to fried. A couple more egg rolls and fried wontons, and a fried beef dumpling – which was also delicious. I got a couple of other things this time I missed the first time. Mongolian Pork – delicious! – and Cumin Beef – weird, but mostly good. The Kung Pao Chicken and the Sesame Chicken were above average, and the Broccoli Chicken was about average – just not a fan of broccoli chicken, I think. Finally, the Chicken Steak – which, as far as I can tell, is just large piece of chicken without bones – was just ok (and correct that, there WAS an accidental bone left in my piece).
I’m guessing I packed away a couple thousand calories, tons of salt and MSG, a boatload of fried-full-ness, BUT, I drank water. That’s much healthier than Mt. Dew, right? See, I’m well on my way to a Jack Lalanne body! (Oh wait, he died, didn’t he?...)

Overall, I was really thrilled with The Tea House. I didn’t want to tell D.Rough how good it was, since she had a turkey sandwich for lunch, but I accidentally spilled it. It was amazing and I can’t wait to take her here. The Tea House has a number of locations and if the other ones are even close to as good as this one, D.Rough will be happy.

I’ll be back, Tea House!

Top 5 things about the Tea House
1. General Tao’s Chicken
2. Chicken in Black Bean Sauce
3. Mongolian Pork
4. Egg Drop Soup
5. Overall HUGE buffet

Bottom 5 things
1. Broccoli Chicken
2. There’s a weird set up with napkins and silverware on the buffet itself, and not at the tables
3. There’s no place to put your heaping plate while you’re trying to get soup
4. We forgot to invite A-Wow’s awesome roommate and now feel terrible about it. Next time, Doughboy!
5. A-Wow and I really dropped the ball on the Nathan Lane jokes (The Tea House’s address is 88 Nathan Lane in Plymouth)

1 comment:

s said...

The one off White Bear and I-94 is the only one I've been too and it does not have a buffet, but the food is awesome. Next time you are at one of them you have to try the scallion pancakes(only a little grease) and the soup filled dumplings.