^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

What Tea at the Taschen Is Like in the Joule

The nip in the air and the incessant drone of Christmas music means it’s that time of year when we take Melis sa’s mom to tea.

The Joule egg: paired beet-cured salmon with smoked trout roe and served in a quail egg shellEXPAND
The Joule egg: paired beet-cured salmon with smoked trout roe and served in a quail egg shell
Philip Kingston

High tea in the American interpretation almost universally means standard black teas served in the lobby of a reasonably nice hotel to guests ensconced in overstuffed chairs from which they may or may not be able to extricate themselves. Oh, and fussy finger sandwiches and dried-out scones.

Santiago Calatrava: the Art and Architecture of Cost OverrunsEXPAND
Santiago Calatrava: the Art and Architecture of Cost Overruns
Philip Kingston

It may sound like I’m down on tea. Not so. Boring black tea is still delicious, and finger sandwiches make me laugh every time even if they aren’t culinary triumphs. Plus the whole point is to spend some happy time with family during the holidays. I’ll gladly go to tea every year. Zero Grinch.

But what if there were a hip tea in a provocative location with legitimately delicious food (and a lot of prosecco)? There is! Tea at Taschen

Taschen is the German publisher of beautiful books on fascinating topics ranging from arts and culture to history to, well, this:

*That* corner of TaschenEXPAND
*That* corner of Taschen
Philip Kingston

The Taschen bookstore is one of the quirky amenities that makes Tim Headington’s Joule Hotel the gem it is for downtown Dallas. And while the crowd at tea may not have been quite as coutured up as your normal Joule lobby dweller (they let me in after all), I recognized stylish Lakewood moms and urbane downtown neighbors. The conversations in the cozy space also seemed hipper and wittier than perhaps one would expect from tea.

The space contributed to the banter. In addition to Taschen’s eye-catching conversation starters, the room is decorated with the elevator murals from the Mercantile tower. The rest of the hotel contains many other rescued mosaic works from that historic building.

These mosaics line the ceiling of the library. You can find more of them in the lobby, while just a few still remain in the former Mercantile Bank building eastward on Main Street.EXPAND
These mosaics line the ceiling of the library. You can find more of them in the lobby, while just a few still remain in the former Mercantile Bank building eastward on Main Street.
Philip Kingston

At a time when the city was spending tens of millions of dollars to persuade another developer to renovate the Mercantile block, preservationists and Angela Hunt had to go hat in hand to Headington to save these wonderful works of art. It’s a very Dallas kind of preservation story, but today we’re lucky that we have more than just pictures to remember these lovely pieces.

The most notable aspect of the adventure was the menu itself. The teas were wonderfully flavored takes on classic varieties. Texas chile chai was powerfully brewed with outré chile spice. None of the teas were for purists, but paired with the strong flavors of the food, their flavorings seemed like good choices. The Joule egg dish paired beet-cured salmon with smoked trout roe in a quail egg shell. The hard spice macaron delivered a sweet-savory combination of foie gras mousse and Sauternes gelée. The last time I drank a Sauternes, I wished it had been a gelée; so this ingredient felt validating.

What you'd expect from tea, but with more flavorEXPAND
What you'd expect from tea, but with more flavor
Philip Kingston

Some of our party felt the sweet second half of the menu was too dominant, but that may have resulted from the chef’s confidence in the dishes. Headington concepts uniformly excel at scones. So even though I think cranberry-white chocolate is as tired as pumpkin spice, the perfectly baked pastry was a joy. The sole disappointment of the trip was the strawberry peppermint shooter with its overwhelming flavor of Scope.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Did I mention that they just kept pouring the prosecco the whole time? For $79 per head inclusive of tax, tip and valet (and they weren’t kidding; there was no easy way to tip extra), this felt like a pretty good value given the visual presentation, the quality of the ingredients and the general deliciousness of the fare.

England is about to turn into a bad imitation of a Huxley novel, so get down to the Joule to enjoy a delightful American version of what Great Britain used to do when it was a civilized country.

The Taschen Library at the Joule, 1530 Main St. (downtown)

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.