Segueing from our relaxing day at the spa last week, we visit a place situated in DTF (Downtown Fullerton) that is as soothing as it is au courant chill.  Tranquil Tea Lounge is a sensory affair resulting from Eastern culture meeting Western aesthetic. Nevermind the outdated version of afternoon tea rife with stodgy ladies in floral dresses and brimmed pastel hats with pinkies jutted sharply outward. This chic, urban tea haven caters to OC denizens with a taste for LA’s more avante garde establishments — the essential alternative to the stale coffee house culture and the rowdy bar scene.

Siblings Jonathan Munsayac and Michellee Phelps sought out New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and locales in Los Angeles to gain insight and inspiration for their then new venture. Their combined backgrounds in special events, restaurant and marketing fields gave them a solid handle on running a successful business– knowing how best to satisfy the customer. In keeping abreast of everything currently happening in the global tea community, they attend the World Tea Expo; communicate often with their tea blend mixologists/importers; and visit plantations in China to gain education from the growers.

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Tranquil Tea Lounge is the perfect venue for both Munsayac and Phelps to showcase the intrinsic glory of the revered tea leaf as well as their passion for difficicult to find foodie fare. Aside from over 95 varieties of specialty and organic loose leaf teas that they offer, guests may also indulge their discerning, rumbling bellies. As with the decor, the pristine presentation of tea and food is delivered with much beauty and flair.

Munsayac explains that the double-walled glass teacup they use allows the steeped tea — all teas have different steeping times, by the way — to be enjoyed immediately without the risk of second degree burns. With the art of the Tea Ceremony, one is to appreciate the color, clarity, aroma and taste of each type of leaf combination.

Gourmet paninis and organic salads make up the majority of the items on the menu, consisting of mouth-watering ingredients like prosciutto, sun dried tomato pesto, melted fontina, kalamata olive bread, candied pecans and white tea vinaigrette. The Tranquil Tea Trio is the best deal at only $8 for half a specialty panini, fresh greens or soup of the day, plus a choice of hot or cold tea blend.

Bistro plates include a gorgeous Hawaiian poke salad (sushi grade ahi with avocado, chili oil, black sesame seeds and wonton crisps) and vegetarian-friendly Luau Tofu Lettuce Wraps (marinated tofu and veggies served with a lapsang souchong fused peanut sauce) and Pacific Spring Rolls (Vietnamese style with vermicelli noodles and veggies cozied up in rice paper).

Baked goods like the much-ballyhooed Parisian macarons (you’ll be hard pressed to find them anywhere in close proximity), white chocolate lavender scones, blueberry tea cakes, flourless chocolate cakes and mini cream puffs are all exquisite and made in-house, as is most everything.

The limited menu is kept that way, specifically to ensure consistency of product. When one is working elbow to elbow in a tiny galley kitchen, it makes no sense to try and offer complicated and fussy plates.

Every so often, Munsayac will host a tea tasting event where he talks about the subtleties and rituals related to the tea culture. He illustrates the Zen Buddhist manner of drinking Matcha green tea involving a clockwise quarter turn of the cup; a small sip; a brief meditation; and a counter-clockwise quarter turn of the cup before setting it down.

Tranquil Tea also has a private room available for special events such as bridal or baby showers, birthdays or engagement parties. It is in this capacity that Phelps grabs the helm of things; taking care of all the details and ensuring a memorable time for everyone.

With Munsayac and Phelps both having worked at the Disney Company, they offer their fellow cast members a 10% discount. Cross promoting with Purple Yoga, their clients are also given a 10% discount. Additionally, Tranquil Tea is an active participant in the Fullerton Art Walk, where every month they feature a new and talented artist/group of artists — keeping it tight in the Fullerton community.

Tranquil Tea Lounge: Not Your Grandma’s Cuppa.

$
mon-sun: 9am-9pm
sun: 11am-6pm
106 W. Wilshire Ave.
(714)869-3577
www.tranquiltealounge.com


Corky Nepomuceno

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