Three way | Tea
All the best traits of a good cup of tea can be found in the chai cocktail at ajasteak, from the spicy, full-bodied notes of the Darjeeling used as the cocktail’s base to the delicate sweetness of the honey. There is something, of course, elevating the drink to an adults-only beverage—a generous dose of vanilla Absolut. Which means this is one chai that’s probably better suited to unwinding after hours, not chugging on your morning commute. (Dana Hotel & Spa, 660 N State St, 312-202-6000).
For his green tea–dusted diver scallops, BOKA chef Giuseppe Tentori took inspiration from the intense smell and flavor of matcha, traditional Japanese green-tea powder. The unique (but admittedly intimidating) ingredient lends a brighter, more vibrant green color and a stronger flavor than the tea leaves themselves. Tentori wields the matcha powder gently, so as not to overwhelm the scallops but to complement the refreshing springiness of the dish’s pea purée and coconut emulsion. (1729 N Halsted St, 312-337-6070).
You won’t find any leaves in the chamomile ice cream pastry chef Cathy Miller recently added to the dessert menu at Takashi, but you will find plenty of the herbal tea’s essence. Miller steeps the delicate yellow flowers in cream, strains it, then turns the fragrant liquid into ice cream. The floral flavor is powerful enough to stand up to the pistachio sponge cake napoleon it’s served with—cake layered with vanilla Bavarian cream, lemon curd and pistachio meringue. (1952 N Damen Ave, 773-772-6170).—Sarah Grainer