Best Teahouse Miami 2011 - SpecialTea Lounge
We love Miami, we really do. This world of pastel concrete and banal vanity rooted in artistic expression warms our hearts like year-round sunshine. But some days, when we're sunburned and hung over and can't locate a baby-pink house with baby-blue shutters because all the houses are baby pink with baby-blue shutters, we crave a respite. Maybe a little café with the worn, grandfatherly feel of an older city like New York or Seattle... a place full of dark wood shelves displaying obscure books and children's board games... a joint owned by a young couple that wears earth-friendly T-shirts and brings a big, sloppy dog to work... a teahouse where college kids pen bad novels on their laptops while taking advantage of free Wi-Fi and sipping organic, fair-trade loose-leaf teas with pretentious names like shade-grown African honeybush tisane. Those days, we don't head to busy downtown corridors, historic Gables alleyways, or funky Design District paths. We look to the belly of the pastel, suburban beast — West Dade — a couple of blocks from Florida International University. We tuck into a storefront humbly announcing "Miami's only tea lounge" and order a panini and small pot of one of the more than 60 teas offered. We sit back on a comfy couch, catch a poetry performance or two, and ponder all that Miami might become in time.