BEST CHAI Minneapolis 2007 - Namaste Café
Or, more precisely, masala chai, an addictive blend of hot milk, spices, and black tea, a South Asian favorite usually found in Twin Cities coffeehouses in a cardboard carton in concentrate form. Better to think outside the box and head to Uptown's Namaste Café for freshly brewed chai made to order in intriguing flavor combinations. While the Eucalyptus Chai may be an exotic curiosity, other combos are more alluring. The toasty chai anise is like drinking a fresh-baked anise biscotti, while the Spicy Masala Chai is a zippy mix of cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom with a healthy sting of black pepper. More comforting, but no less delicious are the decadent Coconut Cre'me, with enough coconut to make a macaroon jealous; and a Vanilla Nutmeg Chai whose sweetness collides with a sharp stab of nutmeg in just the right part of your taste buds. Sure, you can get it to go, but a complex cup of chai like Namaste's (a large costs between $2.75 for a basic flavor and $3.50 for the fancy stuff) is worth lingering over in the cafe's sunny setting, with its great people-watching vistas. Namaste also puts together a mighty nice menu of Himalayan favorites, such as gentle, complex curries featuring everything from lamb to black-eyed peas, or mamacha dumplings, which complement your chai perfectly.