Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Headwaters PDX at The Heathman

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a Russian Tea Experience at Headwaters PDX at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon.  The historic hotel was built in 1926 and is conveniently located on the corner of SW Salmon Street and SW Broadway, next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and a short walk to the Portland Art Museum.


The Tea Court Lounge inside Headwaters has recently been restored and renovated, combining modern and historic elements like the original eucalyptus wood panels.  Seating is at tables with upholstered armchairs.  The Mezzanine Library is housed within the Tea Court and the bookshelves give a feeling of  taking tea in a well-appointed study.

On an interesting note, every single book in the collection on display (over 3,000 volumes) is autographed and the hotel offers one free night stay to authors on book tours in exchange for a signed copy of their book.


Additional seating is located upstairs.  The space is public and mainly used by hotel guests, though seating during the popular holiday teas will also be on this second level.



The tea menu includes white, green, black, pu-erh, and herbal selections, all sourced from Portland-based Smith Teamaker.  My tea selection was Georgian Caravan, a blend only available at Headwaters PDX.  The tea is served loose in the teapot with a silver strainer to place over the cup.  

Appropriate to the Russian theme, there was sugar for those who drink their tea vnagladku (with sugar) and jam for those who prefer to drink their tea vprikusku (with sweets).  I enjoyed my tea vprigladku (plain), though I did add a bit of jam when I reached the strongest brew toward the bottom of the teapot.  Hot water refills were offered regularly throughout my visit.


The menu is a collaboration between Chef Vitaly Paley and Pastry Chef Megan Jeans.  Chef Paley is originally from the country of Georgia.  When he joined Headwaters a few years ago, the afternoon tea transitioned from an English-style menu to Russian and Eastern European.  The savories during my visit included buterbrodi (buttered bread open-faced sandwiches), khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread), piroshki (stuffed puff pastry, and blini (small pancake).  Among the sweets were cakes from Russia and Ukraine, as well as a cake made from a recipe by Chef Paley's grandmother. 


Reservations are required and may be made by phone or online.

Let them know in advance if you have vegetarian, gluten, or dairy dietary restrictions.

Address:
1001 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205

Hours:
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm, 12:15pm, and 2:45pm
Additional seatings may be available for holiday teas.

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