Beirut's a divey but decent middle eastern place a block away from the Federalist on Beacon Street. According to beetlebug, it's a recent opening -- both of us sighted it independently. I lunched there today before tea and was fairly happy with the beef kibby plate. Each kibby is composed of two slabs of a minced beef and buckwheat mixture with a meatloafy moist texture that sandwiches a sprinkling of pinenuts. It's ready to drown in tahini sauce the way a slice of meatloaf eagerly dives into gravy. Very homey, with one major but not fatal flaw: dry rocky corners on one of the kibbys. Salad was very fresh, rice was well oiled but not greasy. There's quite a few middle eastern soft drinks and juices in the fridge display -- I got a rich guava nectar.
Qingping makes references to the Chinese teahouse ambiance on many fronts, especially in the Chinese-style tables and chairs. The classical elegance is updated with many modern hipsterized touches and the end product looks stylish in a funky sort of way.
The teas are fairly good but pricey. At the low end it's $3 or so for a cup (gaiwan style brewing where the tea is brewed in a large covered cup); at the high end it can come to $10 a cup, like the white flower tea that beetlebug got (beetlebug -- what wa sthe tea you got again?). They're good for 3 or so brews. I got an an aged pu-erh ($6) with the classic earthy flavor of this tea, although it wasn't as deep and complex and loamy as I was hoping it would be.
Also went to Emac and Bolio's. They had a small selection of flavors numbered in the teens. I tasted "Heaven" (their name, not mine, for vanilla, marshmallows, white choc chips) and the vanilla speck. The verdict: the clarity of the luxuriant vanilla flavor was better than "Heaven." The ice cream was dense, and almost "buttery," for the lack of a better word. Pretty good stuff.
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