Although the bahn mi is too expensive ($3.50), it is all wrong (grilled on a panini maker), I enjoyed it very much and will someday try the BBQ pork version. Today I had grilled pork.
The panini grill made the roll wonderfully crunchy, there was a nice mix of meat to veggies and the sauce was very good. The sandwiches are pre-made and wrapped in white butcher paper. They are opened up, and everything is heated on the panini grill.
Located a block from Amtrak and in the vicinity of Ikea, it is probably the only bahn mi and high-end tea room in the area, although I'm not sure if the Vietnamese place in the Emeryville Marketplace makes sandwiches.
As far as the tea room, I'll be back. Far Leave Tea on College Avenue at Ashby in Berkeley, is one of my favorite spots, but parking is always a hassle. In Emeryville, I can have my tea and free parking too.
They also had prepackaged sushi which went pretty fast. By 1pm it was sold out. Dont know if it was that good or the only sushi option in the area.
They had some pre-packaged salads, sandwiches, edame, mochi (Daifuku brand) and their tea-infused cookies. All of their teas were available. Sandwiches, in addition to the bahn mi, included smoked salmon and vegetarian muffallata. At one time they offered noodle soups, but they discontinued that.
My favorites as far as the cookies (in order of preference) are blood orange, jasmine biscotti and green tea macaroons. I describe the first two in the link below. On a past visit I had the green tea macaroons which are quarter-sized and VERY chewy. Not my favorite, but a nice pronounced green tea flavor.
Located in a warehouse (the door is metal like a storage locker and rolls up), it is surprisingly relaxing. There is lovely cherry wood Asian furniture, wine barrels with bamboo in front that partially block the view of the parking lot, paper and fabric lanterns and long swaths of red, gold and purple fabric hang from the ceiling and gently catch the breezes. There is tea music playing. It is a storage locker, but they prettied it up pleasantly. The picture is below. That grey in the picture is concrete.
The only nit is that this location doesnt seem to have burners to keep your tea pot hot and not all tea is served in tea pots. My Elderberry Tea was served in a mug. It was an herbal tea though. I dont think Id order it again as it didnt have any unique flavor to me. I did like the organic lemon ginger. I had that to go and they put it in a tea bag so that I could brew a second cup later. My favorite though remains that blood orange tea.
In an area that doesnt have many interesting lunch options, I like Far Leave Teas very much. They are opened weekdays noon to 3 pm. I had a hard time finding it a few months ago, but the location is pretty easy. Take Powell to Hollis. Left on Hollis, then left on 59th. If it is open, there is a sign board on the side walk. Look for the bamboo. Theres also a nice map on the website. GREAT, GREAT place if you are at the Emeryville Amtrak station between noon and 3 weekdays. They say you can use the site to host performances and musical events.
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