Tulsi is a tea room located in an old home converted into a shared business place and it is my home away from home. The other businesses include several massage therapists, an astrologist, an apothecary, etc. When you first approach the home (having parked at the public parking available on State Street) you’ll see a porch where tables are available for tea room patrons in the summer. As you enter the house you’ll come into a hall where, in the event of overflow, you can request to be seated if the tea room is full. It will, in the cooler months, be a bit drafty, and it will always be a bit cramped if you’re ordering food with your tea, but I’ve always found it well worth it when no other options exist.
To the left of the hall you’ll find the bathroom, and to the right is the tea room. When you enter you’ll see four or five tables for traditional seating, most of the chairs being a tad uncomfortable, and one floor-seating option by the bay window behind the shoji screen. That shoji screen also hides a small bookcase full of books for patrons’ reading pleasure. To the rear of the room you’ll find the service counter and dessert window. To the left of this counter is a small built-in bookcase that houses the black binder tea menus; in my memory, there are about 50 teas to choose from. On the counter you’ll sometimes find a printed pamphlet of the take out/food menu (don’t be confused by the similar looking catering pamphlet). If you’re unable to find the printed food menu, you’ll have to look to the back wall for the posted food menu. There is always plenty to choose from and vegan/vegetarian options are usually marked; feel free to ask if unsure.
When you’ve made your selection you can put back your tea menu/food menu and wait to be assisted. (Simply standing by the counter will accomplish this.) You can choose to pay for your order now or after you’re done in the event that you might add to it. At Tulsi you’ll seat yourself and you can feel free to do so before you order. My favorite spot is the floor-seating arrangement because of its privacy and comfort during long tea sessions. Sadly, this spot is often taken. Near there, you’ll also notice Tulsi’s teaware selection and books for purchase on a mounted bookcase.
My favorite tea from Tulsi is the middle way (middle priced) green tea called Genmaicha; it is served and steeped in a cast iron pot (sadly without tea warmer) to keep the tea hot but be prepared for a possible associated bitterness with the white/green teas because of the heat during steeping. My absolute favorite meal is the dosa plate with potato curry and three chutneys. I also highly recommend the samosas (buy the $2 day old ones! they taste just as good as fresh ones). I can’t recommend the cookies because they are too dry but I wholeheartedly recommend the chocolates, although, for the strict vegans out there, it’s very rare to find one without honey.
Tulsi’s atmosphere is warm and friendly, with a bright room and soothing and/or smooth music. Fellow patrons are mostly of the quietly chatty and silent variety but it does vary from day to day. If luck is with you, you can experience heavenly serenity, peace, and comfort in a tea room, if not as lucky, you experience an absolutely scrumptious meal and delectable tea to keep your mouth watering for days.