next time you find yourself downtown hoping for a quick and simple bite to eat and something warm to drink, consider heading to tazza mia at 441 vine street. while it is still true that, for me, nothing compares to some quality time at the coffee emporium, i’ll wager that tazza mia might give them a run for their money, if only for its central location (adjacent to the carew tower, right near fountain square) and for its more regular weekend hours (they’re open saturdays til 10 pm, and sundays 9-2).
this particular saturday afternoon past, as i walked the streets of downtown chatting and decompressing with a friend who suggested we stop somewhere for a cup of tea, i was delighted to find a local competitor to starbucks that was closer to my central downtown location than central parkway. and while tazza mia does not look particularly inviting from the street — the interior seems bright and spare rather than cozy and welcoming — it would be a mistake to pass it by. the upstairs seating area, while small, is quite comfortable, suffused with a golden light and a gentle hum of busy-ness from the first floor.
the tea was hot (something that should be a given, but isn’t) without removing my tongue’s taste buds. the “serene green” tea had a wonderful hint of fruitiness that added a little something extra to the fresh wholesomeness most green teas evoke, and the ginger tea smelled so good i wanted to sit and steep in it myself. and while i didn’t sample their food or taste their home-roasted coffee, i’ll be back for both. it would make for a picture-perfect ending to an afternoon of shopping in carew tower, or skating in fountain park. or, as was my case, just wandering around, downtown, just because.