We still don’t have an Eataly on the West Coast (le sigh), but we have something our East Coast brethren don’t: China Live. The ambitious 30,000-square-foot project is George Chen and Cindy Wong-Chen’s temple to modern Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine—with a decidedly Californian influence, of course. So yeah, you’ve probably heard about it. But we wanted to know the stuff no one else knows. So we tapped Chen for his insider tips about the space. Here are five little-known things to keep in mind before you go.
THE TRICK TO SCORING A SPECIAL BITE
A counter seat at the pastry kitchen island, which is treated like a sushi bar, might get you a special amuse-bouche, first dibs at a new dessert or even a taste of something that pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez is working on that’s not even on the menu yet.
IT’S NOT YOUR AVERAGE TAKEOUT
Right now China Live’s restaurant is sit-down only. Takeout is coming soon, but be forewarned: Not everything will be available to eat at home in front of the TV. Only menu items that the chefs think will travel well can be ordered to go…to preserve the integrity of the dish, of course.
THERE’S A TEA FOR SALE THAT COSTS $1,000 PER POUND
Be careful what you purchase at China Live’s tea bar. The wild pu’er tea—a rare, limited-quantity aged tea from the Yunnan province—is unique to the year in which it was made, just like wine, and will cost you $1,000 a pound. Forget paying for the kids’ college.
YOU CAN GET TO A HIDDEN RESTAURANT THROUGH THE BACK ALLEY
Interested in trying China Live’s fine-dining concept, Eight Tables, when it opens next month? You’ll need to find the back-alley entrance first. Go to the corner of Columbus and Vallejo and look for Kenneth Rexroth Place (next to Cole Hardware), enter through the door at No. 8 and take the elevator to the second floor to experience shi fan tsai (private château cuisine).
DID YOU KNOW THE SECRET TO A BALANCED LIFE IS A GLASS OF THIS?
A mug or pot of Eight Treasure tea—a special blend of lotus seed, longan fruit, jasmine pearl, hawthorn plant, goji berry, jujube date, rosebuds and a single piece of rock sugar—is said to balance one’s chi (energy or life force). Now you know the secret. Use it well. – PureWow (05.22.17)