Thursday, December 31, 2015

Head and Shoulders, Teas and Toes

House of Steep - Tea and Toes
At the House of Steep in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, we sipped our teas as we blissfully soaked our feet in hot water mixed with essential oils, botanicals and salt.  We were sitting on a couch next to an indoor waterfall.  There was soft lighting and soothing music.  I had the herbal foot soak called “serenity” a blend of chamomile, lavender and oatmeal.  My sister had the “purity” soak with juniper and eucalyptus.  The ladies on the couch next to us shared a pot of tea while having their feet massaged by a massage therapist.

Mini Rock Garden
“Tea, Feet, Relaxation” is the motto of the House of Steep which is a Tea House and Foot Sanctuary.   It combines influences from the East and West and describes itself as a modern oasis.  Inside we stepped away from the hustle and bustle of a weekday to steep our toes for 20 minutes. I started to get my “Zen on” by working on a miniature rock garden before having my feet pampered in an herbal foot bath while drinking delicious tea.
I ordered a pot of Ilam, a tea from Nepal.  Ilam is grown in a high altitude. Its taste is similar to that of a Darjeeling tea, which is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas.  My Ilam came with a timer to let me know when it was fully and perfectly steeped.

The loose leaf tea collection at the House of Steep was extensive, including black, oolong, pu’erh, green and white teas along with herbal tisanes.  Separate from the foot spa quarters, customers can have salads, sandwiches, quiche, rice bowls and baked treats.  Just as for its massages, the House of Steep offers special afternoon tea service by appointment only.

I had never heard of a tea house combining its expertise in teas with an expertise in therapeutic foot spa service.  I hope this ingenious combination spreads.

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