Tag Archives: Libya

Around the world at Algebra Tea House

Cleveland is celebrating their NBA win today, so it seemed only fitting to feature a longtime Cleveland hangout on the blog. Tucked away a few blocks from the bustling atmosphere of Cleveland’s Little Italy is the serene, bohemian Algebra Tea House (2136 Murray Hill Rd Cleveland, OH). Filled with custom, natural wood furniture, textiles from around the world, and handmade ceramics, you may just think you’ve stepped into a hippie retreat on the silk road. True to its name, the specialty at Algebra is tea, and they have a bunch of esoteric blends for drinking in house (and for sale, to bring home). A small sampling of the teas on offer included: sage herbal, hibiscus, house-made chai, Darjeeling, Dragonwell, Yunnan, Assam and White Pekoe. In the international tea section there was Moroccan mint tea, Turkish tea, Palestinian tea, and a wholly new variety for us: Libyan Tea.


We didn’t go in to Algebra Tea House expecting to gain a new country  for our list- but we’ve never had any food or drink from Libya before – so we were really excited to see “Libyan tea” on the menu. Libyan tea is a blend of strong black tea, mint, sugar, and peanuts! Yes – the whole shelled peanuts are thrown right into the tea itself. The flavor is rich and peanut-y – and perfect as a pick me up. Along with tea, you can order house-roasted coffee  made in a variety of styles, caffeine-free milk drinks, and fruit smoothies.AlgebraThere is also a pretty sizable menu of Middle-Eastern food, including hummus, falafel, shewarma and ful medames (Egyptian fava bean dip). While we came for the tea (and the Libyan tea was delicious) we were also pretty impressed with their falafel, which was made in our favorite herby, Palestinian/Israeli style. Between the good food, tea and relaxed atmosphere we could have stayed at Algebra for hours. We hope to visit Algebra Tea House again soon to sample more of their tea (and food!) menu.


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Recipe Friday: Marcus Samuelsson’s Mango Couscous

Today’s recipe Friday is Mango Couscous from Discovery of a Continent: Foods, Flavors, and Inspirations from Africa by Marcus Samuelsson.


cimg0652.jpg1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 chili, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 ripe tomato, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro sprigs
1/4 cup chopped parsley sprigs

Prepare the couscous according to package directions. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the garlic, mango, and chili – saute until the mango begins to color lightly. Stir in remaining tablespoon of olive oil, couscous, raisins, tomato, lime juice, cilantro, parsley, and toss to heat through. Season with salt. (4 servings)


Our final result.

North African cuisine is an interesting mix of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors, and couscous is the grain of choice. This was our first foray into a sweet couscous dish, though truth be told this recipe is not that “out there.” The recipe was easy as pie, and the flavor profile was actually very interesting. We were also happy we got to use our shiny new wok again. True, woks are not remotely North African – but they work well when making a big dish like this (especially since there turned out to be WAY more couscous than we expected). I was initially worried the mango would taste out of place – but it was a natural accompaniment to the tomatoes and mixed surprisingly well with the garlic and cilantro. We added chicken to the dish to add to make a heartier dinner. The recipe said it served four, but it served the two hungry Eaters, with a little to spare. In the end, we were very pleased with our result, and are excited to make more recipes from the book. Next stop – berbere!

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