Best Use of Green Tea

From the land that brought Seattle such favorites as sushi and Ichiro comes Koots Green Tea. With 12 successful locations in Japan, the Pacific Rim chain recently expanded to the U.S. with a location in Bellevue, and five months ago added its second store in South Lake Union. The simple Japanese decor will soothe you out of the indecisive shock that will set in upon reading Koots' extensive menu. Do you fancy one of at least six different loose-leaf teas? Or perhaps a more trendy, Americanized matcha latte or matcha Americano? For a sweeter treat, try bubble tea, a green tea smoothie, or matcha-vanilla-swirl ice cream. And don't forget a pastry! Try the matcha azuki muffin, but don't be thrown off by the chartreuse hue. This isn't just a corn muffin in disguise; that's more real matcha and traditional azuki beans that add a hint of sweetness. For green tea newbies, may I suggest only one matcha item at a time: This ain't your Starbucks green tea latte; this is straight matcha and steamed milk. No syrupy sweeteners here.—Maggie Mertens 2200 Westlake Ave., 838-2990,

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