Tantalizing tea

About a year ago I ditched Diet Coke in favor of green tea.

I was hoping the beverage swap would transport me into a Zen-like state of bliss. That hasn’t been the case, but I do feel better than I did when I was guzzling the soda.

If you’re looking for a special green tea experience, Lucia’s should be on your list.

The restaurant and Lucia’s To Go (its more casual counterpart) serve up a green tea that is so beautiful it looks like it should be a centerpiece for one of their dining tables.

The Red Flower Jasmine tea, a flavored green tea from TeaSource, a local tea company, is served in a wine glass. It starts out as a small bud of green tea leaves that gradually blooms into a flower-like display. The tea is smooth and sweet with a hint of a floral flavor.

The health benefits of green tea have been widely reported, including the potential to fight cancer and heart disease.

The gorgeous Red Flower tea is just one of many healthy options at Lucia’s, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Valentine’s Day marked the actual anniversary, but the restaurant is continuing the celebration by featuring dishes that have been served at Lucia’s in its early days, said Barbara Meyer, Lucia’s general manager.

“Reaching the 25-year-mark is truly an accomplishment,” she said. “Lucia’s commitment to quality, service and just generally providing the best of everything has obviously been key to her success.”

Meyer called Watson a strong leader who remains humble.

“Having worked for her for nearly 13 years, I have observed firsthand her remarkable ability to remain at the forefront of the restaurant business, both locally and elsewhere,” she said. “I think the biggest reason this is so is because she consistently provides amazing food at reasonable prices with a smile.”

Watson has earned many accolades over the years for her culinary skills, including three James Beard award nominations for best chef in the Midwest.

1432 W. 31st St.