Spot #14 :: Satori Tea Company

Our 14th Spot:

Satori Tea Company

37 N. San Pedro Street  San Jose, CA 95110

http://www.satoriteausa.com

 

outside

If you’re not familiar with Downtown San Jose, this place was kinda hard to find.  It’s tucked away behind this blue wall (that I forgot to photograph!).  Very plain outside, but oh so unique inside!!  Lots of cute tea décor, but the most eclectic tea house by far on the Tour.  I wish I took more photos of my surroundings, but I looove to leave some element of surprise for my readers!  Definitely a must-see tea place.

tea wall

table

ceiling

 

Lots of fun choices on the menu.  Seven levels of tea service, including Tea For Two + a 10 and Under option.  Eight tea sandwiches to choose from.  I always like when I can choose my sandwiches.  And best of all: they offer CRUMPETS!!!  Another thing I thought was VERY COOL-  the offer a Tea Flight!?  A choice of 3 teas you can try!  Isn’t that just ultra cool??  A wide variety of tea choices, with really intriguing names.  But, no descriptions on the menu.  You guys all know how much I looove that (insert sarcasm here).  Our wonderful server however, made herself available for any questions on any of the teas.  And she was really informative + helpful!

vanilla

This is the Vanilla Hazelnut oolong tea.  It was recommended by our server, after I told her that I’m a black vanilla tea kinda girl.  Great choice!!  I usually don’t order an oolong, so I was happy to try something different.  Had that really deep vanilla aroma (which is my favorite), and tasted equally comforting.  The flavors weren’t as bold as a black tea, but still a yummy choice.

 

gummy

Guess what this one is?!  GUMMY BEAR!  We were all so surprised when we saw this flavor tea there!?  So thankful to my girlfriend who likes to try the unique ones!  She said this one was sweet, but very drinkable.  I didn’t have a taste of anyone’s pot today (I know, tsk tsk.  But, I enjoy mine!), but I did get really good sniffs!  ;)  This was smelled like something you would find near Willy Wonka’s chocolate fountain!

 

capitola

My girlfriend (who loves the beach) ordered their Capitola Coola botanical tea.  I believe it had hibiscus in it.  She said it was very fruity and she enjoyed it very much!  What was really cool about hers-  check out what it turned into after adding cream…

lavendar

STINKIN GORGEOUS right!!?!

 

earl

No photos of the Earl Grey Crème…’cause my girlfriend finished her whole pot!!  If you’re new to her story, she’s been looking for the perfect earl grey.  This spot had 2!!  Once again, our server was very helpful with my gf’s tea selection.  The Earl Grey Girl says: “Earl crème was bold, with mellow after taste due to vanilla notes.  One of the best earl grey’s I’ve had!!”

 

No shots of the Coconut Chai, either.  But, I did get a good whiff though!  ;)  Smelled wonderful.  Her sentiments about it: “I liked my coconut chai tea very much.  The coconut flavor was definitely a stand out, though still having the traditional chai notes of cinnamon and clover in the background.  Perfected with a splash of cream and harmoniously paired with the carrot cupcake …..or crumpet, for that matter!”  She’s so poetic, isn’t she!?

 

tier

sandwiches

crumpets

I was starving!!  The food was nice.  Some very regular items, but also some super tasty.  I don’t think I would come back based just on the food, but there are some things I wouldn’t mind having again.

My 3 tea sandwich selections were their English Cucumber & Cream Cheese (because you just have to), the Apple Cranberry Chicken Salad (’cause I needed savory today), and Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese & Capers.  Well…  They like a lot of cream cheese.  :/  You needed your handy dandy magnifying glass to see the cucumbers.  There was some crunch in my bites, but very tiny ones.  Not bad tasting, but cream cheese overload indeed.  Same for the salmon.  There was smoked salmon “flavor,” but not very evident that it was in the sandwich.  The chicken salad wasn’t too bad…but, I didn’t think the ratio of ingredients were equal.  Not up to par for my OCD mouth.  The first one I tried, had major almonds or something in it.  The second one: too much apple.  What was nice was we had at LEAST 2 pieces of each of our sandwich flavors.  So, you couldn’t not be full (I know that’s a double negative, but I wanted to say it that way).  It also came with what the menu calls ‘a bed of delicate green salad.’  Even though it was JUST spring mix with a can of mandarin oranges on top, it was a good compliment to the sandwiches.  Despite the below-average food items, they were all still very edible + filling.

 

crumpet

I was very eager to have my crumpet!  it had crunchy edges + gooey middles!  The best thing I ate today, hands down.  What made it, was the sweet RUM BUTTER they slathered on top of em so that they were SUBMERGED by the time you reached for them!!  Ugh, my mouth is watering again just thinking about it.

 

Scones were cute.  Heart shaped.  (sigh)  But I’ve had waaay better.  They were too hard.  Oh yeah, and we searched + searched for the scone filings, then were reminded they were on the top tier!?  Here’s what they looked like:

fixings

(We brought them down on the madeleine plate.)  It’s a gooood thiiiiing no one put those in their mouth!?  You get an ‘E’ for effort on presentation, but-  these just weren’t practical.  There wasn’t enough for 5 scones, and they can be mistaken for a tart.  Someone could’ve easily put a mouthful of lemon curd in their mouth.  Would you want that for your customers?

 

sweets

The desserts were better.  I really liked my Mini Carrot Cupcake.  Sweet with a bit too much frosting, but I coulda easily had one (or 2, okay 2) more.  The Lemon Bar was almost melting.  It didn’t stand up well.  And, much too tart.  Maybe I’m being partial, because, I make a mean lemon bar!!  Hehe.  Okay, and that chocolate thing was GOOD.  It was like a tart of some sort on the bottom + a truffle on top.  Gf said it was much too sweet.  I agree it was rich, but I adored it.

 

Wonderful service!  Our server did her job well.  Can’t complain about anything there.  Average tea house though, overall.  I would say-  go to see the place, ’cause it’s fun.  Try the tea flight.  Let us know your thoughts!?  See yall in a month!

Spot #13 :: The Rotunda [1st Spot on 2nd Leg!]

Our 13th Spot:

The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus

150 Stockton Street  San Francisco, CA 94108

http://www.neimanmarcus.com/stores

 

The 2nd Leg of the Tea House Tour has begun!!?!  We are so excited to see 12 brand new Spots + share our thoughts with you!  Thank you to the THOUSANDS of readers that has made this adventure worth sharing!!  And to my GIRLFRIENDS (Mary, Roni, Tina, Gardenia, Nerresa, Vero, Sarah, Patricia, Melissa, Michelle, Raquel, Rebekah, Alex, Claudia, Amy V, Pi’ilani, Francesca, Vanessa, + Amy L): I am so honored that you wanted to parTEA with me!!

 

This Spot was not meant to be first on this Leg of the Tour…  The actual first spot I wanted to take my girls to-  we are on the waiting list for September!?  Hehe.  So, I moved up what was next in line.  When I found out they served afternoon tea in Neiman Marcus, that just sounded like such a cool experience!  A lot of us were really looking forward to this one.  Boy, did we waste our excitement…

I try to comment on the ease or ridiculousness of making reservations for each Spot, to give you the full scope of our experience.  Sometimes it’s necessary to say, other times not so much.  Making reservations for this spot wasn’t terrible, but the response I got on the phone I could’ve done without.  I usually make the call at least a month prior to our requested visit date.  When I spoke to the “gentleman” for our reservation, he responded with a heavy sigh about “fitting us in.”  Would that make yall comfortable?!  I even asked: “Are you sure??”  And he replied with a reluctant “yeah.”  Ohh…kay…

Here are some unedited views:

restaurant

restaurant 2

view

The table setting is really plain.  (That’s all I could really say about that.)  Upon being seated, they bring you a few things.  1) a Chicken Consomme with a nothing piece of crouton (that looks like someone took a bite out of it, I might add).  2) a fresh Popover with Strawberry Butter.  The soup reminded me of something you would pick up at the cafeteria of a hospital while waiting in the emergency room lobby.  The crouton (which I strategically placed in my photo, because it really looked like a bite was gone!!) lacked flavor + texture.  I do like popovers, and the idea of anything ‘freshly baked’ perks anyone up-  am I right?  But again, these just lacked so much flavor!?  The strawberry butter was nice, but you really had to pack it on that popover for it to be something you’d wanna feed yourself.  Oh and P.S. The dishes were FILTHY!  One that was placed in front of my girlfriend should definitely have not passed the approval to be sent out into the dining room.  The others weren’t as bad, but still annoying.  I just turned my cup, so as not to see the nastiness on the bottom of it (brave, for the OCD in me).

setting

consomme

popover

I feel like everything sorta came out in a hurry, which made sense since the whole meal felt rushed.  (If you guys are Seinfeld watchers, think of the end of the chocolate babka episode.  Totally like that.)  Before I could take a 2nd bite of that popover, here came our 5 teapots.  And there was no space for aaaanything!!  Our server kept asking us to move things out of the way or he did it himself (which is a big no-no), like he was playing Tetris with our place settings!?  And please oh please  n e v e r  touch the mouth parts of my water glass!!?!

Tea was alright.  Of the slim pickens on the menu, we had 4 flavors on our table.  I can’t even really give you anything about them, because my girls didn’t really have much to say.  We ordered the Gout Russe (Chinese tea and citrus fruits essential oils) which my friend said was “a very regular house tea, like Lipton“; the Nuit A Versailles (green sencha basis, bergamot essential oil, kiwi, yellow peach, orange + violet blossom) which my sister says “a little sweet with a taste of citrus“; the Jardin Bleu (blend of teas from India + China, flavored with rhubarb, wild strawberry + cornflower petals) which my friend says “average with hints of coconut + floral“; and of course I chose the Vanilla (Sri Lanka tea with vanilla aroma).  “Aroma” is spot on, ’cause that’s all my tea really had going for it.  It smelled like it was going to be wonderful, but all you got was a very unimpressive cup of tea.

tea

The food portion was just so uneventful.  I’m so glad I have my girls around when I go to these places, because they always make it fun for me!  If they weren’t around to laugh with + see soon-to-be brides looking at wedding dresses across the street with (our window seat faced Vera Wang!), I do not know how I would get through this meal!?  Here are the best photos I could get of these boring tea sandwiches on these boring white plates…

tier          tier 2

egg

Egg Salad + Bacon – Okay, this sandwich was genius.  Who doesn’t love bacon + eggs!!?!  We agreed, we could have had just these.  ‘Cause the others were nothing…

roastbeef

Roast Beef + Horseradish – These were okay.  Flavors were there, but look at all that roast beef!?  It wasn’t necessary.  I think they just did that because they thought it made it look gourmet…

salmon

Salmon Mousse – This thing was so tiny!  The mousse was way too heavy + creamy.  And although pretty, I almost choked on the long chive!  The pastry was dry + crackly.

chicken

Chicken Salad – I get what they were trying to do here (be cute), but it just wasn’t good enough for the price I was paying for this meal.  In my best Chandler voice: “Could this bread BE anymore dry??!!”  I think it cut the inside of my mouth, I think it did.

prosciutto

Prosciutto Wrap – (My gf added the grapes on the plate, ’cause this just was the saddest looking thing.)  It had cheese, apples + nuts in there.  Cool concept, but not enough filling.  It made that thing just bites of salt.

cucumber

Cucumber – Nobody liked this one.  The cheese was not flavored, the cucumbers were soggy, and again with the dried bread!?

scone

Raisin Scone – Very crumbly.  It had nice flavor, but I had to slather a bunch of that preserves on there because it was so darn SALTY for some reason!?  I’m hoping this was just a salty batch maybe!?  And that no one has to go through that again.  I did eat most of it however, because the texture with the crunch edges were my kind of thing.

Ughhh, I’m so glad I’m done with this review!!  That was like pulling teeth for me.  You know I will ALWAYS give you the stone cold truth about each Spot…I don’t know how to be any other way!  It’s just hard when some of these places (excuse my language) suuuuck.  I will never beat around the bush, so it is what it is for this Spot.  It wasn’t an actual tea house, but they serve afternoon tea so we went.  Probably wouldn’t go back to try lunch, because the service wasn’t that great either.  It was just a snooty place, with people who were very matter-of-fact about your visit.  “Here, here’s your cake.  And your wine.  See ya.”

my RaTEAng 1-12

It’s been another 6 Spots!  Here are my choices from least favorite to ‘you have to go there right now’:

 

12. Tal-Y-Tara Tea & Polo Shoppe, San Francisco – Outright rude and has no business being a tea house.

bite

11. Secret Garden Tea House, San Francisco – Filthy place with yummy scones.

fixed scone

10. Linde Lane Tea Room, Dixon – Snooty but pretty with fun sorbet intro.

sorbet

9. Lovejoy’s Tea Room, San Francisco – Pretentious area with spectacular Black Vanilla tea.

table

8. Quail & Thistle Tea Room, Capitola – Adorable building with overwhelming all-in-one plate.

outside

7. Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, San Francisco – A definite must-experience with exceptional service.

puffs

6. The Palace Hotel Garden Court, San Francisco – Breathtaking surroundings and flawless food.

Zucchini

5. Camellia Tea Room, Benecia – Impeccable service and an all around wonderful time.

tea

4. Lisa’s Tea Treasures, Los Altos – Like going to your sister’s house and having delicious food + tea.

cookie

3. Crown & Crumpet Tea Stop Café, San Francisco – Unforgettable crumpets and scrumptious tea sandwiches.

teapot

2. Dartealing Lounge, San Francisco – Best sandwiches and cutest ambiance.

table

1. The English Rose Tea Room, Pleasanton – A hundred delectable teas and textbook shabby chic décor.

table

Spot #12 :: The Ritz-Carlton

Our 12th Spot:

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

600 Stockton Street  San Francisco, CA 94108

http://www.ritzcarlton.com

sign

I didn’t get a pic of the building, ’cause it was huge and we were right next to it…  But I did however, take a shot of the spectacular view!

view

[Taken with a Canon DSLR, not filtered.  Pretty proud of myself, actually!]

I didn’t take many photos during this visit (Sorry!!), as I was taking it all in.  It was all just so regal + fancy and our server showed us a wonderful time, I was really living in the moment!  This trip also just included me and my 2 sister-in-laws, so it was intimate + special.  Take a look at our surroundings…

bar

place

place 2

Our table was small + cozy.  I thought the chairs resembled something you would see in the Despicable Me movies!  We had a good laugh about that.  The table was small and although our chairs reached ergonomically, I still felt a little hunched over while I was having my meal.  It came equipped with sealed personal serving jars of honey + strawberry preserves (I loooove personal servings of stuff!!), and a neat half lemon wrapped in cheesecloth (thought that was so cool).  The hostess was especially welcoming.  She was patient + understanding with me picture needs!  Hehe.  She offered to place your napkin on your lap, and asked if we wanted flat, Evian, or sparkling water.  (We chose sparkling, then later found out we were charged $3.00 each for it!?  Ha!)

table

jars

Ordering was easy.  There were a selection of a dozen teas on one side of the menu, then a description of the tea sandwiches + pastries and for tea service options on the other side.  Be prepared for the investment, because this is a luxury afternoon tea.  All 3 of us ordered their Traditional Tea, which came with an assortment of tea sandwiches and pastries.

Being that there weren’t that many teas to choose from, my decision at this spot wasn’t hard.  I went with what I love, and chose the Vanilla Bean black tea.  Menu says ‘A full bodied black tea infused with the rich and smooth flavor of the vanilla bean.’  Once again, I chose right!!  Ughhh, at first pour (which they do for you) I already knew I loved it.  It resembled the same black vanilla tea I fell in love with at a previous tour spot, and nostalgia just came throughout me!  I was very happy.  As a matter of fact, I loved mine so much I didn’t taste the others…  (Sorry again!!)  I did have a sniff, and asked my sisters for their thoughts.  I can tell you this-  each of the teas we ordered were extremely rich + high quality.  What was nice was when I asked what teas our server liked, he offered for us to try his favorites next.  Next!?  We asked if we could switch out flavors during our meal, and he replied “You’re here to have tea, and I will make sure you get as much tea as you want!”  (LOVED HIM, btw.  I’ll tell you more in a minute…)  My SIL that always orders something chocolate ordered their Chocolat tea [‘A tea blended exclusively for chocolate lovers.  This tea is a black tea blend with cocoa nibs.’]  She says “The Chocolat tea was undeniably chocolate, from the aroma to the very first sip.  I always like to add milk and sweeten my tea before I drink it, but it was pleasantly sweet by itself.”  (I asked if I could quote her, so she wouldn’t sue me for plagiarism!!)  Her next tea selection was the Imperial Green tea [‘Exceptional Dragonwell possesses a mild taste and pale celadon liquor notes.’]  She says “The Imperial Green tea had a bold and earthy flavor.  It was the perfect compliment to delectable desserts we enjoyed after our “savored” savories.”  My other SIL (who says she’d like to be known as ‘the English Breakfast girl’) ordered their English Breakfast [‘Blended true to the origin of “English Breakfast”, our connoisseur-grade is mostly Keemun with just a hint of Ceylon to sweeten.’]  She says it was very comforting to her + smooth as she sipped it.  She ordered the Eros tea next [‘In this sensory delight, sweet Mandarin orange and warm vanilla embrace medium bodied Ceylon tea leaves.]  She loved that one too.  I appreciated that the teapots were small enough to keep hot + not be wasteful if/when you wanted to try another flavor.  The wait staff was very courteous and would come around and fill your teacup when they saw that it was low.

tea

Ahh, the food.  Interesting flavors and lots of fun.  I think the table favorite was the Cucumber Melon + Mint tea sandwich.  It was more than just refreshing, it really offered a well complimented flavor in your mouth.  There was one with cheese in a tart topped with fig.  That one was good also, but I felt the tart lacked seasoning.  There was a puff pastry that was filled with what we thought was some sort of pesto cream.  (Sorry guys, our server did give us details to each, but I didn’t remember all of them and I thought they were all written out on the menu but didn’t seem to match…)  The pesto one was good, but I couldn’t have much of it (allergic to pesto) so I had a bite or 2 to tell you my thoughts.  ( I know!?  I out my health on the line for yall!!  That’s dedicated!  Hehe.)  One had green beans, a cucumber + SQUASH CUSTARD on top of brioche.  That custard tasted like blended Chinese food made into a flan!?  (I’m making the sour face right now just thinking about it.)  The last one you have to taste to understand.  It was like a Mediterranean hummus on a cheese crisp with a green olive and crunchy garbanzo beans.  I didn’t think the tea sandwiches was worth what we paid for, but I’m still glad I got to experience it.  The website did mention things like lobster mousse + caviar, so that’s the kind of cuisine we were expecting.  Of course, I’m sure the menu changes.  But, I don’t think they should have such specific foods listed if they’re not going to serve those.

savory

The pastries were a better experience for me.  I started with their Cherry Scone.  Cute + small!  But they give 2 person, so that was nice.  They were very crumbly + crispy.  I’m not a big fan of cherry-flavored things, but these didn’t have an overwhelming cherry taste.  My other SIL brought out that she liked the occasional bite of tart cherry.  I think the scones were my favorite part of the meal.  There was cream + lemon curd that was one the table upon being seated, but no utensils for them.  I don’t know if they were forgotten, or purposely like that.  It was a good thing we were family, and neither of us minded putting our own knives in them each time we wanted some.  My next favorites were the Chocolate Cream Puff and the Strawberry Tart.  Decadent flavors, but not too sweet.  Luscious, for sure!  They also had a Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake, Brown Sugar Shortbread, and Almond Financier (small French cake).  I only took a bite each of those, so I can make my mentions of them.  Good, but forgettable.  My SIL loved the lemon blueberry, and my other SIL did really like the almond cake.  They also didn’t appreciate that we weren’t brought a clean plate for our sweets.

tier

scones

tarts

cake

puffs

We didn’t think we’d be so full!?  There was a harpist.  You think harpist, you think-  eh.  But this one was great!!  She played music that you knew!!  We’d get to reminiscing when we heard which songs, it was great!  I also found out whay they had the chairs they did.  They were PERFECT for lounging in after your meal!!?!  I was sooo comfortable!

The service…oh, the service.  I specifically leave out names in my blogs, for various reasons.  But this time, I have to tell you: RAMESH was above accommodating.  I loved his service so much, I teased that he was my new boyfriend!!  (Yes, I’m happily married and no, this is in no disrespect to my husband.  My husband actually thought that was funny!)  He thoroughly took care of us…and some!  We were definitely shown a good time at this Spot.  When we couldn’t finish our sweets, he came back with to-go boxes filled with new pastries-  1 for each of us!!?!  And because I loved those personal serving condiments, I kindly asked if he could give me one to take home.  He came back with 3 of them for me + my sisters and said he didn’t want us to fight!  Loved that guy.

I’m glad I saved this place for our last Spot on the 1st Leg of our California Tea House Tour!  It was the perfect ending!

Spot #11 :: Linde Lane Tea Room

Our 11th Spot:

Linde Lane Tea Room

140 N. Jackson  Dixon, CA 95620

http://www.lindelane.com

outside

When I first put this one on the Tour, I wasn’t quite sure my girls wanted to travel an hour + a half for tea…  If no one was interested, I would’ve taken it off the list and just went with the next place.  Surprisingly, a lot of em were super stoked to go!?  With scheduling however, it ended up being an intimate group this time around.  There were only 4 of us today, but we all appreciated the sweet road trip.  I am soooo glad I kept this one on the Tour though.  Definitely a sight to see!!  Everything was so LUXURIOUS.

chandelier

table

table 2

When making reservations, UNLESS THEY ASK if there is any occasion, I don’t say anything about the Tour.  I want authentic + organic exchanges, when arriving to new tea houses.  With that being said, I didn’t care for the man I made reservations with nor the man at the front today (I’m not certain if this is the same person).  He was very matter-of-fact, and didn’t offer any warm smile or pleasantries.  That was definitely a turn off regarding my first impression of this place.  And if I may be frank, I thought he was very SNOOTY (there, I said it).

With that being said, the lady that sat us and our server that took care of us during our visit were very nice.

The menu was easy.  Only 3 tea services to choose from (1 being for children), and about 50 types of tea.  What I did NOT like was that there were no descriptions of what the teas were.  My OCD was very bothered by that.  You were left to guess.  Our server did make herself available for questions and she knew right away what was in each tea…but, I didn’t feel like asking her to describe 50 individual tea flavors.  We each ordered the Royal Tea tea service, which came with a scone (with fixings), soup + salad, 4 tea savories (which were tea sandwiches), and assorted desserts.  At the bottom of the menu, it says that we get sorbet and shortbread.  SORBET?

sorbet

Apparently, sorbet is a palate cleanser.  Buuut, we didn’t have anything to eat yet!?  Was it preparing my palate??  Anyhow, in my opinion this tiny scoop of frozen fruit juice was the BEST part of tea today!  I believe it was peach flavor, if I remember correctly.  But (my mouth is totally watering as I type this), it was just so nice and icy and refreshing!!  We weren’t quite sure HOW to eat it, so we just used the shortbread cookie to scoop it up.  I could’ve had a whole bowl of that and just call it a day.

Since I didn’t know what to expect from any of these teas, I just ordered what I knew.  I took a Black Currant today.  I absolutely am infatuated with black currant iced tea, but never have had the pleasure trying it hot.  I was very happy with my choice.  My Earl Grey girlfriend was with us today, so of course of the 4 pots at our table that was one of them.  As many times as we’ve had tea together, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted her earl grey!?  (Oh now you guys are going to look back at my previous posts and call me out huh?  I don’t think I have!?)  I made sure to try some today, as she raved about the strength of the bergamot in this one.  Smelled like that spa, and the flavors were very rich!  I liked it!  My other girlfriend tried their Sunset tea.  I’m glad she did, ’cause that one intrigued me.  It was an herbal tea with lemon grass, orange peel + marigold flower.  (I know because I asked and made notes, okay!?)  Hers didn’t smell good AT ALL.  But hey, sometimes they stink + taste good; other times they smell wonderful + taste foul!  It was nice though!  Light + creamy almost.  My SIL had the Mocha Rocha, very her.  It was red tea with coffee beans + dark chocolate.  Meh, it smelled like Robitussin (my friend said Nyquil)!!?!  But it didn’t taste that way, thank goodness!  I’m not sure what it tasted like, actually.  But, it wasn’t bad.  I wasn’t impressed with the teas.  Moving along…  (Oh and P.S., the tea kettle’s were labeled with what looked like DOG TAGS!!?!  Cute, a little bit, but not appealing at all.  You could’ve at least chosen the bowtie or heart shape-  not the HYDRANT one!?  Yuck.)

teacup

desk         shelf

stove          stove 2

dog tag

Because that mouthful of sorbet was so appetizing, I was expecting the rest of the food to be spectacular.  When the salad came, I wasn’t disappointed.  You may be thinking-  ‘how do you mess up a salad?’  But, some salads are so plain dull…  This one was really good though!?  It was put together well, and the croutons were so flavorful!  I’m still not convinced of having soup at tea.  It’s just-  I think the only thing I want to be sipping at a tea party is well TEA…champagne (of course!)…and okay, water.  That’s it!  I don’t like any savory sort of liquids in my tea service.  That’s just me.  But soup came with ours, so I had some.  SOME.  It wasn’t bad.  Potato Chowder with Ham today.  I had half my bowl…to be nice!  Hehe.

salad          soup

We always get excited when the tier comes!!  Don’t you?!  On today’s: there was Cucumber, Turkey + Swiss, Chicken Salad in a Wheat Basket, and Strawberry Harvest.  For the desserts: a Chocolate Brownie Cake, Mini Lemon Cupcake, and Orange Meringue.  Today’s scone was Vanilla.

tier

scones

I like to go with the Cucumber tea sandwich first, because it’s usually my least favorite.  Love me a cucumber, but the ones we are served at tea are frequently bland.  I was sooo wrong today, so wrong!  That Cucumber flower sandwich was the best of the 4!!  It came open-faced (in a flower shape), so I folded mine over and ate it like a taco!  It had some sort of horseradish or wasabi kick to it!  Very mild, but you could tell it was there.  And the bread was nice + fluffy, but gave you a chewy feel at the end.  The cream was a nice consistency, and there wasn’t too much of it.  Very good, I was very happy with it.  Wanted more.

cucumber

I went for the Turkey + Swiss next.  Booorrriiinnnggg.  It wasn’t a big piece, but I was really dragging my feet having to finish that thing.  It was just so plain and (I like a lot of lettuce in my sandwiches…but this one was just so) dry!  NEXT!!  (Later, my SIL almost died laughing…and crying…when she noticed my sad leftover piece of turkey sandwich off to the side just on the tablecloth while I was photographing my other foods!!)

turkey

Chicken Salad in a Wheat Basket.  Okay.  Looks better than it tastes.  I don’t really even want to review it, that’s how I feel about it.  The salad was good, a bit more creamy than I prefer.  My gf kept mentioning how messy it was.  I think if it was thicker, it might’ve been better; but, it was so runny.  And the basket part of it was this overly toasted biscuit/cookie that just crumbled all over the place.  (I’m making the sour face now.)  Wasn’t a fan.

chicken

I had overheard one of the girls at the table saying how they thought the Strawberry Harvest one was the best of the sandwiches.  Tried it, nice, but couldn’t finish that one either.  It was a bit sweeter than what I like.  It had some sort of honey cream cheese with it.  But-  They put it on raisin bread!?  Why?  Definitely an intriguing tea sandwich.  Sounded like a good idea…  Lol.  That’s all I can say about that.

strawberry

Had more of my tea, then moved on to desserts.  I was happy to see the Meringue.  I like meringue!  It had an orange swirl.  I usually like it plain, but the orange was nice (There’s that word again.  Can you tell I’m not really motivated to rate this place?).  Meringue is always fun to eat though!  I made sure my girlfriends all tried theirs.  “She’s asking us to try the meringue!!”  Hehe.  Just tried a bite of the chocolate and didn’t even sniff the lemon.  Didn’t even take em to-go.

Service was good.  Our server, like I said, was really sweet + attentive.  But overall, I thought the staff was there to be there-  not necessarily to make our visit the best we can have.  It’s definitely a “must-see tea house!”  There are really cute things about the place, that I don’t want to mention because I want you to experience for yourself!  Please tell us if/when you visit!?  Hope you are treated with a bit more love than we were.  ;)

Spot #10 :: Dartealing Lounge

Our 10th Spot:

Dartealing Lounge

470 Third Street  San Francisco, CA 94107

http://www.dartealing.com

 

outside

We’ve been to quite a few tea houses in San Francisco already.  Even though we are interested in visiting each one and are sure they have their own individual special things about them, driving into or taking BART to the City gets kinda redundant.  That being said, we were satisfied with seeing this cute little corner tea house.  The inside is definitely not what you expect, from looking at the rather bland outside.  But, look how charming!!

inside

inside 2

inside 3

It had a very ‘homey’ + intimate feel.  The décor was very inviting + intriguing!  My girls described it as being at Gramma’s house!  We decided we had the best seats in the house…

table

How comfy right!!?!  We were taken back a bit when they sat us here, because it was all so darling!!  The only downside was we were HUNCHED over the whole time while eating.  :/  Maybe we weren’t doing it right (’cause aren’t you supposed to bring the tea saucer up to you!?), but we still thought our spot was super cute!

 

Because we pre-ordered, the only important decision that was asked of us were the pots of tea we’d like.  At our table, the choices were:

Memories of Provence (floral and fruity with lavender and berries notes) – This one smelled divine! I likened it to a Victoria’s Secret body spray!  It was a yummy comforting tea.

Island Kiss (green tea with tropical essence, bananas + coconut) – Sounded and smelled better than it tasted.  The aftertaste reminded me of B.O.!!  Meh.

Somewhere My Love (black tea with oranges, sweet citrus, vanilla notes + white chocolate) – This was my first choice, but since my girlfriend wanted it I went for my second.  A very nice mix of flavors.  The citrus lightly scented the creaminess of the vanilla + white chocolate flavors.

Snickerdoodle – black tea with vanilla + cinnamon) – My choice.  I loved this one.  They were right, it WAS just like the cookie!

menus          teacup

teapot          creamer

 

Pre-ordering has its pros + cons, in my opinion.  If you do it, it’s nice to have a decision already made and food ready for you.  But sometimes, you may not be feeling what you thought you wanted at the time you chose it when it’s time to have it.  (Did you get that!?)  I have mixed feelings about it.  When tea houses ask me of it, I don’t whine about it.  I ask my girls, they respond with their choices, and I call them in.  No biggie.  But sometimes-  I want that element of surprise!  I purposely do not look up any tea house menus before we visit the spot, ’cause I like the shock value!!  Hehe.

plate 1          plate 2

This place had a lot of tea sandwiches to choose from.  And on the website, they ALL sounded sooo good!!  Of the selection, we chose:

curry

Dartealing Curried Chicken – WHAT A SURPRISE!!?!  For such a tiny sandwich, we did NOT expect so much flavor!?  I’m at a loss for words how to even explain it.  Do I dare attempt??  It was the richest quarter of a sandwich I’ve ever put in my mouth.  There, I said it.

salmon

Smoked Salmon Mousse & Dill – After having that last tea sandwich, I anticipated it was only going to get better… I assumed this one was going to be a smooth consistency throughout.  Boy, was I wrong!  It had pieces of smoked salmon that gave this sandwich such a scrumptious personality!

brie

Brie, Pepper Jelly, Green Apple – I’m a total brie fan.  When I read this on the menu, I was so happy!  And with pepper jelly!!?!  YES!  It was just as good as I thought it should be.

shrimp

Spicy Garlic Shrimp – I do like spicy, but I can’t handle a lot of it.  I had to try this one though, because-  shrimp in a sandwich, come on!  The flavors complimented each other well.  Lots of different, yummy textures.  But, I could only take a bite.

honey

Honey Lavender Cream – I read this one on the menu, and was intrigued for sure.  But there are so many good ones, this couldn’t make my cut.  It’s a WONDERFUL thing that it was 2 of my girlfriends’ choices, because I would’ve been really sad having not ever tried this in my life…  Ugh, it was absolutely delightful!!  The honey is lavish, lavender is only in the background, and then there’s this cream!  We couldn’t quite place it, maybe it was mascarpone?!  Whatever it was it made this tea sandwich addicting.

hummus

Spicy Hummus Mediterranean – Delicious flavors for sure.  Again, it was spicy so I only had a bite.  But, that one bite packed so much punch!

 

The sweets tier came just in time!

tier          sweets

I went for the scone.

scone

It was Chocolate + Cardamom.  Interesting!  I loved the round shape, ’cause-  so cute right!?  But then, I didn’t know where I wanted to cut it.  Hehe.  Sliced it horizontally, and spread some Royal Cream.  It was nice + warm still, which I adore because the cream gets melty!  Took a bite…  Very heavy + cakey!  And I was wondering where the other fixings were??  It was okay.  There wasn’t much to em, not that flavorful.  And the cream was rather bland.  And, I can’t stress enough just how HEAVY they were.  It was a lot of chews + a lot of saliva needed before you could swallow these.  I was halfway done with mine, when one of my girlfriend’s thought to ask our server for some jam.  DUH!?  I did think about asking, but I wanted to try the scone with what they gave us.  OH, sooo muuuuch better with the raspberry (?) jam!!  Still, I think it could’ve used more chocolate chips.

sweets 2

I was pretty much done after having that substantial scone.  I was about to ask our server for a to-go box…  But, I decided to at least have a bite of each of these.  The Raspberry Cream in Filo Tart wasn’t bad.  I think the crunch of the filo was much more exciting than the overall taste of this sweet.  The Lavender Cookie – eh.  It was waaay too lavendery to me.  The Chocolate S’more was okay.  Very decadent.  I did really like the roasted marshmallow + graham cracker pieces on top.  (I’m a sucker for anything marshmallow!)  I was satisfied with my bites, couldn’t have any more.

We really appreciated the service at this spot.  We came it a bit early, and they were happy to seat us right away.  She says “The sooner you get to have tea!!”  My girlfriend, who has a special spot for vintage china, wondered if she could have a cuter teacup (because the one at her setting just had gold stripes).  The staff member TOTALLY got where she was coming from, and went out of her way to bring back this gorgeous floral cup!  Our reservation was at 3:30p; they close at 6:00p.  We were so into our conversation, we stayed well over 6!?  They didn’t rush us (and we noticed other parties around us still enjoying themselves), and even came by to make sure all our teapots were still full.  LOVED that.

I would come back for the sandwiches alone.

Spot #9 :: Lisa’s Tea Treasures

Our 9th Spot:

Lisa’s Tea Treasures

167 Main Street  Los Altos, CA 94022

http://www.lisastealosaltos.com

 

outside

It’s really hard to say anything bad about a place, when their service is so terrific!  …not that they deserve anything negative.

sign          outside table

We walked in to this adorable setting!  Just a perfect place to have a tea room.  They had little compartments of uniquely sized rooms for tables.  A charming upstairs for private parties.  Lots of tea kettles and tea cups + saucers for sale decorated the space.  The rest of the décor was minimal, but lined with attractive art pieces.

inside 1          inside 2

inside 3          inside 4

upstairs

art

They already got an A+ in my book, based on the type of cookies (biscuits) they left on the table.  Biscoff Lotus cookies!!  (High-five Lisa’s!)  There are tons of em in a cute little jar, just waiting for you + your tea selection!  The table setting, of course, was totally cute with all matching plates + tea sets.

cookie

The teas were all delicious!  At our table, we chose:

Watermelon Berry – I’m a watermelon flavor person, so I was intrigued to try this one my girlfriend chose.  It wasn’t as sweet as it sounds, which was nice!  Watermelon scented, with berry flavors.

Sweet Peach – I didn’t get to try this one myself, but my girlfriend kept pouring cups of it, so I think she liked it!?

Champagne Raspberry – Liked this one a lot!  You can definitely taste the champagne, which I looove.  And the raspberry flavor makes for a pleasurable cup of tea!

Rose Garden – This one was my favorite.  Reminded me so much of the spa!!  So it was very comforting to sip.  I kept calling it “the lotion one!”

Strawberry Darjeeling – Didn’t get to try this one, unfortunately, because I grew up drinking strawberry tea.  So, it’s nostalgic for me!  But I think my sister liked it.

Butter Truffle – This is the one I ordered.  Flavored like a sugar cookie, with orange peel.  It was yum!

tea

I thought it was really cute that our server had these teapot caddy sort of things to bring all our pots in one trip!  Innovative + smart!

caddy

For our party size, we were asked to preorder.  At our table, we had the:

Mademoiselle’s Creation – a hearty salad with a scone and your choice of a side of protein (egg, chicken or tuna)

salad

 

Lord William’s Promise – a platter of 8 tea sandwiches + a petit fours

sandwiches

 

Tea Time Trio – a salad, scone, 2 tea sandwiches + 2 savories

trio

Everyone enjoyed their food!  I ordered the Tea Time Trio, so I can comment on that one.  A spring mix of greens with fresh strawberries, dried cranberries, sliced almonds + feta cheese.  It came with a mouth-watering vinaigrette, in this darling mini pitcher.  My 2 tea sandwiches were a salmon mousse, and goat cheese with tomato.  I thought each of them were dandy.  A little salty for my taste, but good nonetheless.  My savories were marvelous!  There was a cheese pastry and a mushroom quiche.  I could have had at least 3 more each of those!!  The scone – a cute little chubby scone!  They had 3 flavors today (blueberry, pecan + cinnamon).  My dish came with the blueberry.  Nice crunchy exterior, and warm chewy interior.  VERY GOOD.  The cream + jelly and lemon curd also very comparable.  Again, I could’ve had more!  I did later try the pecan, and…woah, that one was remarkable!  My girlfriend + sister also ordered a side of soup.  Today’s was a broccoli cheddar.  My gf had me try a taste of her’s, and it was delightful!

Okay, the service.  This is why I can’t knock anything from this spot.  Our server was just-  the best!!  Not only did she take real good care of us, but she showed us a fantastic time!  She was super funny, and just very personable.  We felt like we were hanging out with another one of our girlfriends!  She was comfortable enough to joke with us, but still came to deliver any one of our needs in a respectable amount of time.  At the end of our visit, as always, we asked if she minded taking our group picture.  She did not hesitate to take as many as we wanted with as many cameras or phones, even after one of them (camera) wasn’t cooperating!?  We really enjoyed ourselves today, and are so glad we chose this place since we were still grumpy about how bad our experience was from the last spot.  Such a cute tea house, and I hope you all try it out someday!  Tell us how your visit went!? ;)