Full Circle

First Time

November 19, 2011 – Being bedridden for 8 months and hospitalized 20 times, pregnant with my 2nd living child/3rd pregnancy overall (you do the math…I miss you everyday Serenade Rei) and suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the only positive thing in my life (other than growing a human being inside me) (and well, the support of my husband, toddler son + family) was scrolling through friends’ + family’s facebook pictures.  Sad?  I know.  But it gets better, trust me!  One album in particular was of an old middle school classmate’s baby shower.  She had had it at some place that serves tea and other tea refreshments (as I knew it then).  I fell in love with the idea + décor, and just couldn’t wait to see what it was all about!  (I later found out it was at the original Crown & Crumpet in Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco.)  When my May-baby daughter finally took a bottle at 6mos (Thanks girl.), I searched for the closest tea house to me…called a few of my girlfriends + friends I wanted to get to know better…and suffered the worst case of Cuteness Overload as I stepped foot into my very first tea house, which happened to be Tyme for Tea & Co. in the Niles District of Fremont, CA.

I hosted approximately 4 tea parties there, before I became curious about what else was out there.  I wanted to try different places, buuut I didn’t wanna go alone!?  I sent an email to some girls, and see who wanted to join me on this quest.  I found 12 more tea houses/rooms around the Bay Area to go to, and figured if we went to one new one every month, we would finish in just a year.  Sweet!

What you don’t know (and what I didn’t know then either), is what was to unfold during this journey.  Because of past experiences (that I’m not going to fully get into, but I will give you a broad description) with abuse + depression, I experienced a lot of trust + abandonment issues.  Needless to say, though I made friends easily, I didn’t like to keep them.  I used to always say: “I don’t have friends.”  These girls I speak of when I say “my girlfriends”, are ones that I’ve met from my religious background.  I never brought that up before either, and I would like my blog to remain neutral so as not to erupt ANY sort of political feedback.  That being said, I knew who they all were but I was never close with any of them.  Sure, my sister-in-laws came.  But, that’s family…

When I invited these girls, of all ages from different backgrounds and different Congregations…some knew each other, some didn’t…  I didn’t realize the upbuilding + encouraging relationships that would establish-  over TEA!!?!  We would laugh (a lot) and cry, share stories of heartache + triumphs.  Some of these girls who didn’t know each other before, have bonded + created lifelong friendships!  And me, as the host-  it was SO NEAT to see it all unfold before my eyes.  Girls that never knew each other- following each other on social media and experiencing each other’s small moments together…  Girls that never knew each other- grieving over husbands lost in death…  Girls that never knew each other- making future plans to meet with their families…

As I reflect on the last 5 years, it wasn’t just about the tea.  Sure, we had lots of great food and met beautiful cups of tea.  We talked about our jobs + family, books + art, music, recreation.  But, we really formed everlasting connections and memories.

And me, I now have FRIENDS!!

I wanna thank each and every one of you girls.  Not just for sharing this ride with me, but for growing with me.










Amy V



Amy L













October 22, 2016 – At our last tea party, I was excited, relieved, and sad.  It’s not over.  There are just different things we get to experience now!  And btw girls, we were invited to London…  🙂

To our Readers + Followers:  THANK YOU!!!  I never thought when my friend suggested I blog about our Tour, that OVERNIGHT more than 400 of you would be half interested in tea parties!!?!  Please continue to share your experiences with us!  Ask your girlfriends to join you!  Share tea, and bond, and grow!!  I’ll keep you updated if/when we try any new Spots. Love you guys!!  Peace.



my raTEAng 1-23

We started with a dozen Spots.  I added a dozen more.  One closed down…we missed one…I went to two surprise Spots…   Aaaand, we ended up with 23.  So-  here it is folks!!  TWENTY-THREE Bay (and over) Area Tea Houses + Tea Rooms, that parTEA with me visited + reviewed for you so you don’t have to = all in one easy-peasy handy-dandy LIST!!!

Starting with: don’t ever step foot in there to make your reservations yesterday!


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


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

fixed scone

21. Tea Time, Palo Alto – Awkward dirty café that left me thirsty.


20. The Golden Tea Garden, Hayward – Bad-mannered + arrogant owner with dollar store décor + tea.


19. Leland Tea Company, Burlingame – A café that serves food you can make yourself at home + buy yourself from shelves, on 3 tiers.


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


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


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


15. The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus, San Francisco – Matter-of-fact service and expensive teeny tasteless food.


14. Satori Tea Company, San Jose – Interesting + eclectic, rum butter crumpets, and purple tea.


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


12. Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont, San Francisco – Complex + unique flavors that just work, and a have-to-have pear compote.

IMG_9395 - Copy

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


10. Lovey’s Tea Shoppe, Pacifica – Black Vanilla with Lavender tea, asparagus sandwich, and sweet staff.


9. Camellia Tea Room, Benicia – Impeccable service and an all-around wonderful time.


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


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


6. Tal’s Patisserie, Danville – Best rustic tea meal for a bread-lover, with best store-bought tea.


5. Pardee Home, Oakland – A tour in a tour that will feed you until satisfaction and the definition of ‘cuteness overload’.


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


3. The White Hart Tea Room, Pacific Grove – Really like going to someone’s house for tea (cuz you are), and having true homemade food (cuz you are!).


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


1. Tyme for Tea & Co., Fremont – The perfect tea house, with perfect food, perfect tea, and perfect service.


Spot 22 :: Tyme for Tea & Co. [LAST SPOT]

[I’m still calling this one Spot 22, because I still intend to visit Spot 21!]

Our 22nd Spot:

37501 Niles Boulevard  Fremont, CA 94536




It was hard for me to remember to take photos of this Spot, because I was so familiar.  So, my apologies that I don’t have many from inside.  I saved this Spot for last, because not only was it special to me (being my FIRST tea house experience) but it also pulled rank for me when it came to Bay Area Tea Houses.  Every single Tea Spot we’ve been to, I based my review off of my experiences here.  Needless to say, this place is G-O-O-D.


Since this Tea House is center of the Niles District in Fremont, CA, it is surrounded by antique everything!  It’s not too decorated in there, but it has enough to make you feel special when you walk in.  They have their signature pink table covers, (my favorite) mismatched chairs, and only because of the Halloween season are the napkins black this time of year.  Tons of cute vintage china and silverware on the tabletops, and lots to look at!

I have to say-  I am a bit NERVOUS to review a place I’ve fallen in love with since the first time stepping foot into it almost 5 years ago!?  I will do my very best to put in words, what has brought me so much joy in recent years…

Where do I start?!  Okay (deep breath)-  making reservations was always painless here.  You call, they take your party number, they ask of the occasion, thoroughly explain what to expect for your tea service, give you a price, and you’re all done!  2 weeks before your reservation, they’ll call you to confirm your headcount.  Something new they’ve implemented, is serving ONLY their house tea (which is very good, I might add) for big parties.  As an always busy tea house, they simply can’t steep 10 different pots of tea for every reserved table.  Understandable.  They will steep a pot of decaf for your party, upon request.  I did speak with the owner’s mother prior to our visit, and asked if my party agreed on 1 or 2 additional non-decaf pots if that would be okay.  She graciously accepted our request!  And, don’t get me started on our server that day…who, I told my girlfriends would get tired of me using his name (Hehe.), but calmly + collectedly granted each favor with a willing spirit!!  Loved him.



[Again, please forgive me as the lighting in there isn’t the best for photography.  It is a building that is over 100-years-old.  That, and I’m very amateur!  I’ve been practicing shots without flash…  But, the ones I got from today aren’t that great.  The shots WITH flash will be my best bet to use!  😉  ]

For our table of 10, we shared a pot of their House Tea which is a black tea with strawberry + kiwi.  Then, I ordered the table a Ginger Peach Decaf and a Lemon Chiffon Cake tea.  They do offer quite a selection, and if I’m not mistaken aside from their house tea, most if not all of the teas they offer is from the Republic of Tea brand.  Best grocery store tea brand, in my opinion.  And, I gathered this as they sell Republic of Tea canisters in their shop.

Their House Tea is delightful.  Equal amounts of both flavor profiles, and not too strong.

The Ginger Peach Decaf is an icon for them, I think.  When I first visited, this was the tea I chose to try.  Even now, when I steep my RoT’s ginger peach daily green at home-  I’m ALWAYS reminded of fond times at Tyme for Tea!!  Every time!  It’s a refreshing catch-you-off-guard in a good way tea.

Since having Couples Tea with my husband + our beer fam (we do craft beer tasting once a month) some years back, every single time I come here never fail-  I HAVE to HAVE their Lemon Chiffon Cake tea.  The funny thing is, I would have never chosen that in a million years!!  Haha.  This was my husband’s choice, and I fell head-over-heels in love with it (like I did him!).  It’s the most creamiest, comfortingest, luxurious tea all in one.  Here’s how you know it’s good: we had 3 refills of it in the few hours we were there!?  Go get some.



Their scones have always been good here.  Let me tell you a funny story…  I hated scones.  When I saw them at a bakery or at your local Starbucks, I couldn’t grasp WHY people wanted to put that dry crumbly stuff in their mouths!?  Then-  I had one at Tyme for Tea.  It was warm, with crispy edges and chewy insides!  I had cream and lemon curd and strawberry preserves with it!  I never knew the “real” way to eat scones, until I came here!!  What had happened was: my first experience with one was NOT warmed + DRY!  So, thank you to Tyme for Tea for introducing me to the real scone experience!  (high five)  Today’s flavor was Blueberry Lemon.  Just as delicious as the first time I had one there.  (P.S.  Hopefully you come on a day when they’re doing their apricot ones!!  Ughhh!  To die.)




They do their Cucumber tea sandwich with butter.  It adds this richness, different from the usual cream cheese.  I’ve always liked the sneaky piece of radish in the middle that they add.  It gives this refreshing pop of flavor that you don’t get with most general tea house cucumber sandwiches.  Then, the dusting of dill on top coats your mouth with a cool herb hint.


Their savories ALWAYS knock it out of the park.  Little Mushroom Turnovers that pack a punch!  The crust is perfect, and a filling even non-mushroom-lovers will love.


This Spinach Pinwheel was everything you could ask for + more!  That pastry-  oh!!  The filling-  yum!  I was actually MOANING (yes, moaning) whilst eating this.  Writing this, the memories are just killing me!  Give me morrrrre!!


They have not changed their tea sandwich menu OR recipes since I first went to visit them 5 years ago.  And, I applaud them for that.  One of my favorite mottos that I truly believe is: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  You can expect to have these quality tea sandwiches every time you visit there.  This is their Chicken Salad on Wheat.  Look.  At.  All.  That.  FILLING!!?!  Forreal, it’s pretty much a full sandwich.  I almost never finish this one!  Complimentary flavors, and the nuts on top give it wonderful texture.


This Cheddar Jalapeno Toast I can’t ever have.  Lactose intolerant, and can’t take too much spicy.  BUT-  I have tried it, and it is magnificent!  In the past, I have scraped off what I can and have just eaten to toast.  Not cute, I know.  But the bread is crazy good!  I usually take mine home to the Huz, and he loves it.



No, I didn’t have all 3 of those petit fours!  Hehe.  They are just so pretty, I had to include all in the photo shoot!  These desserts have only changed once, since 5 years ago.  They used to serve Biscoff Lotus biscuits which were a nostalgic plus in my book!  But, these signature sweets are not bad at all.  Of course, after all that luscious cake tea and savories, I could only manage a bite of each (you know how I do!).  Just to say I had it all!  Ha!  The Shortbread Cookie is a homemade recipe; chewy + good.  The Petit Fours all have different flavors per each color (there’s also a white + brown one).  All equally exquisite; soft cake and creamy layers.  And that Peanut Butter baklava-esque truffle…  Ohhh, signature treat of theirs for sure.  After my bite, that one goes straight into my peanut butter-loving husband’s belly!


The service is always 5-star when I come here.  I’ve never had a bad time, and that’s what contributes to this place being my Number 1!  I believe it’s family owned (which I value), and they treat you MORE than such.  They are there to give you thee BEST tea house experience of your life!!  And, every time I’ve come in, I can expect no less.  Thank you Tyme for Tea!  I’m so happy we ended with you.


What a great afternoon!!  Most of my “regulars” came and we just enjoyed the last moments of this beyond words Tea House Tour!

Girlfriend Tea – Tal’s Patisserie

I guess a scheduled Tea Spot this month, isn’t enough for me!?  Hehe.

I had a date with one of my sweetest friends the other day.  After a much needed massage appointment, we had tea at this cute little bakery.  Now, I can’t remember if I looked at this place or not when I scheduled the spots for the Tour…but, it does kinda sound familiar.  It is, however, not your usual Victorian tea place; so maybe that’s why I didn’t include it.  Whichever way it is-  I am SO GLAD we went that day.

I wasn’t going to mention my visit here, because I was having such a lovely time I didn’t wanna ruin it by being in ‘review mode’.  BUT, this place was sooo gooood I have to say something!!  So, here’s another unofficial review:


Tal’s Patisserie

304 Sycamore Valley Road  Danville, CA 94526



Aside from their general baked goods with an Israeli flare, they offer 3 levels of tea service.  One with 3 tea sandwiches, scones + pastries, a lighter option of just scones + fruit, then a junior version.  I don’t usually talk about price in my blog posts…but I wanted to emphasize how worth it your 20-dollars will be for these 3 sandwiches!! The tea selection could be better.  There were 8 generic flavor choices, and I think they’re all from Harney & Sons (which is not a bad tea at all!).  I’m telling you tho-  I know this blog is about tea…but, you WILL NOT be thinking about the hot flavored water you are having between bites while smackin on these I-don’t-even-know-how-to-describe-them-because-I-wouldn’t-be-doing-em-ANY-justice tea sandwiches!!

Again, I didn’t have my professional camera and I only took 2 pics…  Sorry guys!


I chose their Dragon Pearl Jasmine.  Not a usual choice for me to pick a green tea, but it’s what I was feeling at the moment and I liked it!  I mean, Harney & Sons makes really good tea.  I have 2 tins of theirs at home right now!  They let us pick our own pots of tea, so that’s always a plus.


They served us quarters of Cranberry Scones, with butter and a HOMEMADE PLUM PRESERVES!!  The scones were good.  More crunchy + crumbly than I like, but still a nice scone.  I wasn’t complaining.  I’m not a butter-for-my-scones person, but that butter was churned so good it was like a cream anyway!  Those preserves tho.  You can taste the attention to care + love that was put in that little container of homemade goodness.  I asked for some to-go too, with my last piece of scone.



Okay, the highlight of this place-  these sandwiches!!!  Maybe I’m biased cuz I’m such a BREAD person, but who isn’t!?  They served Fig Butter, Goat Cheese + Apple, Tomato + Cheese, and Ham + Cheese.  But the bread…oh, the bread.  It was the crunchiest, rustic-est (yes, I said “rustic-est”), chewiest bread you could ever have in your whole existence of living!  SO NOT USUAL for a tea sandwich, but who cares!!??  It’s bread!  And, it’s good!!  The sweets were just as delicious.  A Pumpkin Spice French Macaron and a biscuit of some sort filled with chocolate.  All very rustic + homemade and just good.  Period.


The server/cashier/cook(?) was very nice.  We were the only ones in the intimate little bakery, so she was attentive + delightful.  I just kept saying “thank you” the whole time, cuz I was just so HAPPY with all that bread in my mouth!  🙂  Please visit this place readers; I wanna take everyone I know there!!

See you again in a few days!  We have our Last Spot on Saturday…

Unofficial Tea Spot Visit – Leland Tea Company

I know, I know…of all the tea house visits I’ve been to, the Huz + I have never been together!!?!  It was on our to-do list, we promise.  But as busy parents, homeschoolers + business owners, a Tea Date seemed impossible!?

We had a little bit of time this past Saturday before we had to pick up our kids, after doing our volunteer assignment in the morning.  So, the Huz said he wanted to take me out.  We love to surprise each other, so I didn’t know where we were going until the very last minute.  When he mentioned taking me to Tea, all I could think of was “AWWWW!” and then “Fiiiiinallyyyyy!!”

The place he chose was a Not-On-The-Tour Tea Spot.  I’ve heard/seen a lot about this particular spot, but didn’t include it in our Tea House Tour.  It appeared to be more of a “café” to me, than a tea house…and when we got there, I was right.

I kept having to remind myself “I’m not working, I’m not working,” which is HARD for a workaholic to do!  I also wanted to respect my time with my husband, especially since we don’t get a lot of it.  He did inquire if I was going to review the place, and I did take mental notes of what I observed.  I obviously didn’t have my professional camera with me, so these few shots I took (for IN CASE I was going to review) are fro my iPhone 6.  Not too shabby tho, I think!

Why did I decide to review…  Not because this place was spectacular, but because I felt a sense of responsibility to our readers + followers!!  You guys are just SO KIND to us, and have been here loyally.  I felt it was the least I could do.  Okay, so here goes…my unofficial review-


Leland Tea Company

1223 Donnelly Avenue  Burlingame, CA 94010



Sorry, no photo of outside the place.  It is tucked behind a salon, so a photo would have been helpful.

Please don’t expect ANY cutesy tea party décor of any kind.  As previously mentioned, the environment is more of a café.  Like-  they had a pastry display!?  So we walk in, and nobody says anything to us for awhile.  I go ahead + start smelling teas.  They have tins right in front of the cashier counter.  We’re finally seated.  I believe he was the owner (along with his mom who is the “cook”), shows us to our table by the window.  He says a few quick things to us, then hustles back to other customers.  Since this was my husband’s deal, I respectfully wait for whatever he had planned.  SO…we’re sitting there forrreverrr.  I was trying not to look, but it was hard not to-  when you are staring at spider webS behind the curtains of our window!  The dood finally comes back around, and casually asks if we ordered are sandwiches yet.  I believe his exact words to my husband “Did you order yet fool?!”  Now, I’m all for being chummy with customers.  I think it shows an instant closeness between strangers.  I get it; I’m for it.  BUT.  DO NOT.  Call us names!!??  That’s not cool!  He then explains further, that if they think you are a ‘Regular’ they will not bother you.  Ohh…kayyy.

We choose their Tea For Two tea service.  It comes with a choice of 2 tea sandwiches, house salad, 2 scones, 2 madeleines, 2 shortbread cookies, and only 1 pot of tea.  Now, they offer a refill, BUT of the same tea.  So, we had to compromise on what to order.  I didn’t see a tea menu or list of any sort, so I believe you are to order tea by smelling those tins they had by the counter.  And again, nobody told us that.  We just had to guess.  It’s a good thing we got to smelling as soon as we got there, otherwise we’d be lost.  😉


I was interested in their Jamaican Bang rooibos tea.  Not knowing what was in any of them, because there was no list (yall know how that’s my favorite) (can you hear the sarcasm?) (insert red mad emoji here), we decided to settle for that one.


It was very tart.  I didn’t expect that.  Later, only just before we left (ugh, rolling my eyes), did we find out what was in it.  A lot of floral and fruit flavor profiles, but all we could taste was the berry.  Pretty tea!  I’ll give them that.  It kinda grew on me…But only cuz I needed something hot to drink to wash the food down.  😐


We picked their Chicken Salad and Salmon Salad (yup, I said salmon salad) tea sandwiches.


I tell you , I was so sad when this tier came.  It just wreaked of I’m-paying-too-much for this meal!!  But, I put on my brave face for my man, and really did give them a fighting chance.  Plus, I was having so much fun with him + he did so good in picking Tea to take me out.  It didn’t matter if I was feeding myself gravel, I was so happy to be on a date!


I went for the salmon first.  Sure, why not.  The salmon is usually my fave at other tea places, I’ll like this…  Dood!!  It was CANNED SALMON!!?!  I don’t think I’ve ever had that before in my life!?  And if I did, I couldn’t have possibly liked it.  “Why would they serve this to people,” is what I was thinking as I continued to feed myself this artificial excuse for a tea sandwich.  I’ll admit, it wasn’t THAT bad.  However, how can you charge someone 30 dollars for canned food??  It’s just not right.


I would be kidding myself if I thought the chicken would be any better.  Again, it wasn’t a bad sandwich.  It’s just-  it tasted EXACTLY like a gramma just whipped up something real quick for you for your afterschool snack.  Don’t get me wrong, there are very FEW things in life that are like gramma’s cooking.  But this wasn’t that.  That‘s = slaving over the stove for hourrrrs, gramma’s cooking.  This = let me put something together so you can get out my face, gramma’s cooking.  Seriously, I could a made a sandwich better than these…in my house…for 3 dollars…not 30.

The salad was okay.  Again, something just whipped up.  No warmth, no love added.  Just a couple of shredded pieces of lettuce, a few nuts here + there, and a light dressing.  It was a nice filler to the 2 bites each of sandwich.


The Scones made me want to cry.  They came cold, dry, and crumbly.  I think it was a quarter of Chocolate Chip + Plain for each of us.  They threw 2 butter packets (packets, yes PACKETS!!) (and, don’t even get me started on serving scones with BUTTER) on the top tier supposedly for your scones.  Then, they had a small container of like-  2 sneezes (I’m sorry!!) of some sort of diluted preserves.  Surely not enough for one respectable sized scones.  Ugh.  I don’t have to say these had no flavor.


Here are the remaining sweets: a Chocolate-Dipped Madeline and Shortbread Cookie.  Again, both dry + cold.  Nothing left to write about that…


Our server himself said the service sucked there.  Good, so I didn’t have to say it for him.  He admitted that, then followed with “but hopefully the food is good.”  Sorry to say man, no points for either.  I have NO IDEA how this place has the awards or mentions it does.  I’m gonna go out on a limb here, and say MAYBE it has better tea.  Cuz for me, it striked out on all three…bad tea, bad food, bad service.

All-in-all, I’m glad we came.  Number 1) what an awesome time spent with my dream guy.  Number 2) I’m relieved I got to go to be able to tell you guys about it!  Hopefully this review helps with your travels next time you’re touring the San Francisco Bay Area or the next time you want some tea!  I stay true to ya.  😉  Special shout out to my wonderful Huz for making this awful Tea Spot a much better experience because I got to stare at yo mug the whole time!!  Love you Baby.