Spot 25 :: Eddison & Melrose

Our 25th Spot:

Eddison & Melrose Tea Room

25 Soledad Drive  Monterey, CA 93940

http://www.eddisonandmelrose.com

 

This Spot was supposed to be our 21st…but we missed it.  I was happy to include it on our Summer Tea Tour, but after going and meeting the owner-  I reeeeally don’t want to review this place!!  (expressing my whineyest face right now)  I don’t want to say ANYTHING remotely negative, because our time there was absolutely lovely.  HOWEVER, I feel like I owe it to my readers and even to her, to share my honest opinion.  From business owner to business owner, I’d like to think I’d appreciate any constructive criticism to better my craft.  🙂

 

When you call in to make reservations, you get a real English accent.  I loved that!  It really made you feel like you’d be having some authentic tea.  I also appreciate that they communicate by text message as well.  Hey-  if I don’t have to talk on the phone, that’s the option I will always pick!  😛

I always anticipate driving up to new Spots, cuz I’m curious where in town it’s located.  When I drive by different places on other days, I often picture perfect spaces for tea houses or tea rooms…so I’m fascinated as to why they picked this destination.  Did not expect for this place to be located in a shopping center/strip mall.  :/  Driving up to it, I felt like that alone already diminished my expectations of this Spot.  (Didn’t get a picture of it [nor did I want to really], cuz I had to rush in to toilet my daughter from our long drive up there.)

You walk in-  and it’s-  adorable.  Lot’s of lacey detail, a soft painted mural on the wall, hanging paper poofs…  The décor was minimal, but inviting.  There were only 5 tables, which I loved.  Tiny space, but you felt exclusive.  Our table (not pictured) had wicker chairs that I felt were super uncomfortable, even with the cushions.  And, the napkins looked a bit dingy…

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We were greeted with huge smiles, and servers that look like they want to be there + your wish is their sole reason for living!  Not in an annoying way, but a very sweet + kind way.  There are 2 levels of tea service (not including the child one), but today I didn’t feel like getting the works so I chose the very basic one that at least included their scone. I’m glad my partner did tho, so at least we could see!  🙂  They didn’t have a plethora of tea choices, maybe 15.  Two of their special blends, then the rest were regular stuff you’d see on most tea menus.  Since I’m such a rooibos-lover, that’s what I looked for.  Tho, the choices they offered did not sound appealing to me (only cuz I’m not a fruity tea kind of gal).  There was one with strawberry and one with mandarin.  I chose their Strawberry Rooibos.  Sorry I did, cuz it tasted like Robitussin.  I had my girl pour it back in the teapot (sorry!!), cuz none of us were gonna try that one again!  My 2 other girls that I came with (my business partner The Earl Grey Gal and another darling dear friend) ordered one of their signature teas, Spencer George.  It says “Blended in honor of Prince George.  A smooth mix of Assam, Bergamot & Raspberry.”  Nothing I would choose, but I am so glad they did.  It was wonderful!  I’m not even sure how to describe it…it was vanilla-y to me, and the fruity bergamot notes were apparent.  And, I have to comment on how hot the teas came…  Sometimes you go to a tea house, and they are verrry careful about the temperature of your water.  So careful, I think, that sometimes they bring it out more ‘warm’ than ‘hot’.  My preference is a degree hotter than “just right.”  I like my tea hot.  I don’t want to drink lukewarm tea.  I think they did a good job with this.  Even burned my tongue once!  😀

rooibos

spencer george

 

My partner who ordered the tea service with everything, got a non-alcoholic sparkling drink and a salad with hers.  I didn’t think the salad dressing looked appealing (and I WON’T tell you what I thought it looked like), but my girl loved it.  I think she said it was “the business!”

salad

 

Mine came with 3 tea sandwiches (which are pre-selected for you), scone with fixings, and a pot of tea.  Their Smoked Salmon was sooo simple, but very good.  It was on a baguette, maybe some butter, and a tiny piece of curly parsley on top; the salmon tho was so delicate, it made this easy thing so luxurious.  The Ritz Cucumber again was ultra simple.  But, the crunchy-ness of those cucumbers made it spectacular!  Their Curried Chicken Salad tea sandwich, I didn’t like.  I couldn’t find anything wrong with the flavor really, I think I’ve just had better.  The texture tho-  it was like BLENDED meat.  😐  My partner didn’t like her Cranberry Chicken, but I did…so we switched, like we were in grade school or something!?  Lol.  That chicken had the same smushy texture, but either the smoky-ness of it or the fact that it tasted like mixed together Thanksgiving Dinner appealed to me.  Earl Gal also got a savory and some sweets.

afternoon tea

smoked salmon

cucumber

curried chicken

high tea

 

Okay, now for the reason why I didn’t want to honestly review this place…  (insert monkey covering his eyes emoji here)  The owner came out to visit with our table for a bit, which seemed like she did with all her guests.  She showed us a magazine she had been published in, and let us know that they were selling copies.  What I didn’t mention before was that not only were we interested in checking out this Spot, BUT our company parTEA with me was invited.  She sought us out on facebook, and sent a message personally inviting us.  Now the way I could tell that she didn’t do this with just ANY tea company-  when my partner mentioned that we were actually invited, the owner says “Are you parTEA with me??!!”  She said “You guys are famous!”, then she went on about specific social media posts that she loved…she knew about the Tour…and genuinely was a fan.  That alone made MY YEAR!!  Especially with all the changes going on with our business (click here to find out!), her recognition of little ol’ us was validation enough for me that we have succeeded.

 

Though I don’t think I’ll be coming back to this tea house, I can wholeheartedly say that this was THEE best experience I’ve had so far in the 3-years-old-this-month Tea House Tour.  It was that conversation that made it. 🙂

Spot 24 :: The Tearoom

Surprise!!

We’re back!  There were a few Spots I missed on our Tour, so I’ve gathered a few of our Regulars and we’re doing a quick Summer Tea Tour!  We have 3 (maybe 4) brand new Spots to visit, and of course-  we’re taking you along with us!!  Join us again over the next few months for my brutally honest reviews + experiences of these tea houses!

 

Our 24th Spot:

6241 College Avenue  Oakland, CA 94618

http://www.thetearoomshop.com

the tearoom

 

Communication and reservations were fairly easy, as it was all done via email.  They did have us pre-order, which yall know is my fave.  😐  When we got there, it took a minute for them to seat us.  Theeen, when we were seated, (I counted) it took them a whole 10-minutes before they addressed us.  Lame.  The décor (was there décor??) was minimalistic, if that.  Seriously tho, you can’t call 3 jars of tea on a shelf “décor”.  There was ONE curio of tea paraphernalia…  And, don’t even GET me started on their wall sticker scene (which my girlfriend pointed out was not legally correct).  I’m really not trying to cap on their sense of interior design (I really am a nice girl!), it’s just-  there are certain things you expect when you hear “tearoom”.  This place looked like a Chinese restaurant…  I think their website is somewhat misleading, and I think they had a really good photographer for it.

decor

curio

sticker scene

table

 

When they finally paid attention to us, they set down this plate of canisters of tea.  I can’t even remember if the guy said what to do with them.  Obviously, they were for sniffing their selection of teas.  There were about 20 or so to choose from.  My girls got whiffs.  Because of my OCD, I’m not a fan of hovering my nostrils on top of old tea that who knows how long have been stored in containers that don’t have protective layers on top of them.  I definitely don’t judge those that do, I just think there is a more sanitary way of showcasing and allowing your guests to sample tea.  From my experience at festivals + other tea facilities that I’ve visited, I wasn’t impressed with theirs.

canisters

At our table, here were our tea selections + thoughts on them…

Vanilla Black – Surprise surprise, this is what I chose.  It was very bland, and I even let it steep a considerable amount of time (due to taking pics).

Caribe – My SIL didn’t really have any words for this, as there wasn’t really much of a flavor to it.  The best she could say was “fruity, desserty.”

Cinnamon Spice – Girlfriend said this was “liquid Big Red (the gum) that will numb your throat.”  After really giving this one a chance, she requested to change hers to White Peach.  Our server made a big deal about it and tried to laugh through the conversation, telling my girlfriend not to tell anyone that she’s doing this for her.  We all thought that was unnecessary…  Anyway, all she had to say about that one was “it’s peachy.”

Sally’s Secret – Two of my girls ordered this one.  The concensus: “It’s just earl grey, no secret about it.”

Lavender – This one was the most ridiculous of all.  There wasn’t even a color to it!?  It basically looked like hot water.  My hermana says “Nothing.  Can’t even say anything about it.”

After all of our bland and uneventful tea experiences, I decided to look in the infusers.  THEY WERE NOT ADEQUATELY FILLED!!?!  No wonder all these pots of tea were only so-so, they weren’t being served correctly.  Either they don’t know much about how to steep tea, or they’re being real S-T-I-N-G-Y.  Not nice.

tea

[I’m laughing at my uneven cuppa, cuz it goes to show you how uninterested I was at getting this shot!]

 

They offer 3 levels of tea service.  I’m gonna rush through the food part of this review, cuz I am just so done.

tier

My tea service came with 2 tea sandwich choices.  I got Curried Chicken and Ham, Brie + Apple.  The chicken salad was bland, the bread was dry.  When I had the bites with the coconut topping, it was rather nice.  THEN, I tasted the scallions.  Ew.  The brie, I could only take one bite out of, same with my girls that ordered it.  There was not enough ham, again with the dry bread…so dry that if you scratched it you can hear it (yes, I tried it), no flavor, and too much apple.  My Earl Grey Gal, after choking on the blackberry from her yucky miso-dressed salad, said the cucumber tea sandwich was “surprisingly good” and her first time having it without radish.  She gave me a bite, I thought it had too much cream.  Interestingly, it had some mint in it.

curry

brie

cucumber

 

We were served a Ginger Scone.  All the girls at the table really liked theirs.  I felt it was a bit too fluffy, but I liked the crispy bottoms.  The fixings were just okay.  Tho, some of my girls were mad that the preserves were touching!

scone

 

The service was fine.  I kinda wrote them off when the guy brought me an ICEE STRAW (!!?!) for my water in his bare hands, unwrapped, and not in a napkin.  Yuckth!  They weren’t bad, but they weren’t great either.  Of course, my girls made it the most pleasant experience you could ever have at a place as awful as this.

I’m sorry for offending anyone with my outspokenness of this blog post + review.  It was just really bad.  For our long time readers who have been with us since Spot 1, you know I tell it like it is.  Don’t waste your time coming.  I promise the Spots coming up will be better.  To be fair (I guess), I started this Summer Tour with the least interested place.  We try all of em so you don’t have to!  😉  Happy to be sharing with yall once again!

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

http://www.tymeforea.com

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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.

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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.

 

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[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.

 

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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.)

 

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

 

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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

http://www.talspatisserie.com

 

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!

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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.

 

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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

http://www.lelandtea.com

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

August Tea

So…we missed our last tea Spot.  :/  It was a really great Spot, that we were ultra excited for…but-   lots of things goin on, ya know!?  I promise the next Spot, you will NOT WANT TO MISS (and we won’t either!  Hehe.).

I was blessed to be able to attend a week long seminar, the 2nd week of August.  The following week we were supposed to travel for Tea, but I didn’t realize how much the class would take out of me…  The next day, I found out my Gramma (and Homegirl!) had suffered a heart attack + was in the hospital.  Then, a few days later, my friend who is 99-years-old!! was admitted also.  (Sigh…)  Needless to say, lots of hospital visits-  didn’t make me feel in a very “tea party” type mood.  😦  Thank you sweethearts for understanding.  (insert 3 heart emojis here!)

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On a lighter note!  Our new company is moving rather swiftly!!  To our surprise + honor.  Please keep in touch with us at www.parTEAwithme.com to be the FIRST to hear our news!  And, at @parTEAwithme on all social media accounts!

Spot 20 :: Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont

Our 20th Spot:

Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont

950 Mason Street  San Francisco, CA 94108

http://www.fairmont.com/san-francisco/dining/afternoon-tea-at-the-fairmont

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[FYI-  most of my photos for this post, will be smartphone photos from me or my girlfriend.  The lighting in there wasn’t favorable for my DSLR setting, and I wasn’t in the mood to fiddle with it.  I wanted to eat!]

 

Making reservations here was painless, and ordering was easy-breezy!  They have a set menu for one level of tea service, so all you really have to think about is your tea selection.  We love it when tea houses make it stress-free for us!

 

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There were 4 of us at today’s tea party (the same 4 that attended the Spot in Hayward).  We were excited at the chance of a re-do, since the last place we were all together at was NOT a good experience.  We decided to order different teas for each of us, so we can sample 4 from their offerings.  And yay, I tried all of em!

Jasmine Butterfly #1 (green tea with floral) – My choice.  I had this amazing jasmine green from a hole-in-the-wall dumpling house, and have been trying to find it’s twin.  So of course, this tea appealed to me.  At first pour, it’s as if the aroma filled the entire restaurant!?  It was verrrry fragrant…to say the least.  Although it smelled wonderful, I admit I got terrified as I (and my allergies) am ultra sensitive to scents.  I thought I was gonna hate it, but it was sooo good!  The floral bouquet wasn’t heavily translated in the tea itself.  However, the longer it steeped, the stronger it became.

Kyoto Cherry Rose (green tea, cherry, rose) – This was my 2nd choice, so I was very happy that my girlfriend decided to try this one.  My favorite at the table!  It smelled like a gift shop candle.  A light tea, but so flavorful!  It carried an equal amount of rose + cherry, and the aftertaste was remarkable.  Not only that, but it was a GORGEOUS looking tea!!  Here’s a shot of it with some cream…

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Willow Stream Spa Blend – My SIL was deciding between this one + another, and I encouraged her to choose this as she is a CMT!  Hehe.  Good thing she did, because it was lovely.  At first sniff + sip, I’d say it was a red.  Since the menu doesn’t quite specify what kind of flavors to expect but says that it’s “unique” and “decaffeinated”-  I believe it is, as rooibos is the only really caffeine free tea.  It smelled citrusy and creamy.  Wasn’t sure how else to describe this one (which is maybe why the menu doesn’t say much about it!?), but it was a good tea.

Egyptian Chamomile (apple-like + soothing aroma) – When I think of chamomile, I think of flat tea and rest.  So, it’s not necessarily something I look for on tea house menus.  However, my girlfriend said she was on a chamomile-kick, and I’m so glad she was because this one is a must-try!  NOT your everyday chamomile.  It had so much depth to it, and was very comforting.  I was pleased to have tried it.

 

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The tiers pack so much food on such petite presentation!  However, it didn’t look cluttered.  Each piece was small, but had diverse ingredients.  I took my photos quickly, so I could dive in!

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English Cucumber, Local Chevre, Lychee, Raspberries, Taro bread – Quite a mouthful of goat cheese!  The lychee is weird but fun.  The taro bread was delicious!!  You know I love me a crunchy cucumber.  The raspberry I thought, was unnecessary.

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Deviled Egg Salad, Watermelon Radish, Pickled Cucumber, White Bread – I thought there was nothing fantastic about the egg sandwich.  But I think THAT’S what was profound about it.  It wasn’t an egg sandwich with bells + whistles…it was just an egg sandwich.  BUT-  a really good, done well, egg sandwich.  And that white bread was ridiculously perfect.

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Smoked Salmon Pinwheel, Caper Boursin Cheese, Shaved Coconut, Pumpernickel – Salmon and coconut, really??  These flavors complimented each other so well, though!  Nice saltiness.  Coulda had more.

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Dungeness Crab & Mango Salad, Chives, San Francisco Sourdough – That craaaaab was sooooo good.  It was so juicy and lemony and chewy, and there was so much of it!!  They did this one so right.  I’d come back for that crab alone.

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Chicken & Black Bean Salad, Spiced Plum Coulis, Micro Greens, Green Tea & Red Bean Bread – That chicken was so smooth!  The complexity of those flavors together definitely resembled something from an Asian Deli, which is not a bad thing.  The mixture tasted like it had a bit of curry in it, always a winner.  Oh that bread!  Green tea & red bean anything = yes!

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We were offered 2 types of scones today: Aged Cheddar & Chive and Cinnamon & Raisin.  If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll already know I can’t have certain dairy.  Uuuusually when I hear “cheddar”, I steer clear away.  BUT-  I love me some chive.  Sooo, I had to taste that one.  And of course, hearing my girls rave about them just made me want to have some even more.  No one wants FOMO!  (fear of missing out)  These scones were so fluffy inside!!  Very unique texture than what I’m used to, and I liked it!  My girlfriend said, “They said ‘cheddar and chive’, but all I taste was delicious!”  The cinnamon & raisin didn’t have strong flavors at all.  And, I enjoyed them that way.  They used golden rasisins, which just made them look prettier.  What do they say-  half of how you eat is with your eyes!?  (thumbs up)  I almost forgot to mention, they offer a Spiced Pear Compote as opposed to strawberry preserves.  Waaay different, but okay.  I’m always down to try new things!  All I got to say is “TRY IT.”

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The desserts for today were Peach Panna Cotta, Apple Date Fruitcake, Vanilla & Chocolate French Macarons, Caramel Coconut Banana Tart, and a Passion Fruit Merengue Tart.  To tell you the truth, I barely had a bite of each I was so stuffed!!  I went for the panna cotta first, becaaaause that’s my all-time favorite dessert!  I know my panna cottas, and…that one was just okay for me.  I thought it was much to melty or runny.  The other desserts weren’t bad at all.  Maybe I’ll leave that as an element of surprise for yall!?  😉

 

All-in-all, it was a wonderful visit.  The hotel alone is a classic building to step foot into.  I didn’t include photos from inside, as I’d want you to see for yourselves.  I wouldn’t do it justice in trying to explain the luxuriousness of it, and plus, my camera didn’t like me that day (remember?).  The staff was pleasant.  They got their job done, and with smiles on their faces.  But, it wasn’t anything to write home about.  Which, I didn’t necessarily expect from this place.  In your family-owned tea houses, we get so much love!  In these big-o hotels, to them-  it’s business.  HOWEVER, that wont stop me from coming back!!  I want to do it again already tomorrow!

Thank you my followers, for continuing to read about our journey.  I see your daily hits by the hundreds, and can’t express enough how much it means to me/us that you appreciate what we’re doing.  To think-  it started with a story almost 2 years ago…and now we’re a full-fledged business with a TEA LINE!!?!  Whaaaa??  I know you’ve taken a look at our teas right?!  What, not yet?!  www.parTEAwithme.com  You’re welcome!!  It started with you all, and we’ll continue to share what we can.  🙂