Monday, April 20, 2009

Tea House Review No. 2 ~ The Tea Cozy ~ Cambria, California

The Tea Cozy ~ Cambria, California

My husband and I recently visited Cambria for a few stolen days to ourselves, it was the first time either of us have been to Cambria, but The Tea Cozy was definitely on my 'must see' list. We didn't have a reservation, but were seated right away. The day we visited was a Wednesday afternoon in mid February, so Cambria wasn't exactly a hot bed of activity that time of the year.

The Tea Cozy is a cottage-turned-tearoom and has two dining rooms off each side of the front entrance. The tea rooms are just want the name implies, ahhh... cozy! A little rustic and totally unpretentious. We both felt really comfortable there. I had the Duchess Tea, which consisted of a scone with clotted cream & jamb, a tea sandwich and a bottomless pot, I chose the house blend black tea. Everything was terrific! The gents working that day were friendly and engaging and the service was great. They also have a small shop at the back of the tea room featuring home made jambs, a sampling of English foodies, and tea wares. I liked the clotted cream and the home made jamb so much that I bought a jar of each to take home! It's a dangerous thing that clotted cream, hiiighly addictive!

I really enjoyed my time at the Tea Cozy and wish I'd had more time to visit again during our trip. One of the things that surprised me and that I liked best was actually something for my husband who isn't a 'tea guy'. The Tea Cozy serves a selection of English beer! How nice! Is this normal? I don't know because I've not visited that many tearooms, but I have a feeling it's unique. At any rate, it was a happy thing! While I enjoyed my tea and goodies, my hubby got to cool his heels in a mostly doily-free environment and have a tall cool one, double nice!

We really loved our time in Cambria, we stayed in a lovely, lovely bed & breakfast called the J. Patrick House. We were also fortunate enough to visit Hearst Castle, which was a-ma-ma-mazing two days in a row! We toured it the first day and were so completely taken (I'm sort of a history nerd) that we went back a second day for a new and different tour. Oh gosh, I wish I wouldn't have spent so much time behind the camera, there was just so much to see and I wanted to see it all again and again! These are just a tiny sampling of the 500+ pictures I took. Yeah... more than 500. Killed my camera 2 days in a row. Oh, I'm getting off track... this is a Tea Room review after all, not a plug for the most amazing national landmark in California. :o)~

So we definitely want to visit Cambria again soon, when we do you can be sure I'll be taking tea at the Tea Cozy again!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tea House Review No. 1 ~ Lisa's Tea Treasures, San Jose, CA

Lisa's Tea Treasures, Santana Row San Jose, CA

Hooray for tearooms!

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I've only recently discovered tearooms. I don't know how I ever could have not known about them, except to say that we don't have any in Lodi, or Stockton the two towns where I've spent most of my life. But since I've started delving into the wide world of tea, I've fallen in love with the idea of a tearoom. Maybe someday I'll have my own... (wistfully starting into space).

Thanks to I've found many tearooms relatively close to my town and I am determined to systematically sip my way through all of them. Sounds fun, no? So as I begin my little journey I thought I'd share with you all. This is a trip that we actually took back in February 2009, but since it was the first tearoom I'd visited, I thought it best to start with the past and catch up to the current.

My wonderful husband, Sean and I are Sharks fans, ice hockey that is! Go Sharks! So since we were going to be in San Jose for a game, I thought I'd check to see if there were any tea rooms in the area that I could visit since we'd already be in town. I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time, but perhaps I could at least see one in person, just a quick look to see if it was like what I'd imagined. I found information for at least two in San Jose, but the one that grabbed my attention was named after me, how sweet! Just kidding, It's not named after me, in my dreams! Any way, this sophisticated and very pretty tearoom that we visited is called Lisa's Tea Treasures ( Lisa's Tea Treasures is situated in a high end shopping district called Santana Row ( a lovely area with loads of beautiful, albeit rather pricey boutiques. This was my first visit to a tearoom of any kind, so I didn't really know what to expect other than what I'd read on the Internet, which was that tearooms usually busy enough to require a reservation and that your time there should not be rushed. Since I didn't have a reservation, or the time to sit and enjoy a proper afternoon tea before the game started across town, Sean and I just popped in to take a peek.

The tearoom was closed for the afternoon tea service by the time we arrived (which again I didn't mind not having a reservation or a great deal of time) but the gift shoppe was open for browsing, which I happily did! Lisa's Tea Treasures is a elegant and beautiful respite. I can easily envision a leisurely afternoon of shopping with my girlfriends, capped off with a nice pot of tea and a bite to eat in this lovely, lovely tearoom. The ladies working at the shop that day were very kind and genuinely friendly, and even though they were in between shifts busily preparing for their next guests, they encouraged me take my time to look around and sample some tea, they even took our picture outside the shop. It's a very feminine place, very... pink. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I love pink. But there's not a shred of masculinity on the premises, I'm not sure that even if we had the time to stay and have tea that I would have gotten Sean to agree to it. I think he might have felt very much "like a bull in a china shop" and I think he'd much rather grab a coffee and a newspaper at the Pete's Coffee a few doors down and leave the tea sipping and the doilies to me. But he was a good sport, and let me peruse and take my time.

While browsing at Lisa's Tea Treasures, I found my own treasure and bought my very first "fancy" cup and saucer, it's so pretty!

I also bought a box of the wonderful tea that I sampled that afternoon, it's a Strawberry Darjeeling called "The Rajah's Prize". I love it in the evening with cream & sugar.

I wished I'd had more time that afternoon, and I'm looking forward to a day when I'll be able to go back to Lisa's Tea Treasures and actually take tea! The staff was friendly and I already know the tea is great. I can just hear the scones calling my name, if the food is as good as the ambiance, I know I'm going to love it all the more!

Tea-Ta-For-Now ~ Lisa