As tea-loving as Mr. Tea is, he’d never been to a real afternoon tea. So I surprised him with a trip to the Tea House on Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano (a little over an hour south of LA). Even though he drove, he didn’t know where we were going– I set his GPS and told him to follow its instructions. Bwahahaha.
I was worried that the tea house might be sort of a girly place to take a man, but I figured Mr. Tea could handle seeing a few ladies in funny hats. And when he finally figured out where we were going, he seemed more than happy to sit in a floral-wallpapered room. It’s like going to your proper-but-wacky grandmother’s house.
We ordered the Los Rios Tea spread– “Assorted Fingers Sandwiches, freshly baked currant scone with our own Famous Early California Cream & preserves, fresh fruit accompanied by cream and brown sugar. Your selection of tea.”
My teacup reminded me of the scene from “The Birdcage” where they use the soup bowls with the naked Greeks on them.
The tea we selected was the “House Special Reserve,” a black tea with vanilla and grenadine. It sounds weird, but with some milk and sugar it was quite delightful. It was loose leaf, so we had to pour it through a strainer. Faaancy.
And then came the scones!
I don’t know if you can tell, but that’s definitely a heart-shaped scone. These are my people! I’m not really a scone aficionado, but it seemed to be fluffy and crusty in the right places. And it was HUGE. (That’s what she said.) (I mean, look at it compared to the average-sized knife.)
Even though I’m not typically a fan of things with mayo or cream, for some reason I love tea sandwiches. I think it’s the neatness, or the bite-size-ness. Or maybe I secretly like egg- and chicken-salad sandwiches, but only in tiny portions once a decade. (Hehe.)
They gave us half & half and brown sugar to pour over the fruit… to “glaze” it. That must be a British thing. It tasted good, but I think fruit is sweet enough on its own. The edible flower tasted like… a flower smells. I spit my petal out, once I got the jist of it. (And in case you’re wondering, the sandwiches were egg salad, chicken salad, ham salad, and cucumber. Mr. Tea traded me because I don’t eat ham, so there are two egg in my picture.)
We were too full for dessert, so we walked around San Juan Capistrano trying to digest enough to get an ice cream. (Never happened. We were too full.) It was sunny AND we got rained on. Luckily the rain passed just as we entered the Mission. I haven’t been there since I was a kid, and I forgot how gorgeous it is! (I probably didn’t appreciate the gardens when I was little.)
Haha, that’s another name I could have given to this secret trek– Mission: San Juan Capistrano.
There were two ponds– this one was koi-free. The second was very koi-ful.
I loved the reflections of the sky and trees in the water.
And look at these souvenirs. I guess all aspiring home cooks could use a grocery shopping angel?
There are plenty of places in LA to get tea, but it was nice to get out of the city for an afternoon and have an adventure. And if you don’t want to venture outside the comfort of your own home, this post was a cheat sheet– now you know what to make if you want to have a proper tea of your own.