Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tea's Me Tearoom

Welcome back tea friends,
Hope your summer continues to bring you warmth and enjoyment. One of my favorite summer time activities has always been traveling. I haven't traveled as much in recent years so this summer's three "short" trips have really ignited my passion for traveling. Even though my trips were not terribly far from home, I enjoyed relaxing and discovering some new tearooms which is always a delight.


"Perhaps it is while drinking tea that I most enjoy the sense of leisure."
                                                     ~George Gissing

At the end of June, I found myself in Hillsboro, Oregon which is a suburb of Portland. My mom and I went to visit my brother who lives there. While on our trip, we had tea at the Tea's Me (clever name, huh?) tearoom for my birthday. Thank you Steph of Steph's Cup of Tea for the wonderful recommendation.


The tearoom is located in somewhat of an odd location-in a dirt lot across from a car dealership. Once you enter the door, you definitely forget about all of that.

Welcoming entrance

Tables were well spread apart

My mom and I had a reservation for the first seating.


The selections on the menu were generous. We both chose the Duchess Tea. The number and variety of teas was quite impressive! Please see their site for tea selections and other photos. Their teas may be purchased online.

Both of our teacups were Queen Anne. 


I chose a white tea called White Christmas. It is a natural blend of white mutan tea, vanilla, almond and cardamom. It was so smooth and delicious that I purchased some after our meal. My mom chose and enjoyed White Wedding.
While there, I wondered what mutan white tea was. I learned online that it is a white tea grown on the same hills as the highly regarded Chinese Silver Needle. It is considered a mild subtle tea with no astringency.

 Our tea started with orange sorbet...a first for me at a tearoom. Very refreshing!

 Next we thoroughly enjoyed a cup of homemade chicken noodle soup. So thick and creamy! 

Cute sugar holder

The food arrives! There were blueberry and buttermilk scones, red velvet cake balls, raspberry puree tarts along with wonderful sandwiches.


The highlight of this tearoom for me was the semi private room with the gorgeous chandelier and faux fireplace. A red hat society group reserved the room when we were there. 

What stood out was the impeccable warm and attentive service! It really elevated the experience. Our server explained all the courses in detail and was always ready to refresh our pots of tea.
 Going to a tearoom is a special treat and to receive a high level of service makes the experience all the more wonderful and memorable. Thank you Tea's Me for a lovely tea time.

And thank you for reading my first tearoom review. Hope your travels near and far bring you to some interesting tearooms.
~Nora









Sunday, July 12, 2015

Shelley Summer Glory at Lunch



Welcome Tea Friends and new readers, 

Lately I've been doing a bit more entertaining than usual.  I enjoy the energy of parties. The warm summer weather lends itself to casual get togethers by our pool.  
On Saturday I had two friends over for a casual lunch and a swim.
Originally we were going to meet late morning and I planned to serve tea with some cookies and pastries, but the time changed to two o'clock so my menu had to change. Instead of hot tea, we drank iced tea and the table setting became a bit more laid back.

The initial table setting included Royal Albert Blossom Time series teacups along with my featured teacup which sums up the gardening spirit of summer for me...



Summer Glory by Shelley
Cambridge Shape
Pattern  13456


Blue, white and pink hydrangeas make up this chintz pattern on a pale pink background. The word "chintz" comes from the Sanskrit word "chitra" meaning bright or variegated. 

It is my first and only chintz teacup and pink one at that. I found it on ebay for a reasonable price.


The backstamp indicates it was produced from 1940-1966 but most likely in the 1950s.
Chintz patterned teacups were best sellers for Shelley in the 1950s. Other Shelley chintz patterns are Rock Garden, Primrose Chintz, Melody and Maytime. Summer Glory comes in other colors as well.


While Summer Glory and the other teacups were interchanged for iced tea glasses, the following was served:

Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast iced tea
Havarti Cheese Tray with Fig Preserves & Sliced Baguette
Couscous with Sauteed Mahi Mahi & Summer Vegetables
Berry Salad
Fudge Crinkle Cookies


Couscous with shaved Parmesan



Fudge Crinkle Cookies

I made these cookies last Christmas and they were well received. I found the recipe online and someone posted that the cookies were "embarrassingly simple" to make.  I agree, but I'm not complaining. This is an easy recipe when time is tight.

This recipe is based on an old Betty Crocker one I found here. After reading others' comments on the site, I made some adjustments.


Ingredients:

1 box of Betty Crocker super moist Devil's Food Cake mix
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Stir (by hand) cake mix, vegetable oil and eggs until dough forms

Dust hands with powdered sugar and form dough into 1 inch balls.
Roll balls into sugar and place on a cookie sheet/s.

Refrigerate for ten minutes. (This helps to give the cookies the crinkle look and not absorb the sugar.)

Place or replace cookies two inches apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-11 minutes or until the center is just set.

Remove cookies from pan after one minute and cool on wire racks.

Yields about 30 cookies


Hope your week brings you tea and happiness!
Teacup Tales will take a break the following week and then return with a tearoom review.
~Nora

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Strawberries


Hello Dear Tea Friends,

I hope you had a fun 4th of July weekend. We hosted a dessert party with friends. Swimming and sweets were a good combination. It's such a fun holiday...no gifts- just good times, parades, fireworks and celebrating with others. 
Last week I traveled to Portland, Oregon to visit my brother. I had many wonderful tea experiences there that I will share in future posts. 


For now, it's all about the fabulous summer fruit-strawberries! It's hard pressed to find someone that doesn't like strawberries. Just the shape of a strawberry, the tiny seeds, smell and color is a joyful sight to see.  
That is why this teacup on ebay caught my eye. 



It's an English bone china produced by Hammersley and Co. which was part of the Spode Company. Hammersley was first manufactured in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.



The pattern is called Strawberry Ripe.
In 1989 the trade name of Hammersley ceased and the factory was demolished. Anysley china bought the trade name that same year.





Love the details in the polychrome transfer.

The teacup was produced in the mid to late 1970s.

During our camping trip which I mentioned in the post Tea in the Redwoods we had the opportunity to go strawberry picking.


Swanton Berry Farm in located on the coast in Davenport, California. 



The setting is beautiful as the blue along the horizon is the Pacific Ocean.


I love that the fruit is organic.


We picked seven pounds of strawberries.


I would like to say that I made an extraordinary dessert with the strawberries, but I ended up making strawberry jam (already down half a jar).


And for the 4th I simply made a fruit salad. I sliced and froze many strawberries for future smoothies.

As always thank you for visiting! I look forward to catching up with your sweet comments and blogs. I do apologize for not responding and visiting many of you last week. This summer is busier than I anticipated. 
Have a wonderful week of tea and friendship,
Nora