22 November 2012

Afternoon Tea Review - The Grand Tea Room in Escondido

Photo courtesy of The Grand Tea Room
As you know, I never go on a business trip or holiday without researching afternoon tea venues first. On a recent trip to the San Diego area, I had the pleasure of checking out a new venue, The Grand Tea Room at 145 West Grand Avenue in Escondido. The three of us splurged on The Grand Tea, which included a soup starter in addition to the traditional British-style three-tiered afternoon tea. Usually I don't hold with departures (like soup or salad) from the traditional afternoon tea menu, but I made an exception in this case and was glad I did. That house-made tomato basil soup, served with a Parmesan toast, was extraordinary!
 
But let me digress from the food to the decor for a moment. Long a fan of the posh hotel tea, I often find tea rooms much too froufrou for my taste. You know what I mean--every surface swathed in cutesy. I just find all that sweetness cloying. I needn't have worried. The proprietor of The Grand Tea Room, clearly a woman of taste, has designed a tea room that has all the sweet touches one might expect of a tea room but without overdoing any of them. Even the bathroom was both charming and pristine. But back to the menu ...

 
The tea was properly made in beautiful 6-cup teapots, one for each of us. (Please don't ever bring me a tea bag and some tepid water in one of those silly little 1- or 2-cup pots; I came here for some tea!) One friend appreciated their having a decaffeinated black tea on the menu, something often lacking. The sandwiches and savory, a zesty little house-made crustless quiche, did not disappoint. The scones were delicious, but the bright pink glaze on their tops struck the only jarring note on the table. The tiny desserts were works of art. With no more serious cause for complaint than that pink glaze, we felt it was a fabulous tea all around!
 
The gift shop at the front of the tea room had a marvelous selection, everything from teapots to fascinators! My small collection of tea hats did not include a single fascinator (even after the Royal Wedding in January), and it was high time something was done about that! No photos yet, but believe me, it is fabulous. I'll be wearing it to the next afternoon tea, wherever that may be. And I expect to cause a sensation!

For reservations (not required at all times) or further information, call The Grand Tea Room at 760-233-9500 or visit The Grand Tea Room website. For tea at home, see How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea, Tea and Scones, and my review of the Zojirushi Water Boiler and Warmer.

Note: What are your favorite places for afternoon tea? I'm especially interested in tea rooms in the US, UK and Canada; but, wherever you've found a great afternoon tea, I'd love to hear about it! 

14 comments:

Yenta Mary said...

I adore afternoon tea! Such charm, such lovely treats. How perfect ... :)

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Mary. If you ever get to that area in your travels, be sure to try this place.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

The fact that I do not like tea notwithstanding, I am missing a gene (but not a Jeani or a genie) for ritual order. Ritual is always arbitrary in its inception – neither delivered on tablets of stone nor ordained in mankind’s narrow niche and short tenure of evolution. But once established, ritual can be as centering and affirming as anything in human experience. Whether it’s your morning cup of coffee, your afternoon cup of tea, or a moment’s pause to pray into a sunset every evening. So, I guess I empathize with your points of propriety and their sanity in an insane world, Jeani, as well as your ability to express them. Do you similarly grasp the sacredness of my daily forest moments on skinny skis in the crystal silence of a snowfall or blades in the perfection of a lazy summer afternoon? Perhaps Emily Dickinson supplied the bridge between tea and breathing: “…inebriate of air am I and debauchee of dew.”

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Yes, I can! Though not daily, I must get somewhat regular doses of a water view - whether ocean, lake or river - to restore something within me. Your daily forest moments are essential.

Angie's Recipes said...

I am too a tea drinker. The Grand Tea Room looks very relaxing and glad to know they do serve real tea.
Have a wonderful weekend, Jean.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Always fun to find another tea drinker, Angie!

Abigail Rogers said...

Now that sounds like fun! I've only been "out" to tea once before; for my birthday we went to a little tearoom in Siloam Springs, AR (I blogged about the awesome experience here: http://www.picturebritain.com/2011/04/english-tea-room-siloam-springs.html). Unfortunately, that darling place is now closed. I'll have to find another place to get my tea fix!

I can't wait to see a photo of you in your fascinator, Jean! I might need one of those someday....

-Abigail
www.PictureBritain.com

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Abigail. It's sad when you find a nice tea room, then it closes. But it seems a lot of them don't make it over the long haul.

Tea in England said...

Loved reading this review Jean. Do you have any pictures of the tea food? Am curious about the pink icing!!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Denise. Yes, I took several photos of the food; but I wasn't entirely happy with them so did not post them. The icing was a thin icing rather the color of bubblegum. I usually make my scones unglazed, but if I do glaze them it's just with an egg wash before baking. No icing for me, please!

Sippity Sup said...

Looks delightful, though not exactly my 'cup of tea'

HA! I'm so clever... GREG

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Yes, Greg, you *are* clever! When I give afternoon tea parties, I always have another little "sippity" on the menu for those who might prefer to drink something more spirited, you might say.

Heidi said...

The decor is lovely! Elegant, but not stuffy and even cozy and comfortable still. So glad I found you! Will follow and live vicariously through your tearoom visits for sure!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thank you so much, Heidi! I enjoy reading about a good afternoon tea almost as much as I enjoy being there - almost!

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