Category Archives: Menus

3 Mother’s Day teas in the San Jose area.

Satori Tea Bar.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Satori Tea Bar. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, and afternoon tea is a wonderful way to spend some time with your mom.  After all, isn’t that what many mothers say they want: a nice time with their children?  Of course, you can take her to the Fairmont for afternoon tea, but that’s fairly spendy.  Several local tea rooms are offering special Mother’s Day menus this year; remember, like all special events at restaurants, advanced reservations are required.

1. Mother’s Day Tea Celebration: Saturday, May 9 at 11:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. seatings; Sunday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. seatings.

Menu:
Plentiful pot of tea
Mini quiche
Assorted tea sandwiches and green salad
Tea fancies: tea cookie, tea hat petit four, citrus tart, and dessert bar
Warm Heritage scone with Devonshire cream and preserves
Toasted crumpet with rum butter

$37 per person (advance reservations required)
Add a blood orange mimosa for an additional $11.

Satori Tea Company’s Tea Atelier
37 N. San Pedro St., San Jose.
(408)292-1502

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All the Single Ladies (and Gentlemen) – enjoy Singles’ Awareness Day with tea!

Lonely Victorian love letter.  Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lonely Victorian love letter. Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s afternoon on Valentine’s Day, and many San Jose residents don’t have any plans!  San Jose-area singles aren’t necessarily in for an evening of depression and loneliness; there are plenty of things to do, that don’t require a partner, and getting together at home with some other single friends – or even just staying in by yourself – for High Tea and television or a movie this evening, can be a perfect way to spend the holiday.  Here are some ideas for things to do this afternoon and evening:

  1. Have tea at a local tea shop (advance reservations required).

A Fairy Tale Tea (through Feb. 28th), for $29.95 per person at Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell: 1875 S. Bascom Avenue #165, Campbell, CA 95008. (408) 371-7377

Tea with Love (through Feb. 28th), for $28.95 per person at Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Los Altos: 167 Main St., Los Altos, CA 94022.  (650) 209-5010.

Be my Valentine Tea (Feb. 14th only), for $35 per person at Satori Tea Bar – 37 San Pedro St., San Jose.

A Victorian Valentine Tea Party (Feb. 14th at 3 p.m.), for $30 per adult/$20 per child, at The English Rose Tea Room — 163 West Neal Street, Pleasanton California 94566, (925) 462-6233.
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Have a Halloween High Tea while greeting trick-or-treaters

A Jolly Halloween.  Image: Halloween Cavern of Clipart.

A Jolly Halloween. Image: Halloween Cavern of Clipart.

Halloween is almost here in San Jose, and the trick-or-treaters will soon be out in force.  Since it also looks like it may be a cool, rainy autumn evening, why not put together some hot tea and treats for yourself – and maybe some friends – as you wait through the night to hand out candy to the local kids?  Unfortunately, homemade goodies can’t be passed out to trick-or-treaters – everything must be individually wrapped and sealed in its original factory wrapping – but there’s no reason why you have to limit yourself to leftovers, microwave popcorn or extra Halloween candy tonight.  A pot of hot tea will hit the spot as the rain falls outside, and you can give yourself a delicious shiver with some spooky treats to go alongside.  Here are some suggestions for your own Halloween High Tea:

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Raise a cup of tea on September 21st for Hobbit Day

A traditional cooked English breakfast, perfect with a cup of tea.  Image: FreeFoto.com

A traditional cooked English breakfast, perfect with a cup of tea. Image: FreeFoto.com

San Jose’s vintage literature fans know that September 21st is Hobbit Day, and many locals like to celebrate it with a cup of tea and an appropriate mid-day snack.  The official Hobbit Second Breakfast website extends this invitation: “You are cordially invited to take part in a global celebration of the 76th anniversary of The Hobbit. Wherever you are in the world, join us at 11am on 21 September to take a few minutes out to enjoy a Second Breakfast with friends and family.”  Why not enjoy this whimsical idea you’re your own Second Breakfast, Elevenses, or Afternoon Tea?

Hobbits are known, in Middle Earth, for their healthy appetites, and their love of comforting, traditional country dishes, accompanied by glasses or mugs of ale or beer and cups of hot tea.  Meat pies, roasted meat, garden vegetables and bread puddings, as well as fruit, scones, clotted cream, jam, cakes, tarts, and biscuits, all make their appearance in the Shire.  The Hobbit Second Breakfast website even includes recipes for Hobbit Scones and Seed Cake if you want to make your own, although nice scones can be purchased ready-made from the bakery booths at local farmers’ markets and even in some grocery stores.  Check Nob Hill, Zanotto’s, and Fresh & Easy stores in the San Jose area, as well as the British food supply stores in the Bay Area for Hobbit-friendly treats.  Of course, be sure to check your tea party pantry, too! Combine the food with a pot of English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, or other hearty black tea, pick up a good book on Saturday morning or afternoon, and celebrate in Middle Earth style!  Continue reading

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Have a tea brunch while you watch the 2013 Rose Parade!

festive cup of tea.  Image: MorgueFile.com

festive cup of tea. Image: MorgueFile.com

The Tournament of Roses, or as it’s known locally, the Rose Parade or the Rose Bowl Parade, begins at 8 a.m. on January 1st and will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision. It is a New Year’s Day tradition in California to watch the event in your pajamas with a hot drink and a plate of food.  Why not extend your New Year celebrations with a brunch while you watch the Rose Parade? Include any leftover champagne, and check your tea party pantry for usable items, as well.  Anything tasty and easy will do.

The parade theme for 2013 is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, so whimsical Dr. Seuss-style foods like Green Eggs and Ham can make an appearance at this brunch.  Of course, rose-flavored and rose-scented items would also be appropriate; rose-flavored Turkish Delight can sometimes be found in the Middle Eastern food section of local supermarkets like Nob Hill, and bottles of rose water are on the shelf even in Target’s food section.  Add a teaspoon of rose water to a cup of hot black tea, and you will have a fragrant and delicious treat. If you have any last leftovers from Christmas dinner, or even New Year’s Eve party appetizers, pull them out and put them on the table, or make them into a new treat for your brunch buffet. Then settle down and watch San Jose’s Valley Christian HS East-West  Fusion All-Star Band, who will be marching in the parade, and Stanford University, who will be playing the University of Wisconsin later that day.  Happy New Year!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea  or Pinterest!

For more information:
2013 Rose Parade website
Tournament of Roses Wikipedia page
“Tea can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve” 
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea” 
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea” 
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Give an open house with a tea buffet for your favorite graduate”
“Are tea-drinkers automatically ‘teatotallers’?”
“Tea and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park”
“Review: Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea” 

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Have a Christmas tea brunch!

image by healingdream.  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image by healingdream. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas morning in San Jose has dawned, and it’s rainy! Everybody, stay inside and enjoy a cozy Christmas morning brunch. Pull things out of your tea party pantry if you have to, but keep it as easy as possible so you can focus on enjoying your family and friends today. Keep the kettle on so you’ll have plenty of hot water for tea and hot chocolate, and let people stay in their pajamas and help themselves. Here are some menu suggestions:

Cranberry-orange tea
Orange spice tea
Pumpkin spice tea
Masala chai 
“Semi-homemade” chai

Cinnamon-raisin bread pudding
Spicy chocolate bread pudding

Turkey tea sandwiches

Add a pile of buttered toast, pull all of your jam out of the pantry and fridge, fill a casserole dish with scrambled eggs, heap a platter with bacon, maybe make a huge stack of pancakes, and you’ll be set for a great Christmas brunch for the next few hours. You can repeat your Christmas brunch whenever you want until the New Year (it’s a great way to use up leftovers from Christmas dinner) and it will still be in season! Remember, the “12 Days of Christmas” begin after Christmas Day.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Give an open house with a tea buffet”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Gift ideas for the San Jose tea-lover”
“5 gifts you can make with tea”
“Tea and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park”
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
“5 tea gifts to make for Christmas”
“Christmas gifts for the tea drinker”

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Filed under Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tea

Tea, London-style, with the 2012 Summer Olympics

The unofficial English Food Pyramid. Photo: HTBEL Copyright pending.

Tonight is the night: San Jose will be watching the Olympics opening ceremonies which will begin late this evening on NBC! “Olympic Fever” has hit San Jose, beginning with the competitions that decided the U.S. Olympics Gymnastics teams, which were held right here in town. Local fans of the movie “Brave” will be interested to know that the Olympic competitions will begin with archery, among other sports, tomorrow from 4 to 9 a.m. on NBC. The competitions will run through the rest of the week.

What to do while watching? Why not get in the spirit and put together some of the foods that the Olympians will be eating in London? Traditional English food, like fish & chips, is a given, but remember that the British love their tea and scones, too, so an English afternoon tea is a perfect treat to enjoy while watching your favorite sports competitions. You can also add Anglo-Indian favorites like curry and chai to the menu, but be sure to enjoy your food with some tea, for the real British experience. Iced tea or an iced tea spritzer will be a refreshing addition to the menu, although the British prefer hot tea. Here are some treats to consider adding to your Olympic spread:

Fish and chips
Mini yorkshire puddings and roast beef
Scotch eggs
Sausage rolls
Cucumber sandwiches
Egg salad sandwiches

Scones
Crumpets
Tea biscuits

Strawberry jam
Clotted Cream

Guiness Malt Cake
Eccles Cakes
Empire Biscuits
Shortbread 
Cadbury chocolates

Nob Hill in Milpitas and Cost Plus World Market in San Jose carry some British foods like clotted cream and Cadbury’s chocolates, and Trader Joe’s has crumpets, but unless you go into San Francisco, or order online, most of the rest of the British menu items will need to be made at home. The British Food Centre in Campbell has gone out of business, and that was the best South Bay source for British food. Luckily, the San Jose Mercury News has recently published a selection of British recipes that local foodies and Olympics fans can use!

You can watch from home or catch the goings-on at one of the local British pubs, along with an English brew and pub grub. Whatever you do, get ready to enjoy the skill and dedication of the competing athletes, and cheer on Team USA!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
Official London 2012 Olympics website
London 2012 Festival official website
2012 Summer Olympics Wikipedia entry
USA Gymnastics Trials in San Jose, CA
“San Jose judoka makes Olympic debut in London”
“British food for Olympics watching”
London 2012 Olympics
“Red, White & Blues 2012 – Summer Olympics in London, Live Telecast”
“Use tea in refreshing fruit spritzers this summer”
“San Jose’s British population celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with tea”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding viewing party!”
“Bring a tea picnic to the Bay Area-local Mostly British Film Festival”
“Escape the rain in San Jose with a Cornish cream tea and Pirates of Penzance!”
“Curl up with a cup of tea: Downton Abbey season 2 comes to San Jose”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“British food: a guide for confused American”
“Shop the International Food Bazaar for an inexpensive trip around the world”
“From menus to meals: a glimpse of food at the Olympics”
British Food Depot
British Delights
“Olympic pub fare”

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Memorial Day in San Jose is better with tea.

view of Golden Gate National Cemetery on Memorial Day, 2011. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

San Jose-area residents are largely unaware of California’s individual contribution to the Civil War, World War 2, and think of Memorial Day as simply the kick-off to summer funMemorial Day was introduced in the 1870s to honor all those who were lost in the Civil War, and to help re-unite the nation by honoring both Union and Confederate soldiers.  It has since been expanded into a holiday for honoring all U.S. soldiers, dead or alive.  While the main conflicts of the Civil War occurred far away from San Jose, California did see local skirmishes between Union and Confederate sympathizers.  The Union received large donations of California gold, which greatly supported the war effort.  California’s brand-new state legislature also sent multiple companies of men to serve in the Union army; most ended up replacing more experienced soldiers stationed at army forts in the Northwest and Southwest, but a few companies saw action on the front lines by joining up with the Pennsylvania and other Northern states’ militias.  San Jose’s Oak Hill cemetery has its own collection of local Civil War heroes, but since all veterans are honored on Memorial Day, all local cemeteries will be decorated with American flags for the holiday.

Since tea parties are perfect settings for conversation, reminiscing, and honoring tradition, why not get together with family and friends on Sunday or Monday to remember and honor any veterans you know?  Add tea to your barbecue at home or at a local park or public garden.  Iced tea is a great addition to the traditional Memorial Day – the beginning of a long season of outdoor cooking and entertaining in the Santa Clara Valley – but hot tea might be just as welcome during this windy and cool holiday! Black tea pairs well with many traditional summer foods, like barbecued meat and grilled vegetables.  Don’t forget the green tea ice cream and the iced chai!  American beer fans can enjoy tea, as they do in the U.K.

There are lots of other things to celebrate and enjoy on Memorial Day weekend in San Jose, as well.  Bring a Steampunk tea picnic to San Jose’s Doubletree Hotel for the Clockwork Academy conference that runs through Monday.  Visit Roaring Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains for their annual Civil War reenactment.  When we celebrate Memorial Day, we tell our brave veterans that their sacrifice is valuable and appreciated.  Pull out some things from your tea party pantry and put together a picnic or barbecue to thank them all for our freedom!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea

For more information:
“Have a 1940s style tea party”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Celebrate the Fourth of July with a tea party picnic!”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Barbecue with tea for Labor Day”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“Bring a ‘steampunk’ tea to Santa Clara’s Steampunk Exhibition”
“Memorial Day in San Jose calls for iced tea”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“5 teas for San Jose’s beer fans”

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Treat Mom to a tea brunch at home next weekend

FreeDigitalPhotos.com

So many of us are beginning to think “what should I do for my mom on Mother’s Day?” Flowers are always nice, and chocolates are, too, but if you did that last year, how about something a little different this year? And seriously, does your mom really want another bottle of perfume or shower gel?

If you live nearby, or can travel to see her, why not prepare a tea brunch for your mom – or aunt, grandma, or other women who’ve nurtured you – and use your money more efficiently, while giving her a priceless gift: your time and effort. Get some nice flowers for the table, make her a pot of tea, and keep the whole thing simple, so that you can sit down with her and help her enjoy the day. Set the table with a tablecloth, cloth napkins, china, family heirlooms, if you have them – many mothers don’t bother to get them out for themselves – and have everything ready so that all she has to do is sit down and relax.

Don’t know what food to make? Many brunch foods go really well with black tea. Savory casseroles and sweet bread puddings can be assembled ahead of time, covered and put in the fridge, and baked in the morning, saving holiday time. Here are some recipe suggestions for your own Mother’s Day tea brunch:

Masala Chai
Plain Scones
Savory Black Olive Scones
Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sandwiches
Meyer Lemon Curd
Apricot Oolong Compote
Cinnamon-Raisin and Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
Aztec Chocolate Bread Pudding
Rosewater Sugar Cookies
Rose-petal Jam Tartlets
Pound Cake with Caraway Seeds

Fresh fruit, scones, jam and butter are wonderful additions, but you can also purchase your favorite brand of English muffins or crumpets for toasting, instead of making scones if that’s too intimidating. Your tea party pantry contents also come in handy for these special occasions. Local supermarkets have a good variety of items, and the San Pedro Square Friday Farmer’s Market has just re-opened for the season, adding another source of the best produce, fresh bread, and other treats, to the Sunday market in Japantown and various other farmer’s markets. Make a pot of loose-leaf tea, set the table nicely, make sure you do all the clean-up, and you will see how surprisingly rewarding it is to give a tea brunch at home in San Jose!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Tea 101: how to have a tea party for children”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
A Mother’s Day Tea

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Filed under Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tea, Tips

Visit Cornwall in San Jose with a Cornish cream tea!

Cornish cream tea. GNU Free Documentation.

Visit Victorian England with a Cornish cream tea at Satori Tea Bar, and Lyric Theatre of San Jose’s Pirates of Penzance, which opened March 24 at the Montgomery Theatre! The town of Penzance, in the southwest corner of England, is known for its harbor, seafaring and mining history, and its mild coastal climate. In 1879, when Gilbert and Sullivan wrote Pirates of Penzance, a comedic operetta, the town was a peaceful beach resort, and the idea of buccaneers attacking was amusing. Located in Cornwall, the town is also associated with the Cornish Cream Tea, a particular style of afternoon tea. A Cornish cream tea includes a scone or Cornish split, with clotted cream, strawberry jam, and a pot of black tea. According to the BBC,

“A good cream tea will include two healthy-sized scones, which should be split horizontally before applying the jam and cream. … The jam should be applied to the scone in ‘dollops’ (ie, large spoonfuls). … It is essential that the cream in a cream tea is clotted cream. … As with the jam, cream should be piled high on the scone, bearing in mind only that which can comfortably fit into one’s mouth.”

People in Cornwall and Devon are very particular about they way a cream tea should be; not only is there dispute about whether or not to have a scone or a split with the cream and jam, but there is also passionate disagreement over how apply the cream and jam to the scone or split. Traditionally, there are two styles of eating a scone covered in jam and cream: the Cornish, which involves putting the jam on before the cream, and the Devonian, which is the opposite, spreading the cream on the half scone and then topping it with the jam. The Devon method has the benefit of softening the dry scone with cream before nestling a dollop of red jam on top, and the Cornish method keeps the jam from sliding off the cream by “sandwiching” it between between the scone and cream. In San Jose, either method is equally correct and equally delicious.

Lyric Theatre's _Pirates of Penzance_ logo.

Traditional Cornish foods include the Cornish pasty (beef and vegetable pie), Cornish splits (sweet yeast roll), scones, saffron cakes, Welsh cakes, Cornish fairings (like ginger snaps), and clotted cream, which San Jose tea-lovers can add to their tea table. Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square offers a Cornish cream tea, and an a la carte menu, that contains several of these items for you to enjoy before you see the show. The Montgomery Theatre is on Market St. near the San Jose Civic Center; the show runs Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 1st, and Thursday and Friday of next week at 8 p.m. Tickets run around $30 for general admission, and $12 for youth. So whether you adhere to the Devonian or the Cornish method of eating your scone, why not put together your own cream tea and then see the Pirates of Penzance at the Montgomery? A Cornish Cream Tea will add a lot of luxury and enjoyment to your evening, for a modest price.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Cornish Cream Tea” from the Cornwall by Cornishlight website
“The Cornish Cream Tea” from The Cornwall Guide
“Vital information” from the Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream website
“101 uses and excuses for Cornish Clotted Cream” from the Rodda’s website
“How do you take your cream tea?”
“Cream Tea” article from the BBC
“Penzance” article from Wikipedia
“It’s scone wrong” from the Word of Mouth blog
“Proper Cornish Scones” Recipe from the Rodda’s website
“Cornish Splits” recipe from AllRecipes
“Easy Clotted Cream” recipe from AllRecipes
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Review: Buccaneer blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Tea plays a major role in Lyric Theatre of San Jose’s The Sorcerer
“San Jose’s British population celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with tea”
Lyric Theatre of San Jose web page
Lyric Theatre Pirates of Penzance performance page
Lyric Theatre Pirates of Penzance event page on Facebook
Lyric Theatre Pirates of Penzance ticket page

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