Category Archives: Party Ideas

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge christening followed by tea and cake

family photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.  Photo: Mario Testino.  Source: Kensington Palace Twitter feed.

family photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Photo: Mario Testino. Source: Kensington Palace Twitter feed.

The christening photos of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge are out, and they are adorable mementos of a happy day of tradition and faith, followed, appropriately, by a tea reception. The little princess was christened on Sunday, July 5th, and officially named Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, at St. Mary Magdalene Church at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where the baby’s parents, William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have their family residence, Anmer Hall.  While the path through the estate’s woodland to the church from Anmer Hall was lined with well-wishers, inside the church only family was allowed, including Charlotte’s great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, her grandparents Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Mr. and Mrs. Middleton, her aunt and uncle, Pippa and James Middleton, and her five godparents and their spouses.  Her uncle Prince Harry was in Africa and unable to attend.

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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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Mother’s Day history and tea tips.

 

Mother's Day post card, 1916, Northern Pacific Railway.  Wikimedia Commons

Mother’s Day post card, 1916, Northern Pacific Railway. Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that 2014 is the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, as we know it, in the U.S.? Julia Ward Howe, an American poet who also wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the beginning of the Civil War, became so appalled by the violence and destruction that she became a pacifist and called, in 1870, for all mothers to band together in peace, to stop their sons and husbands from being sent to war. Her effort temporarily (until about 1880) resulted in June 2nd being set aside for local celebrations of American mothers, and of peace.

When Howe died, although most Mother’s Day celebrations ended, a group of women in West Virginia adapted the holiday as a Mother’s Friendship Day, to re-unite those who had been driven apart by wartime politics. In 1908, Anna Jarvis, the daughter of the Mother’s Friendship Day committee leader, petitioned her mother’s church — St. Andrews Methodist Church — to establish the 2nd Sunday in May as an official, annual celebration, in honor of her mother; the church assented, presenting each mother with white carnations, Jarvis’ mother’s favorite flower, for the special service. A church in Philadelphia, where Jarvis herself was living, also adopted the holiday. The same year, the YMCA started petitioning the U.S. government to make Mother’s Day a national holiday, working with Jarvis to influence senators and other government officials. Jarvis trademarked the phrase “Mother’s Day” in 1912, to indicate that the purpose of the holiday was “for each family to honor its mother, not … all mothers of the world.” In 1912 West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day as an official holiday, and President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday in May of 1914.
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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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Fifth Annual Cat Rescue Tea another success!

"Downton Tabby" place setting

“Downton Tabby” place setting.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The 5th annual Cat Rescue Tea fundraiser for the 13th Street Cats nonprofit, dubbed the “Downton Tabby” Tea, returned to a historic Victorian home in San Jose’s Hensley District over Tax weekend. Both days sold out well in advance, with 44 guests the first day and 42 the second day for afternoon tea. New for 2013 was the “V.I.P. Table” – the best seats in the house at a cozy table for two in the velvet-curtained bay window, and the “Champagne Upgrade” available to all guests, which added 2 glasses of good-quality champagne for an extra charge – a very popular novelty with the guests. Satori Tea Company’s Earl Grey Creme blend and a spiced rooibos blend called The Cat’s Pajamas from Thompson Tea Company were donated and paired really well with the food. This year’s menu was also completely homemade; even the gourmet packaged cake and cookies from previous years were replaced with homemade treats:

Fig, bacon and cream cheese tea sandwich
The Kittens’ Favorite egg salad tea sandwich
Pear, bleu cheese and walnut tea sandwich
Cucumber and herbed cream cheese tea sandwich
Goat cheese and sun-dried tomato tea sandwich
Curried chicken salad tea sandwich
Olive tapenade on a cracker
Currant scone with orange zest
Meyer lemon curd
Butter
Spiced plum, summer strawberry, and apricot jam
Fresh grapes
Nut cup
Chocolate-dipped almond shortbread cookie
Chocolate fudge

The coveted V.I.P. table.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The coveted V.I.P. table. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Instead of ordering from the menu as is done at a tea shop, each guest received a plate with all of the above – except for vegetarians and people with nut allergies, who were served a variation of the standard plate — as well as bottomless pots of tea, and two tea favors. Homemade cat paw-shaped chocolate lollipops, and “Cat Whiskers”, a blooming tea from Thompson Tea Company, were the tea favors. Everyone seemed to have a great time, as well as enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Victorian house where the event was located, and the raffle and silent auction items. While the date is not set for next year’s event, and tickets will go on sale in early 2014, the next Cat Rescue Tea will be located at an even bigger restored Victorian mansion on North 3rd Street! Mark your calendars and buy your tickets soon after they go on sale next year, if you want to attend!

Copyright 2013, 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, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
13th St. Cat Rescue
Cat Rescue Tea event webpage page
13th Street Cat Rescue Facebook page
Thompson Tea Company, Ltd.
Satori Tea Company
“Tea party for a cause”
“San Jose’s Cat Rescue tea party: a fundraiser you can put on for your favorite non-profit!”
“San Jose’s Cat Rescue Tea raises over $4,000 for local nonprofit!”
“13th Street Cats wraps up another afternoon tea fundraiser in downtown San Jose”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“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”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Are tea-drinkers automatically ‘teatotallers’?”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Review: Twinings Earl Grey tea”

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Have a Valentine’s Day tea for two

"I'm all 'steamed' up over you my Valentine -- you suit me to a 'TEA'!"  Image: Denise LeCroy/Tea in England

“I’m all ‘steamed’ up over you my Valentine — you suit me to a ‘TEA’!” Image: Denise LeCroy/Tea in England

Tea shares a few qualities with some popular aphrodisiacs, like chocolate: it’s got antioxidants that are good for you! It’s not too late to put together a romantic tea-for-two for your sweetheart. You can do a high tea instead of going out to an expensive and crowded restaurant for dinner, or have tea and sweets for dessert afterwards. Pull your nicest things out of the tea party pantry, cozy up with a pot of tea, and you’ll be well on your way to a private little tea party.

First, choose a tea: both Satori Tea Bar and Lisa’s Tea Treasures sell rose-scented and other floral loose tea blends that would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day tea. Or, you can get some rose water or orange-flower water from the Middle Eastern food section of many local grocery stores, and add a teaspoon of that to your favorite black tea.  Next, put together some treats.  You can stir some chopped chocolate and dried cherries into your favorite scone recipe, or go to Nob Hill in Milpitas, or other higher-end grocery store and get a packaged scone mix, refrigerated pre-made scone dough, or even (at Bay Area Whole Foods stores), pre-made scones, as well as some cherry or raspberry jam to accompany them. Savories that include red foods, like roasted red peppers, are both tasty and festive. Chocolates, red velvet cupcakes (you can even buy red velvet cake mix in local grocery stores these days) and any other luxurious desserts are also welcome additions. Try making your own truffles, and infusing some chai spices in the cream, for a tasty twist!

Copyright 2013, 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:
“Surprise your loved one with tea and romance”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“How to use edible flowers for tisanes”
“Review: Vital Tea Leaf Angel green tea and Siberian Rose tisane”
“Tea-table recipe: rose-petal jam desserts”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“Aztec chocolate bread pudding to eat with tea”
“Making the most of a cup of restaurant tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
“Review: Passion blend from SerendipiTea”
“Shrewsbury Cakes: a Regency recipe to eat with tea in San Jose”
“Practice good manners in San Jose at the tea table”
“6 points of proper tea etiquette for San Jose”
“Review: Original English Tea Scones from Sconehenge Bakery”
Homemade truffles for Valentine’s Day

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Tea savories are at home on the Super Bowl buffet table

Gingerbread football cookies.  Image: MorgueFile.com

Gingerbread football cookies. Image: MorgueFile.com

All of San Jose is excited for Super Bowl XLVII because local favorites, the San Francisco 49ers, are playing for the championship! While tea-lovers who aren’t also football fans may want to escape to another room, or to another building altogether – such as one of San Jose’s tea shops – when the game starts, there are many tea table savories that are equally suitable for the game day buffet table;  look in your tea party pantry and see what you can use!  Tea-loving football fans can brew up a sturdy black tea like an English Breakfast, or even add tea leaves to their barbecue spice rub, that will pair well with the strongly-flavored foods on the buffet table, and enjoy one of San Jose’s unofficial holidays, “Super Bowl Sunday.”

Show your support for the San Francisco 49ers with red and gold-colored foods, as well as the themed napkins, paper plates and team memorabilia that decorate every fan’s home. For example: make a chicken salad with honey mustard, and serve it in mini red Bell pepper cups. Make grilled cheese and bell pepper finger sandwiches on sourdough bread. Make a fruit salad with lots of bananas, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, or maraschino cherries for color.  Or, try an old California recipe from 1915, invented for the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition. If you have a food processor, it’s a really quick addition, too:

CANAPE A L’EXPOSITION
Fry six thin rounds of bread. Chop three tablespoons of cold chicken or ham and two anchovies, and pound to a paste. Add a tablespoon of thick cream and season with chile powder. Then spread on the toast. Sprinkle with grated cheese and brown in the oven.
— from The Pan-Pacific Cookbook: Savory Bits from the World’s Fare by L.L. McLaren.

In more modern terms the recipe could look like this:

6 slices sandwich bread
1 cup cooked chicken or ham, chopped
2 anchovies, boned
1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus extra
1 teaspoon chile powder
grated cheese, to taste

Toast or pan-fry the bread on both sides until browned and crisp. Use a 1-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut at least 2 rounds from each slice of bread. Set aside. Add chicken and anchovies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until ground to a paste. Add a tablespoon of cream and the chile powder to the meat and process, adding more cream as necessary to make a spreadable, but not runny paste. Spread the meat paste on the toast rounds. Sprinkle with grated cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and browned to your liking. Makes about 6 servings.

This makes a quick, easy, and slightly healthier addition to all those hot wings, jalapeno poppers and chips that will be on your game day buffet table. If you use cheddar cheese, and garnish with paprika or roasted red pepper, it will even be a red-and-gold colored appetizer! Other traditional tea savories like sausage rolls and smoked salmon finger sandwiches would also appeal to the beer-drinkers, and you can make iced tea punches and spritzers with fruit juice and carbonated water for the kids and those who want an alternative to beer. Go ‘9ers!

Copyright 2013, 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:
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“Super Bowl Super Fan: New Orleans Tea cocktail from The Spice and Tea Exchange”
“Super Bowl ‘tea’”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Give an open house with a tea buffet for your favorite graduate”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“Barbecue with tea”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Menu tip: 5 teas for San Jose’s beer fans”
“Use tea in refreshing fruit spritzers”
San Francisco 49ers Menu from Epicurious
Super Bowl recipes from the NFL blog
Easy Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-ups recipe
San Francisco recipes from Allrecipes.com

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Downton Abbey Season 3 comes to the Bay Area

Highclere Castle, the setting for _Downton Abbey_ Series 3. Photo: John James.  Creative Commons 2.0

Highclere Castle, the setting for _Downton Abbey_ Series 3. Photo: John James. Creative Commons 2.0

The BBC’s hit Downton Abbey returns to PBS on January 6, 2013, and will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on Sundays until February 17th. Local tea and history-lovers are planning to make a special event of watching the first episode of Season 3, and today KQED is holding a free preview and tea at their headquarters in San Francisco, which is about 45 minutes northwest of San Jose. *Note: the KQED website has been updated with information about Season 4.*

The KQED website reads: “You’re invited to join KQED and Downton Abbey fans on Saturday, January 5, 2013 for tea and an exclusive sneak preview screening of Season 3, Episode 1. Celebrate the return of the Grantham clan as the English country estate enters a new era post-WWI.”

What: KQED Downton Abbey Season 3 Preview
Where: At the KQED headquarters: 2601 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA
When: Saturday, January 5, 2013, 2pm (2pm Tea, 3pm Screening) – RSVP
Cost: FREE, but Space is limited. RSVP required for you and one guest; R.S.V.P. by visiting their Eventbrite page.

If you miss the KQED event today, next weekend there will be a lecture and tea in Woodside, at the Woodside Library, which is about 35 minutes northwest of San Jose. The library website reads: “Come learn about the world of Downton Abbey! In a fascinating illustrated lecture, DiAnn Ellis covers everything from the real Highclere Castle where the popular PBS series is filmed; to the beautiful Worth gowns; to the real work day of a person in service. Questions and tea and cookies will follow the program.”

What: Downton Abbey Culture event
Where: at the Woodside Library, 3140 Woodside Rd., Redwood City, CA 94062. For more information or to R.S.V.P., call (650) 851-0147
When: Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 1 p.m.
Cost: FREE, but space is limited. Please R.S.V.P.

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