Tag Archives: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe

Last chance this weekend for tea at the Dickens Fair!

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in Daly City closes this weekend, and tea at Dickens is still as popular as ever!  The Dickens Fair runs weekends only, between the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Sunday before Christmas; it’s open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday, December 21).  General Admission is $30 at the gate, but you can get disounted tickets if you know one of the workers or performers. Take a look at these other articles for more information about having tea at the Dickens Fair:

“How to have afternoon tea at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco”
“Review: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair”
“Take tea with Charles Dickens for two more weekends at the Dickens Fair”

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Raise your teacup to Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday.

The Coventry Carolers at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe.

The Coventry Carolers at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe.

The popular Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Holiday Party, which opened the weekend before Thanksgiving this year, is in extra celebratory mode, remembering the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.  Born February 7, 1813, Dickens created some of the most iconic stories and characters known to Western literature, which are brought to life at the Dickens Fair in Daly City at the Cow Palace.  Actor Robert Young portrays the author every year and conducts readings of his works throughout the six weekends that the Fair is open. The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December 22nd.

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Christmas teas in the South Bay

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Looking for holiday activities in the San Jose area? The Christmas season is one of the most popular times of the year for special tea parties. Almost every tea shop in the Santa Clara Valley offers a special seasonal menu, and various museums and historic houses also schedule tea events. Enjoy a holiday tea at one or more of the following places:

1. Heritage Holiday Tea and Tours at the Fallon House, Saturday, December 1, 2012. Tickets are $45 and include tours of the Fallon House and validated parking. Seatings are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and tickets can be reserved by sending checks to History San Jose, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose, 95113; by email or by calling Juanita Lara at 408.918.1045.

Thomas and Carmel Fallon House
175 W. St. John St.,
San Jose, CA
(408) 918-1045

From last year’s event: “San Jose’s Fallon House hosts Heritage Holiday Champagne Tea and Tours”

2. Children’s Holiday Tea with Santa at Rosewood Sand Hill, Menlo Park, CA, Saturday, Dec 1 1:30p to 3:30p. “Children can enjoy Holiday Tea with Santa while Santa himself shares holiday stories such as The Nutcracker. As they listen, the kids will sip hot cocoa and tea, and munch on a selection of tea sandwiches and sweets. Champagne will be available for adults. The kids will take home a teddy bear and share their holiday spirit with the children of The Ronald McDonald House in the form of handwritten holiday notes that Rosewood Sand Hill will attach to teddy bears it is donating to the organization.”

Rosewood Sand Hill
2825 Sand Hill Rd.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 561-1500

3. Children’s Sugar Plum Fairy Tea at Lisa’s Tea Treasures at Santana Row in San Jose, Wednesday, December 5th & 12th, 4:00pm – 5:30pm. For $31.95 per person plus tax and tip. “The SUGAR PLUM FAIRY will visit our tearoom to enchant youngsters (ages 5-10). They will be served tea as the SUGAR PLUM FAIRY visits each table, then gather for a magic show, singing, dancing and a Holiday story. Parents may accompany their children if they wish (they will be served the Victorian Noel Tea) or leave them in the capable hands of the tea ladies.” Call 247.3613 for reservations; credit card number required to make a reservation.

Lisa’s Tea Treasures
1145 Olsen Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
ph. (408)247-3613

4. Holiday Candlelight Tea at Lisa’s Tea Treasures at Santana Row.  Thursday, December 6th & 13th, 6:00 p.m.  “A perfect respite for busy shoppers and theater goers. Enjoy a complimentary glass of of champagne, soup, waldorf salad, holiday tea sandwiches, scone, holiday dessert and pot of tea.” $31.95 per person plus tax and gratuity. Please call for reservations: 247-3613.  A credit card number is required to guarantee your reservation.

Lisa’s Tea Treasures
1145 Olsen Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
ph. (408)247-3613

5. Victorian Noel Gala at Lisa’s Tea Treasures at the Pruneyard in Campbell. Friday Dec 7 and 14 at 7:00, 7:15, and 7:30 p.m. Seatings: 7:00, 7:15, 7:30. Featuring “Champagne, candlelight, music and a 5 course dinner (soup, salad, sorbet, entree with side dishes and dessert)” for $44.95 per person.

Lisa’s Tea Treasures
1875 S. Bascom Avenue #165,
Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 371-7377

“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”

6. Farmhouse Christmas Tea Luncheons at Yerba Buena Nursery in Redwood City. Friday, Dec 7 through Sunday December 9, and Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 16, at 12:30 p.m. Price: $50 per person, reservations required. “Join us for a hot luncheon at Yerba Buena Nursery. This three course meal is accompanied by our holiday “Tea of Good Tidings,” served within our 1905 Victorian farmhouse. Reservations are required, guests age 12 and over are welcome.”

Yerba Buena Nursery
19500 Skyline Blvd.
Redwood City, CA 94062
(650) 851-1668

7. Sugar Plum Teas at Lisa’s Tea Treasures at the Pruneyard in Campbell. December 11 & 12, at 4:15 p.m. for $29.95 per person. “Children ages 5 -11 take tea with the proprietress Dale Ann, decorate Christmas cupcakes and enjoy special entertainment by the Holiday Fairy!”

Lisa’s Tea Treasures
1875 S. Bascom Avenue #165,
Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 371-7377

“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location” 

8. Holiday Tea of Good Tidings at Thyme for Tea in Niles.  Saturday, December 15 and Sunday, December 16, 2012; 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. seatings. $38 per person. Menu includes: Cinnamon Rose Holiday Tea or coffee, Cranberry scone with raspberry butter, an assortment of tea sandwiches and savories, a Christmas petit-four, Snowball cookie, Holiday truffle and Charlotte’s fudge.

Tyme for Tea & Co.
37501 Niles Blvd.
Fremont, CA. 94536 (510) 790-0944

9. Afternoon Tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace. Weekends, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Friday after Thanksgiving to the Sunday before Christmas. Be sure to make your reservations in advance to secure a table! Admission to the Dickens Fair is $25 at the door; afternoon tea is around $29 per person.

The Cow Palace Exhibition Halls
2600 Geneva Avenue
Daly City, CA

“How to have afternoon tea at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco” 
“Review: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair”

10. The Spirit of Christmas Teas at Lisa’s Tea Treasures at the Pruneyard in Campbell. November 23 through the end of the year. Includes Victorian Noel Spiced Plum Tea, Scent of Christmas scone with cream and preserves, White Christmas Soup, Delight of the Season spiced sweet potato savory, Visions of Christmas tea sandwiches, and Petite Christmas Log chocolate raspberry Yule log cake for $29.95.

Lisa’s Tea Treasures
1875 S. Bascom Avenue #165,
Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 371-7377

“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”

11. GBACG New York Society Tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, Saturday, December 29, from 1:30 – 4:00pm. Hosted by the Greater Bay Area Costumers’ Guild (GACG); tea served at 2 pm in the Garden Court. “Join the best of New York Society as Mrs. Astor hosts a first class holiday tea at the Palace Hotel. The glowing, golden Garden Court will sparkle with fine china and silver as a delicate parade of tea sandwiches and homemade scones — complete with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and rose petal jam — delight your palate. The Garden Court offers a fine selection of teas, from classic blends to creative, modern infusions. Costumes are required for this event. Please select fashionable attire from 1870 – 1895. Please arrive on time, as tea service will begin promptly at 2 pm. You may want to arrive early to take photos at the Palace. Tickets: Advance tickets are required for this event. The deadline to purchase tickets is Thursday, December 13, 2012. GBACG members $65, Non-members $75, Children $60.

Garden Court, Palace Hotel,
2 New Market St., San Francisco, CA 94105

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:
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Tea and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park”
“Review: Afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge in San Jose’s Fairmont Hotel”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area destinations: Peet’s Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose”
“Review: tea tasting at Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s downtown San Jose store”

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New and improved tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe

English Trifle at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Hurry and get your tickets to the Dickens Fair, because December 17 and 18 is the last weekend!  New for 2011, afternoon tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe has a new format.  Instead of ordering your full tea off the menu when you arrive, as in the past, Afternoon Tea or High Tea at Cuthbert’s is now completely prix-fixe, down to the kind of tea you are served, and they are now only served at certain times of day, with a la carte items available in between.  Reservations are still highly recommended!

High Tea, served late in the afternoon, begins with a small pot of English Breakfast tea on the table waiting for you when you sit down.  Shortly after that, the servers bring each person two 2-inch scones with a small amount of lemon curd, strawberry jam, and whipped cream in individual mini paper cups.  Then, a plate of tea sandwiches with a variety of fillings (4 small sandwiches for each person), and lastly, a small plastic goblet full of English trifle, made with pound cake, strawberries, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.

Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe commemorative teapot. Photo: Virginia Urbach.

I was pleased to discover, when I was at Cuthbert’s for the 2011 season, that even though the staff were serving close to 100 people at one time, the scones were still warm when they reached our table!  They were your standard cream scone, crumbly and slightly sweet, but very nice.  The sandwiches included one or two of each kind of tea sandwich on the main menu, and for my party of two, we had four cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, two smoked salmon, and two egg mayo (egg salad) sandwiches.  Each of these sandwiches was the more usual ¼ of a whole sandwich, instead of the half sandwiches formerly served at Cuthbert’s; it was nice to have a variety of fillings this time, though.  The English trifle was tasty, but I thought the pound cake and vanilla pudding tasted slightly artificial in flavor.  Last, but not least, the tea was bagged instead of loose, and the servers only replenished the pot with hot water throughout the meal, instead of offering fresh tea, so the last pots of tea were considerably weaker than the first.  However, allowances must be made when dealing with non-standard food preparation areas like behind the scenes at Dickens!

Coventry Carolers at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe. Photo: Virginia Urbach.

Also new this year was a little bit of entertainment included with the tea.  The Coventry Carolers were in the tea shop, providing live music as the guests were seated.  After about 15 to 20 minutes, their performance ended, and the food began to be served.  Halfway through tea time, there was a great deal of noise coming from one wall of the shop, where there was a decorative fireplace and mantel.  This noise turned out to be a group of chimney-sweeps, who literally climbed down the “chimney” and through the fireplace, into the tea shop, accompanied by more noise and lots of dust.  Authentically covered in soot and wielding chimney brushes, they spent a few minutes walking around the tea shop handing out “business cards” for their “sweeping service”, Miracle Sweeps of London (“If it’s a clean sweep, it’s a miracle!”), before gathering at the front of the shop to sing a funny song in fake Cockney accents that made the words almost unintelligible. Unexpected guests at tea!

Chimney sweeps at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe. Photo: Virginia Urbach.

Another change from last year was the small teapot included in the $21 price; instead of it being a 3-cup commemorative teapot with the Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe logo on it, they were 3-cup teapots in a solid color, with no commemorative logo.  My guest and I both received solid purple teapots.  Perhaps, with the increased service of the prix-fixe afternoon and high teas, they ran out of the commemorative teapots?  Or, perhaps they decided that a solid-color pot with no logo would be more fitting for year-round use in the customers’ homes.

Cuthbert’s has a new location within the Dickens Fair layout, and has doubled its size with a second dining area called the Solarium.  If you make your reservations for tea online, before you arrive at the Dickens Fair, you are automatically seated in the Solarium; if you make your reservations immediately upon arriving at the Dickens Fair (and they sell out all their seatings very quickly!) you are seated in the main dining area of the shop.  There still seem to be some bugs to work out in their system, as indicated by the fact that we were seated almost 10 minutes later than our reservation, but the crowding was considerably less with the new expanded location, and the organization and staffing seemed to go much more smoothly than in past years.  At any rate, the $21 price was still a reasonable one for the food and entertainment that the customers receive.  It has the Ladies’ Tea Guild and the San Jose Tea Examiner’s “Seal of Approval”!

Copyright 2011, 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:
The 33rd Annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party website
Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe website
“By Dickens, a Victorian Pacifican serves up delectables at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe”
“When the exhibits are people: first-person cultural interpreters at Dickens Christmas Fair.”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park”
“The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco (photos)”
“Victorian costumes at the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco”
“The Great Dickens Christmas Fair launches SF’s holiday season”

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Review: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Dickens Christmas Fair

Commemorative teapot from Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Having afternoon tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Dickens Fair is a popular holiday activity in the Bay Area.  The tables are full of Dickens Fair patrons from the time it opens in the morning until the last tea seating in the late afternoon, and for good reason: having tea at Cuthbert’s is a wonderful way to spend some time at Dickens. The staff, and many customers dress in Victorian costume, and add to the seasonal atmosphere, making the people-watching inside the tea room as much fun as it is outside the tea room.

If you want to have tea seated inside the tea room, you’ll need to make a reservation first thing upon arriving at the Dickens Fair, or make your reservation in advance, online. Otherwise, you can take your chances that they’ll have room for walk-ins, or order your tea and treats a la carte from the take-out window at the back of the shop.

The English afternoon tea in the shop is a fun way to refresh yourself at the Dickens Fair, however. Pots of tea and treats are available a la carte, but the most popular choice is to order the afternoon tea for $21 per person. This includes: a pot of tea (regular, decaf or herbal), scones or crumpets with butter, cream, lemon curd and jam, assorted tea sandwiches (choice between salmon, cucumber, watercress, or egg salad), English trifle, and a commemorative teapot to take home.

The San Jose Tea Examiner met with some members of the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild, the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild and the San Diego Costumer’s Guild, for tea at Cuthbert’s. Several of us ordered tea and sandwiches a la carte, but most of us chose the prix fixe afternoon tea.  The food quality is good, it is tasty and filling; most of it is purchased, but the tea and sandwiches are made on site. The tea is loose-leaf, served in individual teapots, and you get a choice of lemon curd, cream, or jam with your scones or crumpets (you get two small scones or crumpets).  The sandwiches are large; basically they make a whole sandwich with two full slices of bread, cut off the crusts, cut the sandwich in half, and serve you both halves. You get two large tea sandwiches, both with the same filling; I usually order the smoked salmon, but the other fillings are also tasty. Although it’s not listed on the menu, the Rum Cake served at Cuthbert’s is apparently famous for its richness and flavor, and you could probably ask your server to bring you some rum cake instead of English trifle! Your take-home teapot is brought to you with your bill, and it’s a small 2-cup teapot with the Cuthbert’s logo on it. Altogether, the tea is a good value and worth $21.

There is some room for improvement, however. Since Cuthbert’s is so popular, it is always crowded, and the servers often get flustered with all the customers and are not entirely organized. The last time I was there, we had our food order mixed up several times, and we seemed to have three different servers waiting on us. Also, the lemon curd, jam and cream are served in tiny bowls, containing one spoonful to share with everyone in your party, and you have to flag someone down to ask for more. I briefly considered bringing a jar of my homemade Meyer lemon curd to the Dickens Fair with me just to avoid this! Also, the tea leaves are left in the teapot when it’s served to you, so the tea tends to get bitter by the end of your tea time. A tea strainer comes to the table with the teapot, so try to strain and drink your tea quickly! However, these are small quibbles compared to the fun of participating in the whole scene, especially if you have dressed in costume! It is also a wonderful photo opportunity.

To get to the Dickens Fair from San Jose, take 101N, towards San Francisco, and take Exit 426 A/Brisbane. Merge on to Bayshore Highway, and take Bayshore to Daly City. Make a left off of Bayshore and onto Geneva Ave. once you get to Daly City, and follow the signs to 2600 Geneva Ave. Parking is $10 per car.  You can also take BART to the Dickens Fair and use your BART pass for a discount on your entrance ticket!

Copyright 2011, 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:
Dickens Christmas Fair website
Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe website
“By Dickens, a Victorian Pacifican serves up delectables at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe”
Review of Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe on Yelp!
“How to have afternoon tea at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco”
“When the exhibits are people: first-person cultural interpreters at Dickens Christmas Fair.”
“Favorite tea-time recipe from Gourmet magazine: Meyer lemon curd”
“Where can I have an English or European-style afternoon tea in the San Jose area?”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park”
“The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco (photos)”
“Victorian costumes at the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco”
“The Great Dickens Christmas Fair launches SF’s holiday season”
The official Dickens Fair costume guide
Food booths at the Dickens Fair
“Take BART to the Great Dickens Christmas Fair”

 

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