Tag Archives: downtown San Jose

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”

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Events, Party Ideas, Tea, Vendors and Shops

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”

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, History, Holiday, Menus, Tips

May 2012 tea events in the San Jose area

A tea basket is a great Mother’s Day gift! Photo: sideshowmom, MorgueFile.com

Springtime in San Jose is a busy time for afternoon tea lovers! The weather in the month of May is some of the best during the year, with lots of sunny afternoons and cool breezes that carry the scent of the flowers that still bloom in gardens and orchards in the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Perfect weather for drinking tea both indoors and out!  Here are some tea activities that are scheduled for the month of May:

  1. Titanic Survivors’ Reunion Tea and Garden Party, Saturday, May 12 at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. Hosted by the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild.  Food will be provided; tickets cost $30 per person. Titanic-era costumes admired but not required. Gentlemen and well-behaved children welcome. For more information, contact the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild.
  2. 10th Annual Literary Tea, Saturday, May 12, 11:30 p.m. at the Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas. A light lunch will be provided; general admission tickets are $15 per person, or $12 for students and seniors. Historical fiction author C. W. Gortner will be the featured speaker, with harp music by Elizabeth Mier. For more information, contact Larry Voellger at 942-6960.
  3. A Tea Party Just For Mother, Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Lisa’s Tea Treasures, 1145 Olsen Ave., San Jose (at Santana Row).  Special menu is $34.95 and includes a mimosa, choice of Vanilla Floral or Butter Truffle tea, Strawberry Almond Salad, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cucumber Mint tea sandwiches, scone with cream and jam, and Lemon Cream Cake.
  4. Mother’s Day Champagne Tea, Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Lisa’s Tea Treasures, 1875 S. Bascom Ave. #165, Campbell.  Special menu is $34.95 per person and includes a mimosa, orange juice or sparkling lemonade; choice of Earl Grey Floral, Champagne Raspberry or Boysenberry decaf teas; a Caesar salad and scone with cream and jam; apricot, pistachio and gorgonzola, cucumber mint and artichoke heart parmesan tea sandwiches; a choice of Four Cheese Basil Crepes or Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Bacon Torte; and a choice of Chocolate Violet Mousse Cake or Mixed Berry Cream Tart.
  5. Mother & Me Champagne Tea, Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Tyme for Tea & Co., 37501 Niles Blvd., Fremont. 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. seatings, reservations required. Cost is $32 (ages 9 and above), and $26 per child age 8 and under. Call (510) 790 – 0944 for more information.
  6. 2012 Home Tour and Backyard Tea, Sunday, May 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Historic Peter E. Col House, 1163 Martin Avenue, San Jose. Presented by Hanchett Park Heritage Project, the event will feature a tour of the home and a backyard tea. No children under age 12. Admission (online) through May 11 is $20 per person (+ online service fees); from May 12-May 18, admission is $25 per person (+ online service fees). Check in at the event; no tickets required.
  7. “Time for Tea” Exhibit, Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 4 p.m., through July 1, 2012 at the Ainsley House and Gardens, 300 Grant St., Campbell. Afternoon tea in the Carriage House is available before each tour; tea and museum admission is $25 per person, and reservations are required. Call Karen Lange at (408) 866 – 2758 to make a reservation or for more information. Museum admission (without afternoon tea) is $6 (adults), $4 (seniors), and $2.50 (youth ages 7 to 17).

Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square also has a seasonal tea menu, but you’ll have to go down to the shop to see what’s on it, because the individual items aren’t listed on the website.  Of course, you could put together your own spring tea at home or at a park or garden in San Jose, with treats from your tea party pantry, perhaps a tea cocktail, chocolate, and other goodies.

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:
“5 Mother’s Day tea events in San Jose”
“Another tea cocktail for the horse-racing fans!”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Birthday gift ideas for the San Jose tea lover”
“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“5 gifts you can make with tea”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Cinco de Mayo in San Jose is a good time for tea.”
“It’s Derby Day: why not have a Derby Day tea while you watch the race?”
“Mother’s Day Tea Party Ideas” from Country Living magazine

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Holiday, Tea, Vendors and Shops

Review: Tea-tasting at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in San Jose

Peet's Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Although better known for their coffee, as a major competitor to Starbuck’s, Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a good source for loose tea and good-quality bagged tea in San Jose. The California-based company offers free tea and coffee tastings, both pre-scheduled ones and for walk-ins, in their Bay Area stores. That’s right, you can walk in to a Peet’s Coffee & Tea store in the San Jose area, and ask them to set up a tea tasting for you right then and there!

The South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild went to the Peet’s store in downtown San Jose on Santa Clara St. recently for one of their tea tastings, and were very pleased with the experience. Peet’s staff prepared seven teas and tisanes for tasting, all from their organic tea collection:

  • Gunpowder, a rolled Chinese green tea which was savory and slightly smoky in flavor and aroma. Peet’s describes its flavor as “bittersweet and slightly smoky character”.
  • Jade Mist, a Chinese green tea that was fresh-tasting and savory. Peet’s describes it as “fresh, bright taste with a mildly brisk flavor … with aromatic hints of green peas and kale, leaving a crisp aftertaste.”
  • Ancient Trees, a pu-erh from Yunnan in China, that was earthy and mildly smoky. Some of the tea tasters thought the first infusions were too strongly “dirty” but the later infusions were milder and more enjoyable. The staff member who led the tea tasting said this was one of Peet’s most popular teas. The website describes it as “rich, earthy, nutty and densely flavorful, as thick and dark as coffee, yet exceptionally smooth.”
  • Darjeeling Fancy, an Indian black tea with a mild astringency, smooth aftertaste and surprisingly rose-like aroma. The website says it is a second flush Darjeeling and has a “sweet, floral aroma, and a pungent taste.” Although I don’t tend to like Darjeeling teas – I find them too bitter – I am happy to say that I liked this one; that may be due to the milder tannins in second-flush Darjeeling teas. I did notice that it became much more bitter than astringent after 5 minutes of steeping.
  • Buddha Peak Ceylon, a Sri Lankan black tea that had a slight lemony aroma. The website says it has “bright malty flavor and brisk tanginess.”
  • Pure Peppermint, a tisane that was strongly minty and refreshing. The website reveals that it is Oregon peppermint, which “has an intensely minty quality.”
  • Red Rooibos, a South African herbal tisane that featured the tart, almost citrusy herbal flavor characteristic of rooibos. The website describes its scent as “saffron-vanilla”, with a rich “faintly malty” flavor.

Peet’s has a Tea Wheel with information about all of the teas they sell, but the staffer who conducted the tea tasting was

Peet's tea tasting set-up. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

very knowledgeable as well. He was careful to heat the water to the proper temperature, used a timer to infuse each tea for the proper amount of time, and provided cups of plain water so we could cleanse our palates. The attention to detail also included separate tasting cups for each type of tea, so that the fragrance and flavor of one tea would not influence the next. While the company seems to spend more on promoting their coffee, it’s good to know that they take good care with their tea as well! There are over 10 Peet’s locations in San Jose alone, along with two in Milpitas, two in Santa Clara, and more stores throughout the Bay Area.  Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a good tea-tasting destination in the San Jose area.

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:
Peet’s Coffee & Tea company website
“The Perfect Cup: Tasting Tea” from the Peet’s website
“Tea Tasting Terms”
Peet’s Coffee & Tea article on Wikipedia
“Peet’s Tea Assam Golden Tip (review)” on Lainie Sips
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea” 
“Tea 101: what is pu-erh tea?”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area day trips: San Francisco’s Chinatown”
“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 are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Product Reviews, Tea Tasting, Tips, Vendors and Shops

Keep warm with tea during the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships!

HP Pavilion. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation license.

San Jose skating fans, keep warm with hot tea and snacks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships this weekend! San Jose has the honor of hosting the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the country’s most important figure skating event, at the HP Pavilion – also known as the Shark Tank — this week and weekend! Tickets are still available, so why not try and see the new set of possible Olympians compete in person? Local Olympic skaters Peggy Fleming and Brian Boitano will be present.

Knowing that the Pavilion will be kept at a low temperature during the competition, San Jose skating fans should prepare with warm clothing, a travel mug of hot tea, and maybe some snacks from the tea party pantry, for the experience of watching this exciting event live.  According to the HP Pavilion policies, audience members are allowed to bring a small amount of food and drink into the arena for their personal consumption, although large coolers or other large insulated containers are not allowed.  A nice black tea would provide enough strong flavor and caffeine to contribute to the excitement of the event.

The competitions have already begun, but the most anticipated events, the ice dancing free skate and the ladies’ free skate, will occur at noon and 4 p.m. respectively, on Saturday, January 28. The men’s free skate, pairs long skate and the closing ceremonies will be held on Sunday, January 29.

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:
Skate San Jose 2012 website
HP Pavilion web site
HP Pavilion ticket web site
US Figure Skating Championships tickets on Ticketmaster
“U.S. Figure Skating Championships take place this week in San Jose”
“San Jose prepare for figure skating championship”
“Surprise! Zawadzki steals show, wins short program”
“Current ice dancing world champs Meryl Davis and Charlie White don’t disappoint at U.S. Figure Skating Championships”
“Figure skating legend Peggy Fleming thrilled to see U.S. championships back in San Jose”
“Another tea cocktail for the horse-racing fans!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea” 
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Meteor-watching in San Jose? Keep warm with tea and snacks”
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Tea, Tips