Tag Archives: holiday

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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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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How to make rose-scented treats for tea

Old-fashioned fragrant rose, perfect for making rose water.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Old-fashioned fragrant rose, perfect for making rose water. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Now that we’re into the warmer spring weather here in San Jose, local rose bushes are blooming and scenting the air with their fragrance. Roses not only smell wonderful, but are edible, when grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If you have access to food-grade fresh or dried roses, you can use them for both culinary and medicinal purposes — they are soothing and moisturizing — and some rose recipes are good additions to the tea party pantry! Some of the most useful rose-scented treats include rose water and rose jelly.

Rose water can be added, a spoonful at a time, to a cup of hot tea or a glass of iced tea, for flavor and aroma, and can be used, with granulated sugar, to make a rose-scented sugar or rose syrup for flavoring iced tea or cocktails, or with powdered sugar, to make icing for tea cakes, cookies and sweet scones. Local grocery stores carry rose water in the Middle Eastern food aisle, and this has been distilled so that it is shelf-stable. Continue reading

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

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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Filed under Events, Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Uncategorized

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

Cranberry-orange tea for your holiday table

Fresh cranberries. Photo: FreeDigialPhotos.net

San Jose’s holiday season has begun, and everyone is thinking about tasty holiday treats, as well as having a relaxing Thanksgiving. Fruit and warming spices can not only be added to wine and apple cider, they can be easily added to a pot of tea as well, and make a wonderful variation. Especially if you’re watching your sugar and calorie intake, homemade flavored teas make a delicious alternative to higher calorie treats like egg nog and cocktails, and they are a holiday indulgence available to everyone. Try adding cranberry and orange to your next pot of tea!

Homemade cranberry orange tea
1 ½ tablespoons loose-leaf black tea or 4 to 5 good-quality tea bags
½ cup dried cranberries
1 fresh orange
4 teaspoons jellied cranberry sauce (no berries)

Wash and slice the fresh orange in half and then into 1/8 inch thick slices. Cut the dried cranberries in half. Place about a tablespoon of dried cranberries and 4 orange slices into a warmed, 4-cup teapot. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of loose tea, or 4 to 5 good-quality teabags, and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 5 or 6 minutes. Place a teaspoon of cranberry jelly and a quarter of an orange slice in each cup. Strain the hot tea into the cups and enjoy. Makes 4 cups of cranberry orange tea.

Adults and children, and those who are avoiding alcohol and other high-calorie treats, as well as those who can indulge, will all enjoy a nice hot cup of flavorful tea with their holiday meal. Serve your homemade cranberry-orange tea over ice and add some lemon-flavored carbonated water, to create a festive punch that will be as welcome in front of the football game on T.V. as it will at the dinner table!  Experiment with other traditional holiday ingredients to create your own homemade tea blends, such as orange spice, apple spice and pumpkin spice.  Your family might like it so much that the ingredients find their way into your tea party pantry!

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:
“Thanksgiving in San Jose: count your blessings with a cup of tea”
“How to have a less stressful Thanksgiving this year: with tea!”
“How to have a stress-free Black Friday: take time out with tea”
“How to make holiday orange spice tea”
“How to make your own pumpkin spice tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“How to make ‘instant’ chai”
“Holiday tea-table recipe: turkey and cranberry tea sandwiches”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea” 
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Another tea cocktail for the horse-racing fans!”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“How to have afternoon tea at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco”
“San Jose’s Fallon House hosts Heritage Holiday Champagne Tea and Tours”
“Review: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair”

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Filed under Holiday, Tea