Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tea and crumpets

I have become something of an afternoon tea fanatic. Perhaps the most spectacular was on our recent visit to The Mount Nelson Hotel in Capetown, South Africa. All you can eat finger sandwiches and petit fours for the equivalent of about $18. Hmm, but the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco was, well, ritzy and the food was quite fantastic in addition. Not to mention the SERVICE. Oh but then there was afternoon tea with the doggies at the Cypress Inn in Carmel. Vanilla bean black tea, egg salad and caprese sandwiches, with tea cookies and cakes all while our DOGGIES chomped on bones and bully-sticks at our sides! And now, I think Lovejoy's will be right up there at the top of my favorite afternoon tea locales as well. Perhaps it was the company. Perhaps it was the food. Hmm perhaps I'll have to go again to figure it out...



I hear two terms for "tea" used interchangeably here in the US, but there's actually a difference: High Tea and Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon Tea is here, what it is in the United Kingdom - tea with some snacks and light fare. Typically served in *shock surprise* the afternoon, before dinner. And commonly made up of a pot of loose leaf tea, those adorable crustless sandwiches, scones with butter, clotted cream and jam and little cakes and pastries for dessert.

Mothers and Daughters

Egg salad, chicken apple walnut, smoked salmon, roast beef & horseradish,
chicken & asparagus, hummus and bay shrimp & mayo finger sandwiches

High Tea seems to me, to have the same definition in the US as Afternoon Tea. However, in the UK, High Tea is a more substantial meal than what I described in the previous paragraph. High Tea in the United Kingdom, takes the place of both afternoon tea and dinner. It would include the obligatory pot of tea, cold meats, eggs or fish, sandwiches and cakes.

Seems that most of their teas are for sale - I had the vanilla rooibos

From wikipedia: In recent years, high tea has become a term for elaborate afternoon tea, though this is American usage and mainly unrecognised in Britain. Such usage is disfavored by etiquette advisors, such as Miss Manners. Well okay then, I'll be sure not to ruffle anyone's feathers on my next visit to London, by calling my tea, scones and finger-sammies "high tea".

I'm sure you're excruciatingly thrilled at my clearing all that up for you.

Perhaps I've mentioned that one of my favorite things to gift to a good friend is a meal out. Usually of the up-and-up variety. It ends up being a treat for me as well AND we get to spend quality time together. For Mom's birthday this year I gave her a gift of afternoon tea in the city. You'll recall I did this last year as well.

Couldn't you so easily sit here sipping tea for a while?

Since Tracey's mom and my mom have been friends for as long as we have *ahem20someyears* I asked Tracey if they'd like to join us and soon we found ourselves carpooling to San Francisco on a beautifully cool August Sunday. I'd heard glowing reviews of Lovejoy's from many friends and if the demand for reservations was any indication (booked up a week in advance) it seemed a lot of others agreed.

Little truffles and marzipan covered cakes

We all picked our sweet at the end - but we were STUFFED

Lovejoy's used to be an antique store that offered up a GREAT cup of tea to their patrons. They soon became known for their tea more than their antiques so... Lovejoy's tea room was born. And it seems they held on to many of the antiques for decor.

Streets of San Francisco

There's a little tea accessories store across the street

We had a truly fantastic time amidst the constantly in and out streaming parties of bridal and baby showers. It's a small tea room but they manage to squeeze everyone in cozily. The food was plentiful and the moms were tickled. I loved it! Before we'd even left my mom was telling me we could come back again. Oh we can, huh Mom?


  1. I loved Lovejoy's! I'll totally go back again, too! :) That egg and onion sandwich was SO YUMMY!!

  2. hi lisa, i just bumped into your blog and i have to say that i spent a lovely time reading and looing at your photos, which are great, i will be coming back to read you. I specially enjoyed seeing my city "Barthalona" (that was funny) i am a spanish married to an englishman, and living in london, i also have a blog andI would love it if you can visit it, if you have the time,



  3. Beautiful site. Makes me want to find such a cozy place here in the midwest. Is that even possible? :)