Our afternoon tea tradition

My best friend from high school, Marylisa, and I have a tradition of trying new places for afternoon tea. We have been to many places for afternoon tea together. In the San Fernando Valley, there was a place called “The Guilded Rose”. It was a purple house and inside it was like an English cottage. They served afternoon tea and that was always our place to go. Unfortunately, they closed down and that is when we started looking for other places to go for afternoon tea. The places we have tried in the past were the Huntington Library, the Four Seasons, the Chado Tea Room and the Elle C Garden Cafe in Santa Clarita.

Cute tea cup and saucer

This year we tried the Madeline Garden Bistro in Pasadena. This restaurant had a very European feel to it because of it’s decor and atmosphere. It was tres chic.  We ordered the Royal afternoon tea and it was very different than the usual tea sandwiches,  scones and dessert. This tea offered a soup or salad, a hot tier, a cold tier, scones and dessert. For my tea, I ordered Earl Grey. That was unusual for me because I usually like to order teas that I haven’t tried before and that have an unusual combination. I still enjoyed it and as usual, I added milk and sugar to my tea. Delicious.

The first course came out and it was actually the scones. We ended up saving that for later and then our soup and salad came out. I chose the tomato soup.

You say tomato, I say tomato…soup

Then the tiers came out. The first tier was the hot tier which included steak, potatoes au gratin, a hot crab salad and shrimp.

the hot tier

We started on the hot tier, of course. Then the next tier was the cold tier.

so cold

This tier included the tea sandwiches that I always look forward to. The sandwiches that were included in this tier were the salmon and butter tea sandwich and the  cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwich. There was also a caprese salad skewer and a shrimp cocktail.

Since we saved our scone for later, after our cold tier, we decided to eat our scone with the clotted cream and jam. The waiter said it was a Christmas scone so it had pieces of dried fruit in it, like a Christmas fruitcake.  It was pretty good.

The dessert tier was next. It was very elegant. It had creme brulee, a macaroon and a chocolate brownie with frosting and peppermint sprinkles on top.

I really enjoyed this experience. I liked the European decor. Our table was set nicely. We sat on elegant couches with cute fluffy pillows. On this day, there was a guitarist playing music in the background. I would definitely go here again. They also serve tapas and champagne brunch. They have very good service and are very friendly and accommodating.  Interestingly, our royal afternoon tea came with champagne but our waiter forgot to give it to us. They apologized and gave us a discount on our bill. I think it would have been fun to drink champagne with a high tea. I will try that next time.

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Paris, baby

During our trip to London, we planned a weekend getaway to Paris. We took the Eurostar which was a 2 hour train ride to Paris. When we arrived, it was already late at night. The next day was our first full day and it was raining!

Rain in Paris

Our first stop was to a restaurant that Sabrina really wanted to try. This restaurant only serves steak and fries (steak et frites). Sabrina really enjoyed the food at this restaurant and the experience was so Paris. It was also Josh’s first time eating steak and he thought it was delicious.

We then took a walk to see the Eiffel Tower and on the way, we passed the Arc De Triomphe.

On the way to the Eiffel Tower, we also stopped at the stores to go shopping. We also bought macaroons at Laderee.

Inside the Laderee boutique

Our macaroons

My choices for the macaroons were orange blossom, vanilla and rose. Even though vanilla is a basic flavor, it ended up being my favorite because it was the most flavorful.

We finally made it to the Eiffel Tower.

The next day, we took a walk to see the Louvre. On our way, we passed the Eiffel Tower again and this time, we had crepes for breakfast.

Chantilly Crepe for breakfast under the Eiffel Tower

We finally made it to the Louvre.

Unfortunately, we didn’t go inside.  We were talking about seeing the Mona Lisa. Maybe next time. Afterwards, we went inside the Carousel De Louvre to go window shopping.  While there, we stopped at McCafe and ordered cappuccinos and macaroons. They weren’t as good as the Laderee macaroons but it was fun  to buy macaroons at McDonalds in Paris!

McCafe coffee and McMacaroons!

I loved visiting Paris and I will certainly go again.

 

 

London, baby…

We spent our Thanksgiving holiday week in London with a weekend getaway to Paris. The reason for our visit? To visit my daughter, Sabrina, who is living in London currently while she works on her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management at Kings College.

The original plan was for my son, Josh and I to stay in her flat. She lives in student housing. She shares a flat with about 7 flatmates. She has her own room with a bathroom and they share the kitchen and common area. I was really excited to stay with her in her flat even though it is a small room and we would be very crowded. It turned out that it wasn’t in the plan and instead, my daughter got us an Airbnb in Bermondsey. In Bermondsey, we were right by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. On one of our days in Bermondsey, my son and I spent a day at the Tower of London while my daughter was in class. I think his favorite part of the Tower of London was learning about the knights, seeing their armor and touching the chain mail and seeing the weapons that they used. We walked on the Tower Bridge to get to the Tower of London and then afterwards, we did more strolling and sight seeing.

Josh strolling through London with the Tower Bridge as his view.

Josh at the Tower of London

We also spent a day sight seeing with my daughter. Living in London, she knew all the places to go and how to get there by walking (which we did A LOT of) or by taking the tube. Our first stop was to eat fish and chips at Fish! Kitchen at the Borough Market.

We then took the tube and our stop was Westminister to see Big Ben and Westminister Abbey.

Big Ben was under construction at the time of our visit so I didn’t get to really see it. We thought that was funny since it was one of the attractions I really wanted to see. We then took a walk to to see the London Eye and then another walk to Sabrina’s school, Kings College.

Sabrina at Kings College

At night, we went shopping at Oxford Street.

The next day was spent taking a brisk (one hour) walk to Sabrina’s school. We had a lot of fun walking and Josh had a great time running and jumping through the crunchy fall leaves.

While Sabrina was working on a project at school, Josh and I went to Somerset House to go ice skating. I think this was Josh’s favorite part of the trip. He was so excited! The ice was great and the weather and scenery was delightful.

We also went to Winter Wonderland at Hyde park at night. We had fun shopping for candy, playing games and walking around the park.

Our first few days in London was fun and exciting. It was a wonderful experience. Our next adventure was a weekend trip to Paris. Stay tuned…