Tag Archives: Pleasanton

An English Rose Tea Room Moment

Yesterday, I found myself on a one-day business trip to Oakland. This is a day-trip with which I am intimately familiar, as I did it every 4-6 weeks for a former employer. Back in the saddle again, I joined the commuter crowd at John Wayne airport at 5:45 a.m. and made my way to the Southwest flight. In Oakland, I hopped on the rental car shuttle bus with about 100 of my closest friends. After a morning of productive meetings, I found myself with about 2 hours before I needed to be back at the airport, so I took the opportunity to make a return visit to The English Rose Tea Room in Pleasanton, California.

The quaint, traditional tea room is just off the main drag of historic downtown Pleasanton and is a picture of shabby chic. Lisa greeted me warmly as I entered and gave me my pick of tables. I chose an overstuffed chair off to the side, and Laura took over, offering me a sample of their apricot tea and a gingersnap. The tea list was pleasantly lengthy, and Laura was happy to give recommendations and opinions. I was tempted by the Wild Cherry, but when I mentioned I was not a fan of overly fruity teas, she gently suggested some other potentially palatable options.

In the end, I lapsed into my comfort zone and chose a French Breakfast blend. I was beginning to wane after my 4:15 wake up call, so a hearty cuppa was just the ticket.My tea arrived, and with it was a smaller pot of the Wild Cherry. “I felt bad,” Laura confessed, “because I feel like I talked you out of your original choice.” I tasted the Wild Cherry, and let her know immediately that she had been right. It was very-cherry and left that fruity after taste that I do not care for. The fact that she presented the option was really impressive, and the true cherry on top for me was the fact they had a sugar bowl with sugar cubes!!! An immediate gold star in my book.

I ordered the Duchess Anna menu, and was delighted at the beautiful tiered serving tray that was presented. A scone, fluted cup of dried fruit, an orange slice and red rose sat on top. Below were the requisite cucumber mint sandwich and egg salad sandwich. A new addition to the winter menu were a corn and rice salad in puff pastry, a open-faced pimento and cheese sandwich and a twist on bruschetta: Monterey jack, tomato and apricot atop the crusty bread. Barbara, the tea room’s chef, came out to say hello and see how I was enjoying everything. It was such a hospitable environment, I felt like a visiting dignitary. But it quickly became apparent that there was nothing unusual about this treatment. I saw it displayed again and again not only with customers dropping in, but also on the phone. Everyone was greeted with enthusiasm, and the message is clear: All are welcome here.

Lisa makes no bones about the fact that this is a faith-based venture, as proclaimed by a sign in front that reads, “Prayer available here.” Verses and encouraging sayings are tucked into every corner and adorn many of the beautiful decorative items available for sale. And yet, there is nothing off-putting about this. As open as the message is, it’s not shoved down your throat. It’s an honest example of women being exactly who they are. These are Christian women ready to serve you a beautiful afternoon tea, and allow you to be exactly who you are. It was refreshing in many ways.  And to top off the lovely experience, I was sent on my way with a to-go cup of tea for my drive to the airport!

So, despite an early morning, a flat tire on arrival at the airport parking lot, crowded airplanes and shuttle buses, I arrived home feeling light and comfortable. Thank you for the delicious tea, the scrumptious food, and the warm hospitality. You can be sure, I’ll be back!

The English Rose Tea Room and Gifts

163 West Neal Street

Pleasanton, CA 94566

(925) 462-6233

Open 11 AM to 5 PM Tuesday – Saturday

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Filed under Tea, Tea Room, Travel

A Tea and Scrumpet Moment

My Mom’s brothers and sisters have an interesting thing in common. Those who have had children all have one daughter each. This being the case, I often wistfully thought of my girl cousins as ‘sisters.’ Unfortunately, I lived in Idaho and my ‘sister-cousins’ lived in California and Nevada, so growing up we only got to enjoy each others’ company during family reunions which were too few and far between for my liking. Thank heavens for Lisa – my one and only girl cousin on my Dad’s side – who grew up just a mile or two down the road!

Of the out-of-state set, one cousin in particular, Heather, knows my tea obsession much better than most. It was her late mother, my Aunt Jane, who introduced me to tea houses in the first place. Now that we’re all grown up and having families of our own, it’s the rare moment when we actually can get together for tea. The most recent was after Heather’s first son was born and my Mom and I were stopping in for a visit. Heather’s husband was sweet enough to take the baby for the day, shoo us out of the house, and encourage us to go for some ‘tea and scrumpets.’

We ended up in Pleasanton at a little tea room Heather had discovered fairly recently, The English Rose Tea Room and Gifts.  We were well cared for and well-fed (having chosen the ‘Queen’s Sumptuous Afternoon Tea’), and while I can’t remember the particulars of the yummy sweets and savories or what tea I chose, it was one of the most fun afternoons I’ve ever spent with my Mom or with Heather. We shared favorite memories of Aunt Jane, the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, motherhood, or the desire for those things.  My Mom shared stories I had never heard before that had the three of us laughing so hard we could barely breathe. I think our kindly server actually brought us tissues for the tears of laughter that were rolling down our faces.

Shortly thereafter, Edie came along. The tea themed gifts came from a variety of sources. Lisa provided the requisite play tea pot and tea cups. She knew no daughter of mine could possibly go without! And Heather sent a handcrafted set of ‘tea and scrumpets’ (the name stuck, of course) made by a very talented woman in Australia.

Yes, this is what scrumpets look like. Now you know!

Yes, this is what scrumpets look like. Now you know!

They are some of Edie’s playroom favorites (of her own free will, I assure you!).

Heather’s brother was married last month, and it was fun to bring Edie to the house where I have so many fond memories. Standing with my Mom, Heather, and all my girl cousins who were able to make it, I smiled at the anticipation of many tea-and-scrumpet moments to come.

Future tea house crashers!

Future tea house crashers!

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Filed under Tea, Tea Room