Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rustic Rules

My friend and I took a long-awaited jaunt out to Redlands recently to have the Rustic Tea at The Eating Room.  The name alone intrigued me, as one generally equates afternoon tea with all that is posh and refined.

From the moment we sat down at a black wooden table topped with an orange plate and apple green tea mug, I knew we were in for something different. Our adorable server, whose name I thought I'd never forget... but somehow have.... was delightful in every way.  We ran into a good deal of freeway traffic that caused us to be late for our reservation, but were welcomed as warmly as long lost friends.

While waiting for our tea we snuck off to the main dining room's adjoining bakery, where we got into all sorts of pre-dining trouble.  Fortunately, the counter girl was kind enough to steer us away from bakery goods that would be part of our imminent tea meal, and since our tea arrived while we were still ogling the bakery cases, the counter girl kindly offered to compile our sweets order, have it wrapped up and brought to our table and added to our tab.  The service here was outstanding!

When our tea treats came I was all a-twitter.  The sandwiches were nothing short of phenomenal in the flavor department.  They were made with an eye to artistry and variety, and the bread... the BREAD!!!!! Hearty artisan bread made onsite -- the kind that you could just sit down and eat a whole loaf of along with a crock of fresh creamery butter.  Each sandwich was better than the next -- the olive tapenade outshined the tasty cucumber, the egg salad topped the olive, the curried chicken trumped them all, etc... and this delectable cycle continued until I made my way through all five of these savories.

From there we industriously dove into the sweets.  The scones were topnotch and the baked goods just as pleasing as we anticipated when drooling on the glass of the bakery case.  But the final blow, the piece de rustic resistance, had to be the mini strawberry parfait, something along the lines of a petit trifle, drizzled in white chocolate.  It was totally unexpected and totally irresistible.

The closest thing I would have to a 'critique' of this unbeatable tea experience involves the price.  Frankly, it's too darn cheap!  My tea table mate and I threw a tizzy over how unreasonably reasonable the total bill was.... and that included the mound of sweets we'd procured from the bakery!  Suffice it to say our darling nameless server was the recipient of the additional cash we'd intended to spend. Upon leaving we informed her that we would be back soon and that we hoped that our bill would be higher next time!

The Rustic Tea at Martha Green's Eating Room is not to be missed.  It is served by advance reservation Thursday - Saturday and runs $20 for the whole scrumptious kit and caboodle. The restaurant is located at 107 E. Citrus Avenue in the charming center of Redlands, CA  909-792-5400. I am thrilled to be able to recommend it so highly.


[tea room #406]