Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A traditional afternoon tea for the modern consumer

The Royal Tea & Treatery in Costa Mesa, CA has done the seemingly impossible ― created an afternoon tea service that is not only gluten-free, but dairy-free to boot!

When I dropped in today, I was delighted to learn it was the establishment's one year anniversary.  In the current dietarily-conscious era, I foresee many anniversaries to come for the glamorously accoutered eatery, off the beaten path but close to several major thoroughfares.

Right off the bat, I was delighted by the decor ― a colorful melange of seating areas coordinating with the confections in the glimmering bakery cases. I smiled as I perused the menu selections that included the Gina Lolabridgida sandwich, the Ava and the Ingenue ― but the various afternoon tea options didn't stand a chance once I saw they featured a tea service called The Siren!

As my foodie shot shows, it included:
Behold The Siren tea :D
  • a variety of sandwiches (cucumber & non-dairy cream cheese, mango with strawberry spread, tuna with red pepper & apple on homemade focaccia, and hummus with tomato ... I think ... or was it pepper ... I don't remember that last one actually, as I wolfed it down too quickly *wink*)  
  • 2 petite berry scones
  • 3 mini sweets i.e. a coffee cake square, chocolate chip cookie, and adorable wee chocolate cupcake
  • fresh fruit, in this case, cantaloupe, which hit the spot!
And yes, all of that was accomplished without the use of dairy or gluten ingredients ― incredible!  Even my British style tea played along, as I was served coconut milk to lighten my blend. If I hadn't known I was in a dairy-free zone, I never would've guessed, as everything offered comprised what one would label 'real tea food.'

My cozy corner of the tearoom
Though owner Bridget was not there, manager Donna and assistant/server Casey did a marvelous job of spoiling me, making me feel welcome, and generously sharing their time with me in order to answer my many questions. While I lounged, sipped and savored, I noted friends dining, a pair of patrons who were scouting out a venue for a group event, and lone customers such as myself ... including a man! 

For those considering a tea escape for themselves or a group of up to 27 guests, the Treatery delivers a full tea experience that ensures those with dietary restrictions are embraced in the festivities instead of excluded and left to sift through a plateful of 'can vs. cannot' foodstuffs. The ambience is energizing, the staff is delightful, and the fare is both creative and tasty.

If you're not in Southern California, you may visit the Royal Tea & Treatery on Facebook or peek at their website.

~submitted by Joy Devivre

(Note to those who I know are counting, this is the 412th tearoom I've had the good fortune to visit xo)