Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Coffee Tea and Tulips Moment

Imagine my surprise in discovering yet ANOTHER tea room in South Orange County!  And not just any tea room. Coffee, Tea and Tulips was named one of the TOP 5 Tea Parlors in Orange County. The question is, "Where have I been?"

Since I can't offer a decent explanation, I'll fast forward to how I rectified the situation.

As I've mentioned, probably too many times, we're moving next week. So, since Gene was going to be out of town most of last week, my Mom was kind enough to fly in and help keep my sanity. Our reward at the end of the week was experiencing this tea room. There is nothing I like more than sharing such moments with my Mom.

I was delighted with my experience at this hidden gem in Mission Viejo! Tucked into an unassuming strip mall, this eclectic tea room offers more than just tea and food. It is an oasis. Lina, the owner, and Michael (also known as the 'Moody Chef' in their blog), are committed to creating a positive environment where people can just relax and enjoy. 

We ordered the Royal Tea (call at least 24 hours in advance), and immediately fell in love with the scones that are quite rightly compared to those of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. Served with fig jam from Lebanon, Devonshire Cream and home made lemon curd, these scones were scrumptiously warm and melt-in-your-mouth good!

A tiered tea tray was presented next. The tea 'sandweeches' were the most basic - and most necessary in my opinion - egg salad, cucumber mint, and chicken salad. But they were anything but ordinary. This is one of the best examples of simple food being the most divine. Perfectly seasoned, and generously proportioned, I can honestly say I have never had such tasty tea service. And then there were the pastries! Light and flaky, flavorful without being overly sweet, I absolutely loved every crumb.

The tea selection was broad enough to provide something for everybody, and I enjoyed the Very English Breakfast while my Mom sipped the Organic Darjeeling. The tea cups and tea pots were as eclectic and unique as everything else in the tea room, and my tea cup was quite captivating - a small, hand painted cup made in U.S.-occupied Japan. If tea cups could talk...

Chef Michael was kind enough to tempt me with a sample 'sandweech' from their Queen Victoria Tea (the 7-course mammer jammer tea experience). It was a cream cheese, lavender, orange zesty, walnut concoction that I am still thinking about on a daily basis nearly a week after the fact.I have an official crush on that sandweech.

But good tea, amazing food, inviting atmosphere aside, Lina and Michael created the perfect moment for me and my Mom to sit down together, talk, laugh, eat and drink, all the while providing charming hospitality and the perfect balance of checking in and leaving us to our conversation.  There is no question why Coffee, Tea and Tulips is considered one of the Top 5 Tea Parlors in Orange County.  And now that I have found them, I look forward to many more moments there!

To experience Coffee, Tea and Tulips for yourself:
Coffee, Tea And Tulips©25280 Marguerite Parkway at La Paz, #B2
Mission Viejo, CA 92692 – Near Steinmart in the Village Center,
across from the Mission Viejo Library / City Hall | 949/587.9988
Hours: September 2010
Tuesday – Friday 9a-3:30p
Saturday 9a-3p
Sunday 9a-2p.