Friday, May 4, 2012

A Sussex Teapot Tea Room Moment

One of the first posts on An International Tea Moment was my first tea moment with my daughter, Edie. It was an interesting time of life - wondering where to find the policy and procedure manual for this new baby, adjusting to sleeping in 1.5 hour increments, dealing with a hurricane of emotions, and trying to come to terms with this new definition of who I was. Taking Edie to one of my favorite tea spots was a first step in discovering me new "normal."

Now I've got baby Anne Marie, and things are a little less terrifying this time around. I now know there is no policy and procedure manual, I get to sleep in 3 hour increments, and my emotions have mellowed to the occasional spring shower.  All of this is good news. We're again working toward a new normal, though this time it's more of an updated normal.  In any case, tea is in order, and it was with great joy that I was able to include my mom to share my first tea moment with Anne Marie. My mom had visited England years ago and has memories of afternoon tea in the homes of friends there, so I thought she might enjoy a little place my friend, S, had introduced me to a couple of years ago: The Sussex Teapot Tea Room.

Chris, one of the owners (who is originally from East Sussex), greeted us with enthusiasm and called Anne Marie a "poppet," which won numerous points in my book. It's a term I've always read in the British mysteries I read, but I've never heard it said out loud. The traditional British tea room itself is what might be called shabby chic with small touches of Britain here and there. They asked if we'd like tea, and when we said yes, two pots of strong, black tea were produced. No need to select a blend. You get what they serve, and it's just right (PG Tips). We selected the Afternoon Cream Tea, which includes a pot of tea, tea sandwiches, side salad & crisps (potato chips), and fresh scones with jam & cream.

The salad, though simple, has a traditional dressing that I've only ever tasted in Europe and love with a burning passion. Once again, I forgot to ask for the recipe or if I could buy some (the Shamrock & Thistle British/Irish Grocery & Gift Shop is connected to the Tea Room).  Drat! For our choice of sandwiches, we selected cucumber (of course), egg salad, chicken cashew and the coronation chicken salad. All traditional. All delicious!

The scones were served after the sandwiches, which I've noticed is opposite of what most American tea houses do, but it does make more sense. Scones are so scrumtiously dessert-y, I've never understood why they are served first so often.

As my mom and I enjoyed our tea together, and Anne Marie slept (as Edie did during our first tea moment), Chris and her co-worker stopped by regularly to refill our tea pots with fresh, hot tea, to admire the baby, or to just chat for a few moments. It felt more like having tea in someone's living room than in a restaurant, and for this particular outing it was just exactly perfect. I was transported to the cozy tea rooms of London and York that I visited nearly 15 years ago, and to have my mom and daughter share the moment with me was all that I could ask for.

To visit the Sussex Teapot Tea Room:
12752 Valley View Street, Suites P&Q
Bridgecreek Business Park
Garden Grove, CA 92845
(just one block north of the 22 fwy)

Phone: 714-897-9442

Wed through Sun - 11a.m. - 4p.m.