On the weekend after Thanksgiving, the girls in my family went to a tea room for lunch, and it wound up being the highlight of the week for all of us! There’s just something about taking your time with a warm pot of tea that inspires focus and cozy conversation.
The tea room that we went to was Tea Time in St. Helen’s, Oregon, a cute little restaurant with a quaint sign to welcome us in.
For collectors, it’s a tea haven when you walk in the front door, with all kinds of unique tea sets and cups on display and for sale. Tea lovers can also shop from a selection of teas offered in the restaurant, and the staff that was there when we went were very knowledgeable about steep times for each tea and other pertinent information.
You can also buy local artwork and other oddities in their shop.
For classicists, there are plenty of different tea sets to choose from, including this lovely Christmas set.
We were seated in a homey room with white linens on the table, and tea pots lining the decorative shelves. One thing intrinsic to tea rooms is that you’re likely to see menu items that you wouldn’t see elsewhere. This menu had a number of interesting combinations of goodies, including “Afternoon Tea,” which comes with tea sandwiches, savories, scones with whipped cream, butter and preserves, fresh fruit, and a pot of tea. Everyone at the table got their own pot of tea, and I opted for one of my long time favorite hot teas, Jasmine tea. It was delightful, steeped to perfection for a perfectly flavorful tea.
Other menu items included “Duchess Tea” with tea sandwiches, sweets, and tea; “Cream Tea” with scones with whipped cream, butter and preserves, and a pot of tea; and a soup, meat, and cheese lunch called “Grampy’s Tea Time,” which is what I ordered.
Two people shared this delightful “Afternoon Tea” tray that offered a bite of most everything on the menu:
My sister got the “Duchess Tea,” which included a classic tea time favorite, cucumber sandwiches, as well as others.
My cheese and meat tray consisted of typical deli counter fare, as expected, and also came with a delectable mushroom paprika soup, and some fruit and a mini bundt cake to finish the meal.
The wait was a little long, but once we received our tea, we were sipping and conversing, and didn’t even notice the hours fly by. We discussed everything under the sun, including Thanksgiving recaps, and we couldn’t help but be amused at the table of teens next to us who probably mentioned Frozen 2 (or as my daughter calls it, “Corporate Frozen”) at least 20 times in their conversation, I also got to watch my niece sample her first tea, and just enjoyed all of the interesting dishes we got to taste.
That week we had attended a party, spent two days by the beach, and had our Thanksgiving dinner together, but somehow our fondest memories of the week were from our simple lunch over tea.
If you haven’t had a proper tea house experience, it’s definitely worth a try!