After almost 3.5 years, it was my little sister’s university graduation that brought me back home to sunny California. For the past two years I had flown her out here to visit me and experience life abroad (expense free). As for my parents and youngest sister, however, I hadn’t seen them since I left for Korea.
I couldn’t believe how much my youngest sister had grown! Almost 14 years old and already my height. She was only shoulder high when I had last hugged her goodbye. We had so much to talk about and catch up on, so I wanted to take her somewhere special for a little sisterly bonding time. Tea Rose Garden was the perfect place! This teashop tucked inside a flower shop was incredibly adorable and such a clever idea. The sky painted ceiling, street lamps and quaint rooftop silhouettes made for a lovely fairytale ambiance. Surrounded by vibrant flowers, winding shrubs, delicate tea sets and petite tables and chairs, we couldn’t help but feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland.
To my surprise, they had quite an extensive menu. We ordered the “Tea Rose Afternoon Tea” set and an additional pot of tea. The tea set came with six finger sandwiches of our choosing. We could choose up to three, so we went with cranberry chicken, salmon with cream cheese and turkey basil. We also got to pick a scone from a list of interesting options, so my sister chose lemon blueberry. In addition, we were served a variety of little tea cakes, a rose sugar cookie, fresh fruits and spring petal salad. It was an arrangement fit for princesses and everything was as delicious as it looked.
Of the sandwiches we ate, we both agreed that the cranberry chicken was the best. The bread was lightly toasted and the chicken simply absorbed the sweet tangy cranberry flavor. I am, however, always partial to anything salmon so this was a pretty tough call for me. We halved all the little cakes so we could each try a piece. I really liked the lemon bar. It was soft and creamy with the perfect balance of sugar and lemon, so it wasn’t sour but still retained a nice lemony flavor. Despite the small portions, we were both actually quite full by the end. Also, with the small portions and low amount of sugar, it was the perfect lunch for my sister, since she has diabetes. She was quite the happy girl.
And of course what would afternoon tea be without the tea? Their tea menu was even more extensive than their food menu! So, after a long debate my sister settled on a passion fruit black tea. The aroma alone was intoxicating; so fragrant. The taste was light and fruity, even though it was unsweetened. As for me, I got a strawberries and cream black tea. This consisted of a light strawberry back tea with a side of streamed milk, which was perfect because I live milk tea. All the teas come unsweetened, but the table comes fully equipped with all sorts of sweetener options; brown sugar cubes for me and splenda.
It was a perfect afternoon sitting amongst the flowers, sipping on tea and enjoying the youthfulness of my sister’s stories (she makes me feel old ^^;;). The hours flew like minutes and we were both a bit sad to go in the end. I think we may have started a new tradition though. So, the next time I go back home I know exactly where we’re going to go.
If you’re interested in checking this place out, here is the address and phone number:
Tea Rose Garden
Old Town Pasadena
28 South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, California 91105