GROUPON: Lisa’s Tea Treasure

For anyone in the San Jose are who wants an inexpensive high tea option here is a fairly decent deal for Lisa’s Tea Treasure in Santana Row. The service was okay and the food is middle of the road but if you want the ambiance they have that in spades; just turn a blind eyes to the interesting attire of your waitstaff. I remember thinking it was odd that she was dressed all in black with a crop top and short shorts but maybe they’ve put a dress code in place since then.

The Groupon is $36 for Tea for Two (Originally $51.90) and $70 for Tea for Four (Originally $103.80) and here’s the food line up:

-Scones

-Assorted Tea Sanwiches

-Petite Savories

-Devonshire Cream & Preserves

-Dessert

In case you’re more of a visual person here’s a shot of my place for a visit with my Mother-in-Law and my Sister back in April from our visit pre-baby.

If you’re interested act soon, as the deal is only good for 2 days.

Yours Truly,

Mel


ThirTEAth Birthday Party – Pictures

I know these are a week late but if you’ve been a follower of the Blog for any length of time you’ll know that late is kind of my MO; I’m not proud of that, it’s just how it is.

So without further ado, here you go.

A tea party,a  little whiskey in tea cups, a game of cut-throat croquet and an a great group of friends; what a perfect birthday.

Yours Truly,

Mel


ThirTEAth Birthday Party = Success!

Although I don’t have any picture (aside from this cell phone selfie) to share yet, I know, I know, it was a whole 5 days ago; I can honestly say it was a success. There was so much to do and I thought I had it all planned out but as people walked in I put everyone to work and hopefully they don’t hate me for that.

Yes it might have been a bit hot to have it outside and yes, there were flies but honestly it just added to it. That just meant The Husband brought out some fans and an electric fly swatter and sure, that could have ended badly with all that china but it worked out fine.

I’m so glad almost all of my friends could make it out to my party and that all the high tea-virgins had a great time and  it will definitely go down as one of my most memorable parties to date.

I also promise that pictures are coming…soonish.

Yours Truly,

Mel


ThirTEAth Birthday Party – Food

I’ll admit that the food is my favorite part of throwing a tea party. It means I have an excuse to bake crazy amount of cookies, scones and cakes and I get to eat a lot because everything is smaller.

For my party I’ll be revisiting some of my staples, jazzing up a few favorites and sharing some of my go-to recipes.

Sample Menu:

Sandwiches (1-3 Different Types)

Scones (Usually 1-3 Flavors)

Cookies ( 1-3 Types)

Green Salad

Cupcake

Fruit Dessert

Must have condiments: clotted cream or devonshire cream, lemon curd and jam

*Optional Crumpets, Petit Fours, Fruit Strudels & Macarons

For the sandwiches I like to keep them simple but flavorful and 3 different types it really my maximum. Salmon with Dill & plain cream cheese, cucumber and vegetable flavored cream cheese, PB&J, chicken-apple-walnut, turkey and cranberry, tuna salad and egg salad sandwich to name a few. To help people differentiate all the types try using different breads.

White and wheat are pretty obvious but there’s also rye bread and even mini croissants; for a completely different spin you could even serve something like the tuna in hollowed out cucumber cups.

Next up are the scones and what I would argue are one of the most vital parts of your tea party. I prefer my scones to be dense, rich in flavor and ever so slightly sweet; none of this sickly-sweet, light and fluffy stuff for me, save that for the cupcakes. Scones are meant to be eaten with spread and that’s where I want the sweetness to come from.

I’ve tried many recipes but I always come back to THIS recipe from Better Homes & Garden and for step-by-step instructions you can check out my post HERE. It’s the perfect basic recipe and I often switch up the basil and strawberries for orange zest & cranberries, or The Husband’s favorite, bacon-cheddar and chive scones. If you’re going to change it up just eye ball it (the recipe is pretty forgiving) and hopefully you’ll love it as much as I do.

*Tip: Double the recipe and hold off on adding any flavors; strawberries, bacon etc. until you divide the dough into balls. At this point go ahead and make each ball a different flavor if you want variety but not the extra work.

Cookies. Not necessarily something that all tea houses serve but I like having them because everybody likes cookies. Plus they double as another way for me to eat more lemon curd or clotted cream or both at the same time; I’m sure you get the picture.

I enjoy a good variety and usually go with a mix of something like a sugar or rosemary shortbread cookie, gingersnaps, madeleines, white chocolate-macadamia nut and chocolate chip. Each type of easy to make and sugar or shortbread cookies could always be made with cookie cutters that match the party theme or just circles. As an added bonus if your fridge is getting full from all the party food these cookies all freeze well; just be sure to pack them in flat layers separated with parchment paper and take them out to thaw at least 2 hours before the party.

For a salad I keep it simple and get a tub of pre-washed greens (I prefer the 50/50 blend of spinach and spring greens) and toss in a small can of mandarin oranges, a handful of dried cranberries and some sunflower seeds for garnish. Quick and easy with things I usually have on hand at the house.

If you’re not a fan of this type of salad a ceasar works too and the pre-made bags from the grocery store are perfect because really, people aren’t here for the salad but at least eating a little bit of it might make them feel better.

Cupcakes aren’t a must have items but they’re miniature and that makes them worthwhile. If you have the time these are a great addition to a tea party and you can use my go-to cake/cupcake recipe from THIS post (use the box instructions for baking times) to make any flavor you’re hankering for; top them with THIS buttercream recipe or THIS whipped cream frosting and you’re done. It may be worth mentioning that if you want leftover put a few of these aside before the party because afterwards there won’t be any.

Like the green salad I like to throw a little fruit into the mix and if you have time fruit salad served in little bowls is adorable and healthy but I also like these little pudding filled cookie bowls topped with fruit. Instead of cool whip I used instant chocolate pudding (made the night before) and ta-dah, another impressive creation and everything is edible!

Last but not least are what I’m calling the condiments. I don’t actually make the lemon curd or the clotted cream but if you want to there are lots of great recipes online; I just haven’t given them a go yet. Instead I’ve found that lemon curd can be bought at Trader Joe’s and devonshire cream can be purchased at Cost Plus World Market and it’s not cheap ($7.99) but it’s the only place I can guarantee will have it.

 

Photo Courtesy of Jillian at Coffee Light and Sweet

 

For jam or jelly anything works, I’ll leave it up to you and your personal preferences.

As for macarons, petit fours and crumpets, again I will leave this up to you. The macarons add a bit of fancy but they’re time intensive, expensive but still really, really good; same goes with petit fours unless you want to use THIS cheater recipe. I’ve tried making crumpets at home and it was a huge flop. Unfortunately for me that was right before a big tea party and they were a mess, I was a mess and it’s not something I’d recommend. If you have to have crumpets (they’re a cross between english muffins and pancakes) take my advice and purchase them from the refrigerated section at either New Leaf Community Market or Trader Joe’s; you’ll be out $4 for 8 or 6 but it’s worth it.

Yours Truly,

Mel

P.S. For Tea Suggestions take a look HERE and HERE.


ThirTEAth Birthday Party – Invitations

Every year in our family October is a big month and as September draws to a close I’ve very much reminded of this. It’s a month full of Birthdays (My Littlest Sister, Brother-in-Law, The Husband and Me) and this year it’s a big one for me; my 30th.

For me it’s not something to dread, or a way to mourn the end of the 20s but simply another reason to really go all out on a party. To celebrate my 30th Birthday I am in fact, completely embracing the corny aspect of it and I’m throwing myself a ThirTEAth Birthday party.

As the date draws nearer I’ll share more and more details about the party but for now let’s start with the invitations. The idea is from Pinterest and the templates can be found HERE courtesy of Do-It-Yourself-Invitations.

Materials:

-White or plain cardstock

-Decorative cardstock (I bought something similar to THIS, from Michaels)

-Ribbon

-Baker’s twine

-Scissors

-Exacto Blade

-Glue dots

-Glue stick

-Stapler

-Tape

-A6 Envelopes (4 3/4″ x 6 1/2″)

*Optional: additional cardstock for envelope liners & envelope liner template. Two great DIY Envelope Template Guides can be found HERE and HERE.

Using the templates I modified the wording, using a Free font download from Simple As That and then printed everything out.

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca from Simple as That

Next it’s all about assembling the invites and what method works best for you. Glue dots of the plain cardstock to attach it to the tea cup and on the bow. An Exacto blade to cut out the slash in the lid for the tea bag, and tape to adhere the tea bag label to the twine and to the invite.

If you’re planning on making envelope liners I recommend a glue stick over glue dots but that’s because I don’t like it when they open the envelope and the liner falls off.

You’re all set and now it’s time to start planning the decor, menu, favors and activities!

Yours Truly,

Mel


Review: High Tea Fall Fashion Show

I had such high expectations for The High Tea Fall Fashion Show and I have to say that I was pretty bummed when it didn’t deliver. Somehow I got the start time mixed up and when I showed up at 3:30 I thought I had a ton of time and I was wrong. The Fashion Show was already under way and I was late.

I quickly signed in, grabbed my “bites box”, an iced tea since it was that or champagne and headed off to find my seat.

The show was enjoyable and while some of the “fashion” was questionable for Fall, Oakley and Tommy Bahama I’m talking to you; I did find a new favorite store in C. Wonder.

The biggest let down was the “High Tea” part. The bite boxes as they called them were provided by Lisa’s Tea Treasures and consisted of 1/2 a cucumber & cream cheese sandwich on white bread and a tiny scone the size of a silver dollar. Really guys that was the best you could do? Next time I’ll just skip a ticket, save myself $25 and just watch the show from the sideway.

I do have to say that after the show there were after-parties hosted by some of the sponsors that served drink and munchies so we all walked around and enjoyed the freebies.

Oh well, live and learn.

Yours Truly,

Mel

P.S. For a short 30 second video from the Fashion Show check us out on Facebook.


High Tea Fall Fashion Show

The other day my Sister forwarded me some information on an Event called the High Tea- Fall Fashion Show at Santana Row and I was all over it. It’s $35/person (or $25/person if you use this Living Social Deal) on Saturday, September 6th from 3- 4:30PM and although I have no idea what it’s going to be like  I’m totally okay with that.

It’ll be a chance to spend a little more time with my youngest Sister before she heads off to College in Seattle, WA this Fall and I get to have high tea like I’ve never had it before. That to me is a win, win situation.

Of course I’ll be sure to post pictures after the fact.

Yours Truly,

Mel



Double Strawberry Scones

This recipe for Double Strawberry Scones from Better Homes & Garden was one of the first baking recipes I even tried and somehow I’ve manage to overlook it here on Fox And A Parasol.

These scones were my late Grandmother’s favorite and I use to make them especially for her at my Mother’s Day Tea Party. Now they are my go-to recipe for using almost bad strawberries and still my favorite scone recipe. Not sweet but flaky and buttery without being too soft.

The ingredients aren’t anything fancy and the instructions are straight forward. If you don’t have freeze dried strawberries, half and half or basil don’t sweat it,;I don’t think I’ve ever made these with any of those ingredients. I always default to fresh or frozen strawberries (1 1/2 cups), 2% milk and I just forgo the basil.

Measure out all your dry ingredients and mix them together.

Now cut in your butter with either two knives or a pastry blender.

Add your strawberries, I prefer mine sliced.

Combine all the ingredients together and then make a well in the center for the egg & milk mixture.

Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just moistened and be careful about not to over mix it.

Next lightly flour a flat surface so that you can kneed the dough.

Kneed until it’s not sticky making sure to flip the dough over several times to avoid sticking to the cutting board.

When it’s ready divide the dough into two balls and pat each separately it into a circle. I prefer to cut mine into 6 wedges using a scraper but you’re also welcome to use a cookie cutter or cut the scones into squares.

This next step is optional but it’s nice to do because it adds a little color to the scones. Brush some milk onto each scone and sprinkle with brown sugar or granulated sugar.

Depending on the size of the scones and your oven your baking time will vary from mine but I baked mine for 17 minutes and that was just perfect.

These babies are great with your morning cup of caffeine, toasted with jam or lemon curd but also just great plain, out of a sandwich bag on your way to work.

This is also a great base recipe and I’ve used it bacon, pepper & chive scones, blue berry scones, cranberry & orange scones and so many more. Here’s to new traditions and old favorites.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Holiday Tea at the Belrose Theatre

For years I’ve been trying to make it up to Marin to do the Holiday Tea at the Belrose Theatre. This year I even went so far as to make reservation but sadly, it didn’t work out and I had to cancel them.

If you’re like me and are always looking for new tea places or you’re local to the Marin/San Francisco area and want to try it out HERE’s the information. They hold the tea every Monday through Saturday from 1 – 4pm for the month of December and for $25 you get the following: A Pot of Fine Tea, Tea Sandwiches, Petit Fours, Cookies and Scones.

Photo courtesy of Belrose News

If anyone get’s the chance to go please send some pictures my way as I’d love to see what I have to look forward to for next year.

Yours Truly,

Mel