Saturday, January 3, 2009

On a sunny afternoon 3 friends decided to meet up and what better place than the Scarlet Tea Room for afternoon tea. The only things missing that day was a Jane Austen background setting, us in white Victorian gowns, and a nice white parasol to hold. Still it was a pleasant trip down the streets of Pasadena. Parking was a bit difficult to find but eventually we got a spot and strolled on over. The red doors, befitting their name, does no reflect what was inside. Once you step in, it feels like you are in a small ballroom or heavily decorated dining room. One immediate thing I noticed in the room was that it was a plethora of women. The only men that were around, few in its count, were the husbands.As you look around the room you will see many people with the decorative tower for the afternoon tea menu. Despite the fact that I don't even like tea, I had to apply the phrase "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." I am very open to trying new things or giving everything a chance, so I chose to follow the afternoon tea menu to get the full experience. With this option you get a Signature Sorbet, a Scone, 4 Finger Sandwiches of your choice, assorted Petit Desserts, Strawberries Romanoff for dessert, and a choice of Loose Tea. Note: Some of our menus were priced at $29 and some were more expensive. I took pictures just in case if anything went wrong to prove the pricing, but luckily they only charged us $29 per person or there would be heck to pay! LolOur afternoon tea began with a small bread basket with Sun-Dried Tomato Butter as spread. The breads were decent and the butter went well. I am actually not a huge tea fan but I am an adventurist so I decided to give the teas a try. Burumun and I saw 2 teas that we liked and decided to share since we each get a pot. She got the “Fiji” that’s flavored Green Tea with Papaya & Wild Pineapple. I ordered the “Once Upon A Tea” that’s an infusion of Chocolate Bits, Vanilla, Mint, and a Secret. Burumun really wanted what I ordered but I assured her that she can drink most of both pots lol. Ironically I liked hers better than mine. The light fruity flavor mixed with sugar cubes was very refreshing. My tea is reminiscent of the Moroccan Mint Teas but with an extra kick. Of course this tea can’t beat the teas I had in Marrakesh, Morocco but it was very nostalgic. They give small strainers to keep particles from falling into your tea but they were so loose that a lot of bits managed to get through. Hellobear ordered the “Amour” that’s an infusion of Strawberries and Hibiscus. The tea looked green in the photos but when poured it is a vibrant red, just like the door. O=9
Burumun and I both had the tea set and they brought us our Signature Fresh Strawberry Sorbet to start. Let’s just say that “scarlet” was a theme. I thought the sorbet was so-so because it was not very sweet. Strawberries must not be too ripe or in season because it was a bit sour and tangy for my taste. Still I am in it for the fun and ready for more.
Our friend Hellobear opted out of the afternoon tea set and ordered the Petite Filet Mignon Santa Fe Salad. It’s Mesclin Greens, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Corn, Cotija Cheese, grilled Sweet Pepper on the side, and Hickory Citrus Vinaigrette. The filet mignon looked very tasty and nicely cooked. We couldn't figure out what kind of cheese was in the salad but luckily I took a picture of the menu and just flipped back to find out. ^_- It was presented beautifully, full of color and different components to add texture.
We received our tower of goodies, literally. I loved the delightful presentation of the afternoon tea set. The scones were on top, followed by the finger sandwiches, and finishing the bottom of were petit desserts. To accompany our scones they brought out Lemon Whey/Curd, Fresh Cream, and Imported Strawberry Jelly. My favorite was the cream because it was so light and airy with an elegant sweet aftertaste. The scones of the day were Cinnamon and Blueberry, which Burumun and I had to share. I felt the scones were very tasty but could be a little bit more moist. No worries, I smothered them with delicious cream to compensate and I was a happy camper. Too bad I had to share the scones or I’d eat them both. O=)
Luckily we didn't have to share the middle tower since we each get to choose 4 types of finger sandwiches. I chose the Chicken Tahini, Smoked Salmon, Roast Beef, and Mozzarella. The Chicken Tahini with shredded Chicken, Pine nuts, Chives, and seasoned Tahini Sauce was decent. It is like a Mediterranean Chicken Salad in a small finger sandwich. The flavor was very light and I really can’t tell the difference from other chicken salad sandwiches… I thought the Smoked Salmon with Chive Spread, Fresh Dill, and Capers looked very pretty in presentation with a Roe and Capers sitting atop the sandwich. Alas, a beautiful outer appearance does not reflect what is within. I thought the sandwich was plain and something you can easily make at home. The Roast Beef with Danish Blue Cheese with Arugula, Roast Beef, Shaved Red Onion, and Dijonaise was alright. It was mostly a thick creamy and cheesy flavor with a minuscule piece of meat inside. Again, you can definitely make this at home and load it with more meat along with some ripe Vine Tomatoes that would taste a whole lot better. The Mozzarella with fresh Mozzarella Cheese and Basil with Sun-Dried Tomato Spread. This was actually one of the more flavorful sandwiches and refreshing. The combination of flavors was well done and tasty. Burumun noted that she really enjoyed the Olive Tapenade sandwich.
There were only 4 "petit" desserts and when they say petite they seriously mean it. Burumun and I had to share it when they are one bite morsels or less. The Chocolate Eclair/Profiterole type dessert was the best one in the bunch but nothing you can't make at home. I didn't enjoy the Raspberry dessert that reminded me of a bad Trifle. The other 2 chocolate petit desserts was just alright as well. The last plate was definitely nothing special. =*(
Don't worry we still had a dessert coming at the end, the Strawberries Romanoff. It was just fresh Strawberries and liqueur. I think they used Grand Marnier? Not too sure, but the cream was the best part. They do make a wonderful pair and bring out the sweetness of each other. I have to say that overall the desserts were unimpressive.
Hellobear decided to order the Chef's special and it was much better than what we had. It was a Chocolate Tart with Honey. The presentation and portion was nice. I thought it was very rich, sweet, and heavy. This was much better than the dessert our tea set came with. At least we all got to try different things and share a wonderful luncheon experience.
All in all it was very entertaining and you feel like you have stepped back in time or space away from the crowded streets and the roar of the cars passing by. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of grace and leisure by catching up with one another as well as trading X-mas gifts. This was definitely a whole new experience and a fun one once in a while with the girls. Men are also welcome any time, but maybe they should snack on some goodies before coming here. I left feeling I needed some more meaty substance! O=)

Scarlet Tea Room

18 W Green St
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 577-0051
Scarlet Tea Room on Urbanspoon


H. C. said...

Heh, I don't think any afternoon/high teas are particularly meaty (since they're traditionally meant as something to tide you over between lunch and dinner instead of a meal in and of itself.)

But glad you had a pleasant time (and pleasant company) there, the foods looked pretty much identical to what I had in 2007, though I think my favorite in Pasadena is still Tea Rose Garden

Anonymous said...

Love afternoon teas! Looks like you had a wonderful time - such nice pastries :)

Ms. Lin said...

Looks really yummy! Afternoon teas are a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

kat15lee said...

Thanks for the heads up. This place sounds like my cup of tea. Haha.

-Kathy L

Kat said...

Thanks H.C. ^_^ I learned something new! Burumun took me there for lunch.. I was tricked! lol As a snack that would make total sense. Next time we should all go to the Tea Rose Garden to enjoy a wonderful afternoon! ^_^

Yup, it was a great time 5 Star Foodie! If you are ever in SoCal we should definitely sit down together and have a wonderful afternoon tea to chat about delicious foods! ^_^

Ms. Lin, it was my first ever afternoon tea if you can believe it. More to come of course. =)

No problem Kathy L. I hope you have a wonderful time when you go ^_^ It's a very calming and relaxing time.

sarah (Catch A Cub In Its Den) said...

thanks for this review! i live down the street from scarlet tea room but haven't ventured in yet. looks interesting and i am never going to say no to a tower of goodies!

Kat said...

Sarah - I hope you like it! Be sure to go with a group of friends that will make it everything even better. Great friends, tea, and tower of goodies... what more can you ask for O=)

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