Crown & Crumpet

teacupladycollage timeforteamecollageFor my birthday, K took me to Crown & Crumpet, a tea room I learned of from the Heroine Training blog. It was pretty much exactly as I imagined: a light-filled space embellished with whimsical touches, like a clock with teacups and saucers instead of numbers.

The service was as friendly and lighthearted as the tea room itself. We ordered a large pot of Crown & Crumpet Private Blend, a proper black tea. My three-tiered Tea for One included a satisfying sampling of finger sandwiches and treats, though K’s sandwich (I think it was mozzarella chicken) was the tastiest of the savory fare.

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The warm blueberry scone with lemon curd was my favorite.

Going by the numbers, I’m very much a grown-up these days, but I can still enjoy an Alice-in-Wonderland-like teatime experience. Teatime seems to be associated with make-believe and fanciful old ladies, but I think it should be a part of everyday life—and more or less fancy according to the occasion.

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Green Tea Garden

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San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden holds a special place in my heart. However harried I may be upon entrance, its flora-fringed pathways never fail to calm. Dotted with the fluted eaves of pagodas and temple statuary, the landscape of bonsai branches, vibrant foliage, and reflective, koi-filled ponds has a fluid motion. As I reach the carefully-combed pebbles of the Zen Garden, my breathing slows and I begin to appreciate the garden’s artful details.

No trip to this special spot would be complete without refreshment at the open-air Tea House. On my most recent visit, K and I settled into our table-for-two with a pot of Sencha green tea, rice cakes, and edamame. The light-and-chewy rice cakes, in flavors like green tea, strawberry, and lychee, were more akin to sumptuous fruit candy than the crunchy cakes I’m more familiar with.

Located within Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden was originally created in the 1890s and has a bittersweet history. Its symbolism as a place of respite not immune to the unfortunate race relations of World War II culminates, for me, in the graceful arch of the Moon Bridge, the central image of Marcia Savin’s children’s novel.

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From top: The Moon Bridge; the garden where the Moon Bridge meets a foot bridge; the Zen Garden