Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tea Time in "Teacumseh"

Hello Friends!

We found ourselves back in "England" for tea this Saturday after a weekend excursion through Toledo, Ohio to see Jerry Seinfeld in concert (outrageously funny, by the way), then on to Dundee, Michigan (to take in the "Cabella's Experience"), and finally stopping in Tecumseh on our way back home. I remembered we had visited the British Pantry and Tea Garden about four years ago and it had made quite an impression. I was anxious to reconnect with this tea room and, after my first cup of Yorkshire Gold (the "house" black tea blended in Yorkshire Dales), I wondered what had taken me so long to get back to this incredibly charming tea room.

Although we were a bit too early for the "afternoon tea" offering, we were delighted with our lunch choices. I had a spinach quiche that was the perfect consistency and packed with flavor. It was served with a homemade spice bread that was delightfully moist and the apple slaw, which is a unique salad concoction you will savor. For dessert, we had carrot cake and a lemon tart. You will definitely want to save up your sweet allotment for this tea parlor and I would highly recommend the Yorkshire Gold as a perfect accompaniment to your meal. It can handle the heartiest of lunches and perfectly off-set the sweetness of dessert.

Men will not feel out of place here, even though they may be in the minority of patrons. The dark wood booths and imposing counter area balance out the flowery teapots and lace curtains. And that goes for the gift shop, too; plenty of delicate, decorative items that will appeal to your feminine side, but the variety of imported foods for sale will delight any gastronome regardless of gender.

The service is great and we met with the manager, Debbie, who was answered all our questions with a smile and enthusiasm. We were checked on regularly to see how we were doing and if we needed more tea - and you absolutely know how important that is!

There's also a room upstairs for special occasions. It was in use during our visit, but not at all interfering with guests on the main floor.

My only regret was that we didn't have more time to try out the many, many teas on the British Tea Gardens loose tea list. That will serve as our excuse to head back to Tecumseh - and, I can tell you this, it won't be another four years!

Another gloved thumbs up to The British Pantry and Tea Garden. A bit of merry old England in southern Michigan.

The British Tea Garden is located at 112 E. Chicago Blvd, Tecumseh, Michigan. For more information click on this link British Tea Garden
. . . and tell them BTS sent you!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Celebrating Like Royal-Tea

Hello Dear Friends!

It appears we have moved from Spring (?) to mid-August heat this week in Michigan, but despite the soaring temps, I am unwavering in taking my hot tea break this afternoon. I'm partaking in Twinings Earl Grey today - Queen Elizabeth's noted afternoon tea favorite - in the spirit of a recent Royal celebration.

In May, my husband, Chris, and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. The weekend before the anniversary date, our children hosted a party for us at my eldest son and his fiance's new (to them!), lake-front home. They corralled the usual suspects to join us for a cook-out, champagne toast, boat rides and a lot of heavy duty lawn chair sitting. When the most taxing activity you do all day is climb on and off the neighbor's pontoon boat, you know you've succumbed to the ultimate in party-time relaxation.

So, in appreciation for all their hard work: to our kids owed, many, many kudos!!

But, wait! There's more! To put the cap on this week of pseudo-nobility, Chris and I treated ourselves to a special dinner for two at the Royal Park Hotel in the city of Rochester. It was such an extravagant experience, that if someone had placed jeweled-crowns on our heads and velvet robes around our shoulders, it would not have seemed out of place. We were seated in a cushy, intimate booth facing the lit fireplace (which only a month ago, was appealing). The hostess and waitress attended to all our needs - some we didn't even know we had - and the dinner culminated with an on-the-house dessert of vanilla ice cream stuffed into delicate cream puffs surrounded by "Happy Anniversary" in chocolate script. It was quite literally, the icing on the cake!

I suppose after all this attention, pampering, catering-to and indulgence, returning to our "ordinary life" could feel a bit like Cinderella after the ball. But, unlike our fabled princess, my little corner is filled with an embarrassment of riches. In my "real life", this weekend, Chris and I were in another world at our cabin up north, plowing through dirt-covered back roads in our Dodge Dakota pick up truck; the one who wasn't driving had bare feet resting on the dashboard, in true hillbilly fashion. The only thing missing was Ellie Mae, Granny and her rocking chair. We stopped at the "Kitchen Kettle" for a hot dog lunch, where nothing is written on the plate - - in ketchup or mustard. But, in my purse, I keep a letter from my son - something he wrote for Chris and I on our 25th. Like many of the best family moments, it was both funny and moving as it touched on the importance of family - the support, love and tolerance - that really make life's journey what it's all about. Whether that journey is via horse-drawn coach, dodge pick-up or ordinary pumpkin, really, who could ask for more?

So, dear friends, it looks as though it may be time to turn on the air conditioning and add some ice cubes to my Earl Grey. It seems there's laundry piling up and my desk is screaming to be decluttered. I'll get to my weekend chores sporting one glass slipper and one flip-flop, but I'll keep the tiara in the closet . . . for now.

Most humbly,


Dining at the Royal Park Hotel

Important Note: The Royal Park Hotel serves Afternoon Tea. Barb's TEA Shop will be organizing an informal excursion on a Saturday this fall. Any who are interested, just email Barb at for future updates.