I lived in the South for half-a-dozen years in the mid-1990’s. One of my BFFs at the time, Linda, and I used to have workweek lunch dates (until the extra pounds from all that luscious food pointed us in the direction of Weight Watchers!). I’ve recently been reminiscing about the Glenwood Tea Room in Shreveport, LA. The patrons were mostly women, although if a guy had lunch there you could almost always bet that he ordered the Chicken and Wild Rice Crepe, which was the most substantial item on the menu. Personally, I love the tea sandwiches, in particular the watercress and cucumber ones. The whole tea room experience makes me feel dainty and feminine, which is pretty impressive considering I often think of myself as a bull in a china shop. Being a clutz was why my mom started me in ballet classes, which helped, but only as long as I was on stage… I could literally trip heading off stage after performing ballet, tap, toe and jazz dance.
Glenwood was my first tea room experience and the first time I tried devonshire cream, lemon curd and scones… and I’ve loved them ever since. Our local Trader Joe’s grocery makes a box scone mix that is easy to make, moist and yummy. They also sell a great lemon curd, even though I’ve made it from scratch, too. There’s probably a simple answer to where to find devonshire cream for my scones, but it’s definitely better I don’t know about it.
So, recently, I decided to find and try out the local tea rooms in San Diego, CA. My first reservation was for tea and scones at the Coral Tree Tea House in the historical 1887 McConaughy House in Old Town Heritage Park. I took an art book from the library and read almost two-thirds of it, enjoying my tea (kept warm in a lovely silver tea warmer) and scones and walking away brimming with creative mixed media ideas I couldn’t wait to try out. Their website says that Sunday August 7th is National Sisters Day… My sister lives in the Midwest, but if yours is nearby plan your own celebration, maybe even Afternoon Tea?
I was inspired to make three textured fruit paintings from that lovely afternoon sipping tea and reading about art.
A couple of weeks later, I visited Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe & Tea Room who promote a traditional UK Afternoon Tea. I have to say that the chutney style relish for the Sausage Roll was a new favorite. Actually, I think they call it the Branston Pickle and I meant to see if they sell it in the Corner Shoppe but later forgot about taking a jar home. I did pick up a bottle of Ribena Black Currant Juice for topping off a favorite hard cider (as served in the Shakespeare Pub next door). I also thoroughly enjoyed the roast beef with horseradish, the cucumber and the salmon spread tea sandwiches, and the outdoor patio venue with the lovely cool breeze.
I realized while reading the mixed media book of my choice during this afternoon tea that with photos I had taken of pieces I’ve already sold, I can make prints on canvas to sell in my Etsy shop, therefore while my original paintings may be gone, they aren’t forgotten or gone forever! I’m trying metal prints as well as prints on canvas. These are intensely gorgeous and I love the metal surface!
Today I headed to Point Loma for Tea Upon Chatsworth’s Queen Tea. I’d have to say that I felt a bit rushed to “get through” tea and be on my way. I was not very impressed with the warm eats, the scone was dry and I took most of the desserts home to eat later, but the chocolate mousse was a nice touch and I loved the tea! I even bought a bag of the Apricot Black Tea to make at home. I had a pot of that warm and an iced German Ginger herbal tea. The pot did not have a warmer so it was lukewarm before the end of tea. This was disappointing as it was delicious warm, but I added it into the remaining iced ginger tea and was thrilled with how much the flavor intensified.
On a different note entirely, drinking all that tea usually means a trip to the Ladies’ Room and my advice is to be sure to take your cell phone with you! Weird, huh? Well, I remember a recently closed scrapbooking store, The Making Place, in Escondido, CA, that had wonderful knick knacks and vintage pieces everywhere. There was plenty of inspiration to snap photos of, particularly the vintage photos in the restroom. So I’ve actually found that unique little spots like these often have kitchy decor in the restrooms and Tea Upon Chatsworth did not disappoint. A hand crocheted holder for the spare toilet paper roll, a magazine sized book of the Top 50 fav Norman Rockwell paintings, and a couple of colorful tea drinker paintings on the walls. Think Klimt or Matisse meets Israeli artist Isaac Maimon or teenage artist Dimitri Milan… a vibrant visual feast!
And today’s art book revelation was an idea of how to repurpose the slide frames (and the photo negatives inside) into separate 2″ pieces of mini art and then adhere those in rows on a canvas. Should be fun to play around with different techniques and patterns!