I'm strictly a female female ... I enjoy being a girl.
This is not going to be an objective food report. Tea for Alice, a new East Bay Tea Room serving a nice selection of Teance teas, has turned me from a business woman into a girly girl.
It is so darn cute ... all done up in pastels ... serving pink and white iced petite fours and green princess cake. Women walk up to the door, peek in the window and involuntarily put on their Mona Lisa smiles. Suddenly you are five years old again and having afternoon tea ... but with real tea.
This is a place to seriously consider for having a shower or getting the ladies together, as the website below says, for an un-birthday. Very charming setting for a mother / daughter outing. I wanted to go out immediately and adopt an eight year old. Great place of a little girls birthday party.
And you have to like a place that quotes Lewis Carroll at the top of the menu:
How do you know Im mad? said Alice.
You must be, said the cat or you wouldnt have come here.
Yes, Im mad about the ambiance of Tea for Alice. The walls are painted light lavender. The tablecloths are pale yellow and set with tableware and linen napkins in four pastel shades ... pink, blue, green and yellow. One pastel-colored fresh rose is on each table.
Valences of crisp white scalloped curtains on the bottom half of the windows allow the sun to shine in while blocking out the view of the San Pablo Avenue sidewalk. A print of the Cheshire cat grins on one wall
It inspired me to order the most expensive item ... The Cheshire Cat Tea with a selection of two types of tea sandwiches, a scone served with preserves, lemon curd and Devon cream, an assortment of sweets and a pot of Tea ($15.95).
Tea and items can also be ordered a la carte ... even take-out. A pot of Teance tea is $5.
A la carte items include: Madelines ($.75) princess cake ($3.50), petite fours ($2.75),two scones with lemon curd and Devon cream ($4.75) tea sandwich ($3), a dozen assorted cookies ($5) and chocolate truffles (4 for $1), There is also soup for $3 and a tomato and avocado salad for $5.50.
The selection of sandwiches includes: egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, ham and herbed cream cheese, ham and Dijon mustard, cucumber and cream cheese, turkey and cream cheese, turkey and Dijon mustard, turkey and cranberry sauce, roast beef and horseradish, chopped olive, peanut butter and jelly, jelly and cream cheese.
Soups and sandwiches are made in-house. Baked goods are from Arlington Bakery and Virginia Bakery.
My order came on a three-level caddy, the top with four sandwich quarters and a slice of orange, the middle with a cranberry scone, Devon cream, jam and lemon curd, the bottom with a pink and white petite four, a cookie and chocolate truffle.
Im not sure who made the truffle but it was very good with a bittersweet edge. The rest of the baked goods were Virginia Bakery quality.
Given the excellent quality of Teance teas and the pretty room, some of the baked goods and sandwiches could have been at a higher level and had better plating. Bread was ordinary white and wheat with crusts cut off. Skip the turkey which was just deli turkey with canned cranberry sauce. The horseradish/roast beef was fine, but Id try the other sandwiches.
Given the cute setting, Id stop by for tea and cake. It makes a nice break after shopping at El Cerrito plaza. The better value would be a pot of tea and ordering a la carte. There is a special holiday tea on December 24th which is on the website.
Other tea options are (all include a pot of tea):
The White Rabbit - $14.50 finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, sweets
The Mad Hatter $11.25 - finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, scones
Lady Tabitha - $10.50 sweets
The Dormouse $9.50 pot of tea, two scones, lemon curd, preserves, Devon cream
There is a childrens tea called the Tweedle Dee Tea ($9.50) which includes one finger sandwich, a scone, fresh fruit, one sweet and a choice of lemonade, hot chocolate or tea.
The current tea menu (not sure if all of it is from Teance):
White tea: White Peony, Longevity Brows Jasmine, Silver Needle
Green tea: Dragon Well, White Dragon Pearl Jasmine, Immortal, Peach, Love at First Site (the jasmine tea wrapped around a clover that blooms).
Oolong: Formosa Oolong, Jade Green Tikuanyin Oolong, Monkey picked Tikuanyin
Black tea: Keemum Red, Yunnan Golden Tips, Lichee Red, Earl Grey, Chai Spice, Orange Spice
Herbal: Red Rosebuds, Chrysanthemum, Armenian Wild Mint, Chamomile Lemon, Organic Rooiboos.
Not far from Berkeley, in El Cerrito is a little oasis. Heres to the ladies who lunch.