As for the tea itself, we recommend the white ambrosia, a delicious blend with hints of vanilla. To go along with the hot drink, the hotel serves a traditional three-course meal of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. The scones, though simple, were a highlight. We got plain and raisin scones that were buttery and warm. Among the desserts, the chocolate cherry bombs, brownies subtly infused with cherry liqueur, and the rich opera cake did a good job satisfying our sweet tooth. The tea sandwiches had some nice additions; we liked the marble rye in one sammie and the addition of chunks of bacon to the egg salad selection.
This was one of the less formal teas we've attended. That's not to say that people were openly belching or wearing bathing suits at the tables. The food wasn't served in the typical tiered platter; the courses came out separately on plain dishes. And no one batted an eyelash when a tea drinker showed up in jeans. But those might be byproducts of San Diego's already chill attitude toward everything.
The royal tea, which includes a glass of bubbly, costs about $50.
[Photos: Jennifer Kester]