Trekked down to San Juan Capistrano this past Sunday with some friends for brunch at the Tea House on Los Rios. It was well worth the trip!
The three of us had originally planned to go to the larger meetup being held there, but there was a bit of a last-minute snafu on the venue’s part that complicated the reservation for the larger party, so we ended up making a smaller side reservation on our own. It was a bit of a bummer not being able to socialize with the full group during brunch, but the upside was getting to order from the full menu instead of the set event menu. I got to try the pomegranate mimosa, made with fresh juice from the pomegranates from their orchard- very strong and very tasty!
Our little side group (the “dietary restrictions and picky eaters club”, haha). My friends always look so elegant! <3 And I finally got to try coordinating my Minette JSK- definitely the sweetest outfit I've ever worn, but perfect for tea.
For brunch, I had the Salmon Benedict, which was amazing. The filets were huge, the eggs were poached perfectly, and the crumpets were a really nice alternative to the usual English muffin. I could definitely get behind having heartier fare like this instead of the usual selection of light foods for tea- it was so filling that I didn’t even eat dinner that night.
I also liked how they plated each dish with fresh flowers! Such a sweet touch.
My tablemates both ordered The Prince’s Lost Bread, a very generous serving of homemade brioche French toast stuffed with cream cheese and fruits. It smelled so delicious when they brought them to the table! I love that fresh cinnamon-y scent. We were all very pleased with what we each ordered.
I had checked out the tea house’s Yelp reviews a while prior to our trip, and while I think the reviews are accurate, we definitely had a better time there than they’d lead you to believe. Having a small party, making reservations, ordering more substantial food instead of the sets and appetizers, and paying in cash made it a really pleasant visit (and to be honest, these are generally good rules of thumb for whenever you’re dining out). Service was a bit slow, but that just meant more time for conversation, and the waitstaff were always professional and friendly. If I’m ever in the area again, I’d like to come back.
The interior of the teahouse was a little old-fashioned, but the exterior gardens were pretty quirky. They use a lot of salvaged stained-glass windows as decoration, which has a neat effect.
Since it’s in the historical district, the neighboring houses all have old-fashioned architecture and really gorgeously-kept gardens. You can see them from the teahouse’s patio while you brunch!
Once we connected with the main group, we explored the butterfly garden next door. There were only a few butterflies at this time of year, but the flowers were lovely, as was everyone who showed up!
It was a hot day, though, so once we were finished exploring Los Rios, the meet organizers led us to 3:16 Bakery for gelato and frozen drinks. The staff there were incredibly accommodating and took photos with us for their Facebook page, and even gave us some homemade cookies on the house. Super nice of them, to say the least! This is kind of a terrible photo, but you can see the cookies behind my sorbet (which was amaaaazing).
And to round out all the sweet experiences, one of the organizers had made fluffy little teacup brooches to give to each attendee as a souvenir of the meetup- so thoughtful, I loved it! Mine matched perfectly with my outfit, too. It was a really great day!