Today was my first time celebrating International Lolita Day, and my first time ever hosting a meetup! It was a beautiful day, spent having fun with new friends and old friends in some fabulous settings- I think it all went pretty well.
We started the day with brunch at Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls. Classical decor, antique furniture, florals everywhere, and all the appropriate settings for a proper high tea! Elise, the owner, and her resident pastry chef were very welcoming and enthusiastic about our outfits.
It also turned out that we were having tea right next to the local Red Hat Society‘s luncheon, and they invited us over to socialize. Kindred spirits! Everyone was so sweet, and encouraged us to always be original in our personal styles. We’ll certainly try.
Back to the tea! There are 30 different teas on the menu, and my caramel black tea paired very nicely with everything else I ordered. The food was amazing- my sampler set started with a fresh-baked chocolate chip scone and homemade clotted cream, homemade lemon curd, and blackberry jam. I liked combining the lemon and cream.
Next up was a small assortment of sandwiches: chicken curry, apple pecan, and cream cheese with chive. The former and latter were delicious, and the apple pecan was really interesting- it was served on cinnamon raisin bread, and had a nice spiced cream cheese spread.
It was hard to choose a dessert, but I’m glad I went with the chocolate mousse cake, even though it was almost too much to finish! Devil’s food cake, mousse filling, homemade dark chocolate ganache and whipped cream, and a generous sprinkle of mini chocolate chips to top it off.
Afterwards, we went to Rancho Los Alamitos to walk off all those goodies. The Rancho is a heritage site with a working farm, about a dozen gardens to explore, and a preserved ranch house from the 1800s. Everything (including the interior of the Rancho) was already decorated for Christmas!
To kill time before our tour of the house, we visited the animals. The Rancho has these two gorgeous Shire horses that were very interested in our hair accessories.
They let us pet their noses!
A goat that wanted to make sure we were getting his best angles.
Caught this rabbit mid-yawn.
The grounds are open and bright, with fancy chickens roaming around in the open. California got a lot of rain this past week, so everything’s still lush and green.
Another decorative display. Those funny little sheep are everywhere.
The back entrance of the Rancho, with its “secret garden” patio.
The courtyard of the Rancho.
I love all the greenery surrounding the house, and how it all starts to incorporate itself into the structure.
Roses were still in bloom, big and fluffy.
There are multiple little patios on the edges of the rose garden. I’d love to spend an afternoon there in the spring.
A picturesque path leading to the herb garden.
Group shot! I’m on the left. Our group had dwindled a bit, especially after the house tour, but there was still plenty more to see.
The Moreton Bay Figs on the property are a little over a century old and staggeringly huge. They looked amazing as the sun started to set.
The natural gardens were especially gorgeous in the light.
A little stream runs through the natural gardens and winds back and forth under the path. There were so many cute little patches of moss growing on the banks!
All in all, an amazing day. I’m so glad to have had this opportunity, and I can’t wait until next time!