I’m not just saying this because Charles is in here, staring over my shoulder, watching me type. I’m saying it because it’s true: I love tea. Love it.
Years before I ever started working at Bread & Cie, my friend Angela and I would have lunch at the Cafe several times a week specifically because they carried a Japanese milk tea. (Where is that, by the way, Charles?) My Facebook profile lists “tea time” as one of my main interests. One of the first things my husband and I did after we got engaged in London was go to Harrods for high tea, where we were served tiny cucumber sandwiches, scones with fresh cream and all the Darjeeling our giddy selves could drink.
So when I found out Bread & Cie now serves a French Metro Tea in the afternoons, my first reaction was (with apologies to Liz Lemon), “I want to go to there.”
I invited two girlfriends, Keli and Maya, to meet me at the Cafe on a busy Saturday afternoon and they happily obliged. They didn’t even grumble about the parking situation, which on that day was a bit horrendous.
We picked from a list of teas from the San Diego-based Tea Gallerie – which included everything from green, herbal and white teas. But because I can’t drink mine without milk in it, I opted for a black tea – Coconut Cacao, which has a hint of chocolate, vanilla and coconut. Another thing I did, which maybe I shouldn’t admit because I was still officially on the clock, was I got a glass of Prosecco. It costs an additional four dollars and is totally worth it.
After about 10 minutes, a lovely, three-tiered plate of treats arrived at our table. The top plate had fresh fruit, scones and clotted cream. Some assorted tea sandwiches, including the obligatory cucumber and cream cheese, were on the second level. And the bottom plate was full of pastries, like French Macarons, mini cupcakes and lemon bars.
I’m telling you, it was so pretty that at least two tables next to us were inspired to order it for themselves.
As we sampled and chatted, it hit me just how very easy and casual this was. The reason I don’t go to tea in San Diego is because it seems so exhausting. You have to make a reservation and get dressed up and be on your best behavior because the plates are probably very fancy. But, as the name implies, the French Metro Tea is definitely more metropolitan and modern yet still retains the “specialness” that comes with going to tea.
So what were our favorites? Obviously the tea, especially if you choose an adventurous flavor like Maya’s Chocolate Mint Red. The clotted cream you put on the warm scones is so perfect you’ll want to eat it straight from a spoon. You can never go wrong with any of our pastries, especially the brightly colored Macarons. But our very favorite was a grilled cheese that’s not just cheesy on the inside but also has a crisp layer of cheese on the outside.
Our French Metro Tea is served from 2 to 5 p.m. daily for $15. 95 a person. As mentioned earlier, Prosecco is available for an additional $4. No reservations necessary, just order at the counter.