Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Scarlet Tea Room

For those of you who have never been to the Scarlet Tea Room in Pasadena, I encourage you to make a visit. Just standing in front of the entrance, you already get a sense of something unique when you're faced with a red shimmery door. Once you enter, you're transported to an elegant space with a gold and cream color scheme and when you look up, you'll see beautiful crystal chandeliers.

Once you're seated, owner, Karen, comes out to tell you what to expect with the Scarlet Tea Ceremony. Her descriptions of the delectable treats to come really raised expectations and believe me, we weren't disappointed.

The Scarlet Tea Ceremony consists of five courses:

- signature sorbet
- fresh homemade curd with lemon curd, seasonal preserves and signature "Scarlet" cream
- assorted tea sandwiches (4 for each person)
- assorted mini desserts
- strawberries Romanoff
- choice of loose tea

We start off with a beautifully red or dare I say "scarlet" strawberry-orange sorbet, which had a nice hit of tartness and also a great consistency, not too icy, not too slushy. What a great way to cleanse your palate for what was to follow.

Along with the sorbet, tea service began and for our large group, we had three different teas to choose from. Unfortunately, I don't remember the names of the teas, but we had a black tea, a green tea and a decaffeinated herb-infused tea.

Soon we all ooohed and aahhhed as the tiers of scones and sandwiches started arriving at our tables. Everyone reached for the scones and what heavenly creatures they were. I liked that they still had a bit of the crumble factor; yet, the bread had some good moisture to it and wasn't as dry as a dessert. The lemon curd that came with the scones was so good, I could have inhaled it and the cream, oh that whipped cream, was light, fluffy, fresh and just so divine.

Once we made short work of our scones, we started digging into the sandwiches. There was quite a variety so not one person had the same exact four sandwiches. For my selection, I had the roasted red pepper and olive tapenade, egg salad, ham and cheese and proscuitto and roasted red pepper sandwiches. While I found the egg salad sandwich uninteresting, my other three choices had lots of great flavor. My favorite was the roasted red pepper and olive tapenade sandwich. Sometimes tapenade can be too salty, but this one was just right and complimented well with the sweetness of the roasted red peppers.

After our sandwiches, out came the tray of mini desserts. They all looked so colorful and delectable, it was hard to choose. After sampling the lemon sponge cake, the pistachio cake and one of the smaller candy coated cakes, nothing really wowed me. While all the cakes were moist, there was something missing. Up to that point, we experienced many different tastes, tart, savory, buttery, salty (a good kind), but the desserts seemed a little bland in comparison.

Finally, at the end of the tea ceremony, we were treated to the strawberries Romanoff, which is a dessert consisting of strawberries that were soaked in a citrus liquer mixed with whipped cream that was light, creamy and delicious- a perfect end to a wonderful tea.

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Scarlet Tea Room from the service to the food to the ambiance and I would definitely make a return visit.

To see all the pics, go to:

Scarlet Tea Room
18 W Green St
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 577-0051

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