Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tea for Two

When it is a beautiful, sunny, spring day the road will beckon to you. "Let's go out of town", it says. So you pile into the car and happily continue for a nice Sunday drive to a picturesque town called Nevada City.

Well, actually, the purpose of the trip was to return a defective wine opener that was bought in one of those quaint gift shops in December. But the reason is just the excuse you need to visit NC. Even though I've been to the same shops over and over again, I still go into them.

One time last year we were there and stumbled across the Top Floor Tea Room after we had already eaten. We knew we would have to go back some day to try the scones. Today was the lucky day. We arrived at around 11:00 and found that the after-church crowd had not arrived yet. The tea room is situated on the top floor (obviously) of an old merchant building with an antique store occupying the first floor. As you can see in the picture, it is all very 'quaint'. The menu consists of light salads and sandwiches, soup and quiches. Or you can opt for a 'tea' tray. We chose the top-of-the-line 'Top Floor Platter'.

There were four quiches that day and I selected the 'Alsace', thin sliced potatoes, bacon, and caramelized onions. We shared one slice and then split all the tray goodies. There were two scones, a lemon and an apricot. They were served with a little pot of jam, another of lemon curd, and the third with the clotted cream. The next plate had an assortment of finger/tea sandwiches. One had an egg salad with tarragon, another with a chicken curry salad, one with a tuna salad, a cucumber sandwich and, finally, a smoked salmon. The last plate had the sweets. There was a small bowl of panna cotta with berries, a puff filled with chocolate mousse, a biscotti, a cookie, a lemon square, and a slice of flourless chocolate cake.

The tea room has plenty of tea, of course. They have over 50 varieties of loose teas and then coffee as well. I have never been a coffee or tea drinker, but I know there are so many kinds out there that I probably just need more exposure to them. We agreed to try a fruity blend of strawberries and other things (can't remember) in a mix called 'Alice's something or other' (memories really getting bad). It was a lovely dark rosey-colored tea that was just right for tea novice Catherine.

The servers were attentive and explained everything to you. Your bill arrives with an invitation to shop the store downstairs with a coupon. We stumbled out into the glorious sunshine with happy grins and satisfied bellies. The perfect brunch was light, tasty, evenly balanced savory and sweet and all within a beautiful, relaxed setting.

Top Floor Tea is at 210 Main St. in Nevada City and serves tea until 4.
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