April 23, 2013

Afternoon Tea: Chado Tea Room

I always seek out tea places when I travel so when I knew I would be in dowtown Los Angeles recently, I reserved a 2:30 slot for afternoon tea at the Chado Tea Room. The tea room is inside the Japanese American National Museum.

The service was slow but I attributed my perception of the pace to the difference between New York and the West Coast!  A hot and dusty Santa Ana wind practically blew me to the tea room so I was disappointed that I was not offered water.  Perhaps the default is to wait for the customer to request water service given the droughty conditions of Los Angeles.

The tea list at Chada is extensive.  The tea shop carries "over 300 different types of specialty teas."  The Turkish black tea was not available so I ordered a pot of green tea from India.  That's unusual, right? The tea was a wiry green grown on the Oothu Estate.

I was hopeful that the tea foods would be Japanese inspired since the tea room is in the Japanese American National Museum.  It was not.  The tea tray was arranged with the sandwiches on the top tier, scones on the middle tier, and sweets on the bottom tier.  I am accustomed to the sweets on the top tier and the sandwiches on the bottom.  There were three, toasted half sandwiches of cucumber, egg, and olive paste and an open face toast with salmon.  My favorites were the egg and olive sandwiches; I ate them so quickly I forgot to photograph them.  The sweets were disappointing.  The scone was the best thing about this afternoon tea.  The jam was perfectly sweetened, the cream was thick, the strawberries perfectly ripe, and the scone was warm and moist.

Unfortunately, I would not reserve afternoon tea here again though I would get a scone and tea to-go.  Next time I am in Los Angeles, it might be worthwhile to go further afield.

Do you have a favorite tea place in Los Angeles?

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