The Rose Tree Cottage is a vacation I never expected. Though a lone tea shop, in the middle of Pasadena, this Victorian house is more than what it seems. You’ll sure to get lost, when looking for this place, lest you look for the fork in the road. And, yes, I do mean, a literal fifteen foot figure, in the shape of a fork, on the road. Please pay attention to the road.
When facing the shop, you’ll be greeted by a British flag, a small quaint garden on the front lawn, and possibly a Jag. Ignore the Jag. Four steps up the stoop, you’ll need to give the front door a good push. Before you will be a closed off stair way going up, to your right will be a charming gift shop with anglophile paraphernalia, and to your left will be the Tea shop. You’ll be greeted by a portrait of the Royal Family and all things British above the entrance to the Tea shop. You’ll be greeted by Mr. Fry, and there the vacation begins.
Take my word for it, you’ll forget that you’re in California, when you enter this place. The accent, the rituals, and the smell of the place screams “Welcome to Britain”. Whenever I take my wife, she squirms in glee having a traditional tea set placed before us, with scones and cream, and lumps of sugar next to a preselected pot of tea. I made the mistake of speaking my mind, and Mr. Fry made sure to correct me in which fork to use. When one comes to England, I think, one will be reminded how unEnglish they are, especially when eating as an American. It was strange. As if I was trapped in a Downtown Abbey special, and didn’t know if I was suppose to act as the Lord of the house, or the servant under Mr. Carson’s regime. In either case, Mr. Fry never stays stiff for long, as he’d be more than happy to converse and help you enjoy your meal with his charm and humor. He’s very warm and welcoming, after you stay for a while.
The meal is delicious. Nothing I’ve had, prior to attending the Rose Tree Cottage. My wife made sure I learned more about the style of food around the British culture soon after. Nevertheless, the tea was amazing. The tea served in the shop comes from their Estate in Kenya, where their nonprofit help the residents of the area stay employed, and in turn manufactures the tea they serve. It’s a lovely business, really. I enjoy their toffee the best. I’ve ordered them for a party once, and Mr. Fry assured me that they bake them on the morning of, when I came to pick them up. It was a nice welcome to the culture, and if anything, it’s best for the home sick. You’ll be sure to find much of the British populace in this one shop.
I recommend this to Anglophiles and those that miss a good cup of British tea. We Americans can’t make a proper cuppa, if this place was the standard. Ask for two bags, whenever you go anywhere else, and make sure it’s stout. Otherwise, you’re doing it all wrong. Come to the Rose Tree Cottage, and relish in the British side of Pasadena.