sandwich

Sunday Afternoon Tea at Sisters Tearoom

I know it has been months since I last blogged, but now as a funemployed college graduate- yes, I said funemployed- I finally have some time on my hands. After an exciting annual trip to Blossom Music Center for my all-time favorite concert, Dave Matthews Band, last night, I woke up this morning in desperate need of some sustenance. I spent the afternoon with my mom at Sisters Tearoom in Mentor, Ohio, and let me tell you, my stomach- and my soul- is very satisfied.

After having years of catering experience, two sisters, Julia and Teresa, wanted to try their luck with a tearoom. They’ve been in business since March 2013, and they’ll be glad to tell you business is booming.

The house itself is the epitome of cute. Each of the three dining rooms is full of tables with mismatched teacups, saucers, water glasses and table cloths, not to mention antique artwork, old family photos and little trinkets that you would never be able to buy anymore. Hues of pink and green align the wallpaper and drapery, and like I said, none of the place settings match with each other, which I love.

The "Dining Room"

The “Dining Room”

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Mismatched!

Although there is a full a la carte menu, my mom and I went the traditional route and had the afternoon tea menu, which included one scone, four tea sandwiches, four mini desserts and a pot of tea each, for only $15! There is also a high tea menu which includes soup and salad, but I couldn’t fathom the thought of any more food than we were given.

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All of the food came out together on traditional stacked tea plates. Up top were the scones- soft and warm, clearly fresh out of the oven, served with homemade lemon curd and clotted cream. The flavor of the day was lemon poppy seed, which paired perfectly with the tart yet sweet curd. On bottom were our tea sandwiches. We chose four sandwiches each out of six, and ironically, my mom and I chose the same four (I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree). I had an open faced cucumber sandwich with green goddess cream cheese and dill, a mild curried chicken salad with grapes on a croissant, a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo on a cheese roll and an open faced egg salad sandwich on a piece of bread cut out in the shape of a star. Each sandwich was flavorful, properly dressed and delicious. I think my favorite was the curried chicken salad sandwich, not only because I love curry so much but because the combination of savory curry with sweet red grapes on a buttery croissant was just divine. It was also the biggest sandwich, which is never a bad thing.

For dessert we had a selection of light as air chocolate cake with a chocolate sauce drizzled over the top, sweet  pineapple upside down cake- maraschino cherry and all, a dense and delicious coconut macaroon, and, my personal favorite, a lemon-lavender cake with the perfect flavor balance between the two star ingredients. Sometimes lavender desserts can be a bit overpowering, but this cake was perfection.

And you can’t have afternoon tea without a pot of piping hot tea, now can you? With a selection of over a dozen teas, I went with a maple blackberry tea. It had just the right amount of fruity and sweet notes, and since I like my tea extra sweet, I was delighted to see the sugar cubes were actually shaped into little teapots and cups! I told you this place screams adorable.

Altogether my mom and I had an excellent experience at Sisters Tearoom, and I can only hope my funemployment streak goes on long enough that I will have a chance to return!

Sisters Tearoom
8595 Mentor Ave.
Mentor, OH 44060
(440) 290-6556

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SerenDIPity

Since moving back to DC for a final year at GW, I have already deemed this the best year yet. I live in an amazing apartment with three amazing girls, but the best part about that is how their love of food is almost as strong as mine. We spent our first Sunday at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Co Co Sala, and we’ve been cooking some delicious gourmet meals every week. But, what I must say has been the most important element to our foodie repertoire is our undying love of dips. Salsa, guacamole, spinach artichoke; you name it, we’ve probably gone through at least a jar and have loved every minute of it.

Living a block away from Trader Joes gives my roommates and I ample opportunities to go grocery shopping and discover new products, even if just by chance, which is what our newest obsession was. I must admit, I was not present to witness the serendipity that occurred when Jill and Kate found this beautiful eggplant garlic spread, but the minute they brought it home and served it to me with pita chips, I was in pure heaven.

My favorite part about this spread is its versatility. We dip chips, rice cakes, carrots, and just about anything with a crunch into it. We even used it in place of marinara sauce on pizza last week. Now that’s what I call pizza.

The ingredients in the dip are simple: eggplant, peppers, tomato concentrate, sunflower oil, garlic, sugar, salt, fefferoni peppers. That’s it. No preservatives or chemicals with names I can’t spell, let alone pronounce. But the flavor is so rich and complex. Hearty, roasted eggplant is most prevalent, with sweet undertones of tomato and a hint of spice from the peppers. The spread is rich without being overbearing, and it coats your mouth with flavor, not tomato paste. If you live within 60 miles of a Trader Joe’s, I highly suggest you leave right now and go find this dip, before it’s off the shelves for good.

Now don’t worry; I’m not going to finish this blog post and leave you empty handed. Besides using this dip on pizza I have also been obsessively spreading it on to sandwiches, and my sandwich of choice is perfect for a Meatless Monday lunch. The layers of flavor and texture are complex and diverse. Creamy eggplant dip is countered with peppery arugula, crunchy cucumber and salty feta cheese, all encompassed by toasty pita bread. It is just filling enough to get you through the rest of everyone’s least favorite day of the week. And, oh yeah, its freaking delicious! Here’s the recipe for my Mediterranean Pita Sandwich:

INGREDIENTS

1 whole wheat pita pocket, halved and toasted

2 tbs Trader Joe’s Eggplant Garlic Spread

2 slices vine ripe tomato

4 slices English cucumber

1 tbs feta cheese

small handful baby arugula

DIRECTIONS

Spread one tablespoon of eggplant spread on each side of the toasted pita. On one half, layer the arugula, followed by the tomato, the cucumber and the feta cheese. Top with the other half of the pita and enjoy immediately!