San Marino

Take The Huntington's Famous ‘Tea for Two' Outside

Savor the flavor of fine tea leaves, while gazing upon the leaves in nature, at the San Marino gardens.

The Huntington/Susan Gary

What to Know

  • The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino
  • Enjoy small sandwiches and traditional treats on the 1919 café patio (do order ahead of your visit online)
  • $85 plus tax; you'll also need an advance ticket to The Huntington or a member ticket

So many pretty parts of a traditional tea, the sort of stately service that includes a three-tiered stand brimming with beautiful sandwiches, snacks, treats, and, oh yes, scones, too, find their inspiration in nature.

It isn't just the cucumbers on the small, crust-free sandwiches nor the fruits found in the jammy sweets that hail from the outdoor world; the tea in the lovely pot is another nice gift of nature.

But lovers of this hallowed and happy tradition usually enjoy their afternoon tea under a roof, surrounded by walls. True, there are often beautiful views of plants seen through a window, but the tea-drinkers and scone-eaters are most definitely inside.

Here's a timely, tea-scented twist to this august pastime: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is offering a "Tea for Two" service on the patio of the 1919 café.

Long one of Southern California's best-known places for breaking a scone with a friend or family member, The Huntington has worked to continue this classic custom, even as its famous Rose Garden Tea Room remains closed.

The $85-plus-tax tea includes "... afternoon tea with all your Huntington favorites including tea, scones with clotted cream and lemon curd, cucumber sandwiches, macarons, and more!"

The sandwich selection includes a "(s)teak au poivre with provolone, watercress, and horseradish aioli on Larder Bakery pumpernickel," while a triple chocolate cheesecake is among the tempting confections.

The full list of what you might expect to see on the picturesque tiered stand may be found here. And picking your tea? That's possible, of course, but of course you'll want to give the Rose Tea, a sippable symbol of the San Marino landmark, special consideration.

Ordering ahead? You'll want to do so. Having a ticket to The Huntington that you purchased in advance, or a member ticket? Also an essential part of the process.

Taking your tea adjacent to nature, under the sky, as a flower-fragrant breeze lightly trips through the patio?

The stunner of a setting is more unusual for this particular repast, it's true, but it fits the nature-loving character of a traditional tea service well.

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