Afternoon tea and scones are ubiquitous of a European lifestyle. You don’t see much of it here, let alone partake in this little luxury on a daily basis. However, should you wish to indulge once in a while, Coffee Tea & Tulips in Mission Viejo offers a variation of the traditional English high tea complete with scones and sandwiches, except here, they are called “sandweeches”.
Chef Michael Samawi runs this little establishment along with his wife Lina. The menu is extensive because besides the draw of afternoon tea, breakfast and lunch selections are also available for those in the neighborhood wishing to pop by for a bite to eat.
We sampled the Cream Tea ($8.25) service consisting a pot of tea of your choosing as well as a scone with house-made cream and imported jam.
On the day of our visit we sampled a traditional as well as a seasonal pumpkin ginger scone.
I chose Earl Grey with Lavender as my tea while my friend opted for Midnight In Paris, a black tea with a hint of vanilla, creme de coconut and ginger.
The menu reflects dishes inspired by the owners’ middle eastern heritage as well as influences gathered from their travels. Fattoush ($4.50) is traditionally a bread salad, and here, is Chef Michael’s own take includes greens, olive tapenade, cucumbers, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, mint, sumac, mint, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and pita chips.
Sliced Egg and Tomato ($3.25), I’m told is Lina’s favorite item on the menu. Slices of tomato is topped with sliced hard boiled eggs, anchovies and drizzled with red wine vinegar and cracked black pepper.
If you are visiting with your girlfriends for afternoon tea, you can choose the Finger Sandweech Tapas Tray ($27.95) which allows you to to pick three deluxe sandweeches along with Fattoush.
Turkey Pesto ($8.95/as a whole sandwich) is quite delicious with turkey breast, bacon, tomatoes, greens, gorgonzola, sun-dried tomato, purple onion and pesto. The bread is fresh with wonderful texture which is vital to any great sandwich.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian/vegan sandwich, look no further than Point Reyes Station ($7.25). Cream cheese, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, avocado, spinach, pesto and purple onion is sandwiched between toasted whole grain bread. I actually thought the sandwich might include Point Reyes blue cheese given the name, but it was because of the Samawis’ tie to their old home in the Bay Area which attributes to the various menu items with noticeable northern Californian monikers.
Cordon Bleu ($8.95) may not be the prettiest sandwich but trust me when I say, it’s pretty darn tasty. Grilled chicken, ham, spicy mustard, bacon, olive tapenade, swiss and gorgonzola cheese served on ciabatta bread was my favorite. The chicken is tender and juicy and makes a perfect filling for the crusty ciabatta. An absolute delight if you ask me!
While the tea service is quaint and unique, it is the sandweeches which shine here. Fresh ingredients prepared with care — that’s evident of every sandweech Chef Michael brings to the table. Sure, book a tea service for a special occasion, but come back regularly for lunch and you can pretty much have a different sandwich every day of the month with the wide selection available.
25280 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692