Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Day 5 - La Mesa, California

Several years ago I had dreams and aspirations of opening a tearoom.  So in 2002 I went to Columbus, Georgia for a three day conference/seminar on How to Open a Tearoom for Profit sponsored by Magnolia & Ivy [taught by two sisters who successfully owned several tearooms in Georgia].  

While there, I met 20 other tea-loving ladies who were also aspiring to open a tearoom. One of those ladies was Lorna, from Southern California.  Things never worked out for me to open my tearoom, but Lorna got to fulfill her dream when she opened The Aubrey Rose Tea Room in La Mesa, California.  

We kept in touch infrequently, but when putting the itinerary together for this trip, I knew I wanted to see her, if possible.  She and her husband sold the tearoom in 2017 [after 14 years of ownership], but they sold it to two of their employees so it's still in business and doing very well.  

After a phone conversation with Lorna plans were made to meet-up at the tearoom on Friday morning, April 12th.

Jerry and I left the hotel in Laguna Hills early to allow plenty of time to drive the 76 miles to La Mesa for our 11:00 a.m. reservations.  Traffic moved smoothly and we even had time to stop at a California Welcome Center in Oceanside.

The city [at least what we saw of it] was beautiful, and so was the weather.

Bird of Paradise plants abound.

 Destination - The Aubrey Rose Tea Room

Lorna said she chose that name because Jesus Christ is referred to as the Rose of Sharon in the Bible, and a man named Aubrey told her about Jesus and the personal relationship she could have with Him if she confessed her sins and dedicated her life to Him.  Every time someone asked the origin of the tearoom's name, it gave her an opportunity to share her faith.  

We arrived a few minutes before Lorna, so I used that time to take pictures of the tearoom.

Heather, one of the new owners, was working at the reception/check-out desk.

A table was reserved for us.

I ordered the Aubrey Rose house blend - a lush, tropically flavored black tea with the richness of peach, mango, apple, orange and guava.  Very good!

Jerry and I ordered the Queen Victoria option on the menu.  It began with Cream of Sherry Mushroom Soup, and a warm caramelized Brussels Sprout Crostini.

Followed by the three-tiered server.

Savories [Bottom Tier]:  Egg Salad on Wheat Bread; Cucumber & Cream Cheese on White Bread; Manchego & Red Pepper Palmier; Green Bean Garlic Fondue on a toasted Baguette; and a Parmesan-Herb Sconette.

Scones [Middle Tier]:  Apricot Scones with Lemon Curd and Mock Devonshire Cream and Fresh Fruit [Orange and Pineapple slices].

Desserts [Top Tier]:  Paris Shortbread with Bergamot Citrus Glaze; Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce and Cream; and a petite Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

[L-R:  Lorna, Me, and Jerry]

La Mesa has a farmers market on main street [La Mesa Blvd.] every Friday afternoon, so we had to finish our visiting earlier than we wanted so Jerry could move our car from metered parking where the vendors set-up their merchandise.  Not to worry though, because one of the highlights of our traveling down to the San Diego area was to attend Palm Sunday worship service at Dr. David Jeremiah's church [Shadow Mountain, main campus] - which happens to be where Dave and Lorna attend - giving us one more opportunity to meet-up.

Through Lorna's passion for tea, she was instrumental in helping Shadow Mountain Church establish a vital, on-going ladies tea ministry.

[Lorna and Me]

I was pretty disciplined on this trip about not making a lot of purchases since we were flying home and space was limited, but I couldn't resist these china napkin rings.  They aren't Old Country Roses, but they will coordinate nicely with the Old Country Roses china pattern.  And they barely took up any space in my suitcase.

After leaving La Mesa we headed down to Mission Valley/San Diego area where we spent two days and enjoyed two more tea experiences and some wonderful sightseeing.


  1. Aubrey Rose is a lovely tearoom. How nice that you were able to reconnect with Lorna. I was fortunate to be able to enjoy tea there several times with Val and other ATAA members. Lorna was such a lovely hostess and her tiered servers always looked so nice with fresh flowers and herbs. It is wonderful to know that her legacy is being carried on in her spirit with her touches and some of her special recipes. I do remember how good that bread pudding and some of the savories you mention tasted!

  2. I love the story behind the name of that tea room! And looking at the yummy tea treats makes me want to go have tea somewhere. Your napkin rings are beautiful and the perfect size for a souvenir. I'm enjoying reading about your trip!

  3. So happy you got to meet up with Lorna there, and we had nice weather for you. I miss both her and Dave. I'm about 20 mins away from there. I was there a few weeks ago celebrating my birthday. I haven't been able to go as much because many of my friends have gone on to other pursuits, or work, so the chances are slim for tea dates. I love the Aubrey Rose Tea Blend.

  4. I was there a couple of years ago! There was a festival going on in the street but the tearoom was closed 😔 I peeked in the window though! Looks like a beautiful time for you and Jerry!

  5. Oh it is so fun to see Lorna here. I took that same seminar in Georgia. This is one tea room I have been to a few years ago and loved visiting with Lorna also. I had not heard the story of how she named the tearoom. Thanks for sharing.


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