By Kristine Hoang
By Ryan Ritchie
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Cleo Tobbi
By Dominique Boubion
Photo by Tenaya HillsItwasadampday,prettyandgraysotheflowers (so carefully cultivated to look wild and blowsy) overrunning the Los Rios Historic District would pop like posies against an English sky. It was all terribly WutheringHeights:the low, misty heavens; the tea house; the ramshackle beauty of San Juan Capistrano's most delightful and ancient neighborhood; the ladies in hats; my friend talking about anal sex as the ladies in hats quieted their conversations for long pauses at a time, necks and ears craned in horror at the travesty of our table.
My friend now claims he wasn't talking about anal sex that day at the Tea House on Los Rios—he remembers it as somehowwe got onto anal sex. Nope. Somehow hestarted talking about anal sex! Him! It was him! I was being quietand genteelbecause we were havingtea.
You cantake me places, which is more than I can say for Assy over there.
31731 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Region: San Juan Capistrano
And not only was my friend saying the terrible things in which I usually delight, but also we made it quite clear as we had our tea and scone at a place where no other men were currently being caught dead that my friend was not my husband, but indeed someone else's husband, and in fact, before my friend's wife was my friend's wife, he had another wife, who was not the current wife, if'n you know what I mean. So if they'd listened properly—and you know they did—they would have found that my friend and his wife, who was not me, had once been embroiled in a torrid passion, and they could have supposed—and you know they did—that my friend was now having another.
I was having a lovely jasmine green tea; he chose an inky Earl Gray. With a sweet thoughtfulness, our Chatty Cathy waitress found the most masculine teapot she could for his tea—an almost modern, chunky yet sleek-lined off-white; mine was properly girly, in pink with delicate roses. The tea was loose, with clever little strainers atop our cups, which we delighted in pouring. Delighted, I say!
The old cats would have been wrong, of course, as I'm not that kind of girl and, as even my son would tell you, my friend's wife is far more glamorous than I, anyway. But you couldn't have blamed them for supposing: What kind of man, after all, would go to a tea house and have tea (and a scone) if he wasn't being forced to by the woman who called his shots?
He's really just that kind of guy. You know: sortofgay.
After we finished our gigantic scone, a scone that came free with the $13.95 "Cottage Tea" service, a scone so soft and unlike your usual, run-of-the-mill scones it was to everyday scones what Cate Blanchett is to Tara Reid, we indulged in a salad. The abruzzi comprises tri-colored tortellini with celery, black olives, tomatoes and onion, all dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and delicately topped with salami and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
I've got to explain here that the ass-talk, if it were ass-talk, wasn't the least little bit prurient (it might have, now that I think of it, been talk of blowjobs instead). It was something in the newsthat had us talking that way. Boy-buggering priests, perhaps, or the Right's jihad against sex ed. Really, I've blocked it out.
We wanted to get the shepard's pie, with its prime rib and vegetables in brown gravy topped with mashed potatoes, but we didn't have time, as it takes a good 20 minutes to prep a nice good roast. The abruzzi, though, was really quite tasty and big enough to share (for people who eat like birds).
And the tea and scone, again, were quite delicious and genteel, just as the little story on the tea house's menu of its origins elucidates the tea house is! And I quote, "A special place where guests could enjoy each other's company in a quite, genteel setting. This would indeed be unique, relevant and healing in today's stress-filled society."
Indeed, and it was all those things—except maybe for the ladies in hats who sat beside us.
THE TEA HOUSE ON LOS RIOS, 31731 LOS RIOS, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, (949) 443-3914. OPEN WED.-FRI., 11 A.M.-5 P.M.; SAT.-SUN., 10 A.M.-5 P.M. (CALL FOR SHOWERS!) CHAMPAGNE AND WINE. BRUNCH FOR TWO, $10-$25. ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED.