- Lyn Jensen
By Lyn Jensen
Mother’s Day and tea service — two traditions that make a good pair for a celebration. To celebrate with generations of mothers and children, Elise’s Tea Room in Long Beach will be hosting a Mother’s Day special, May 13. Just be sure you make reservations. They’re necessary for Sunday at Elise’s and doubly so for Mother’s Day.
Owner and executive chef Elise Benavidez — a mother, herself — says she opened the tea room because as a child she loved having tea with her English grandmother, going to English tea rooms in nearby communities. She thought Long Beach could use an English tea room, so she started one.
So for nearly 23 years, Benavidez has been replicating English tea service at her elegant little storefront restaurant at 3924 Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach. Through the years she’s managed the restaurant while raising a family and earning her certificate in hotel restaurant and institutional cooking, baking and chocolate from the Long Beach Culinary Institute.
She’s written a book, Elise’s Tea Room and Recipes: Where Tea Warms the Heart. It includes a history of tea along with her recipes. It’s for sale at the tea room and on Amazon.
She began with her grandmother’s recipes but has developed her own specialties over the years. She serves made-from-scratch soups, salads and baked goods. She also blends her own teas — about 50 flavors, including five different Earl Greys.
At Elise’s Tea Room, tea parties are always happening, regardless of the day on the calendar. Benavidez said workers from nearby businesses often stop in for lunch, and her restaurant is a popular spot for bridal showers, baby showers and Red Hat Society gatherings.
After Mother’s Day, Elise’s Tea Room will host another special event: a party to watch the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Henry. It’ll be televised live at 4 a.m. Pacific Coast time on May 19. For the occasion Benavidez will open up her tea room early so guests may have tea and wedding cake while watching. No breakfast at that hour, however.
“It’s not a breakfast,” she explained. “It’s a tea.”
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Friday. Reservations needed on weekends.
Details: (562) 424-2134; www.ElisesTeaRoom.com
Venue: Elise’s Tea Room, 3924 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach