Monday, September 12, 2005

Williams Coffee Pub Stratford

Williams Coffee Pub on Erie Street in Stratford was small but friendly. Cleanliness was okay. Lorine had some of their chocolate covered cream filled donuts and pronounced them much better than Tim Horton. The Chicken wraps were tasty.

All in all, a good experience, much better than the OTHER Williams Coffe Pub in Stratford! Let's give this Cofee Pub 3 out of 5. 1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Pie Plate, Virgil Ontario

The Pie Plate Bakery & Cafe in Virgil looks cute from the outside. Inside is a different story. Forget "shabby chic" this is just plain shabby! The couch is threadbare and looks like it has survived from 1953. Loose threads were hanging from the cushions.

Everything had that neglected feel and our table was dirty, with crumbs and other food bits.

I had coffee and a lemon tart. Both were very good although Pie Plate was a bit stingy on the lemon filling. Brian had organic apple juice which he hated - it was full of apple chunks and the colour of (dare I say it?) urine.

2 tea cup rating for tea room reviewsI rate Pie Plate as 2 teacups out of 5

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Chicken Coop Bakery & Snack Bar, Greenback Ontario

I really liked Chicken Coop Bakery & Snack Bar in Greenback Ontario. It's nothing to look at from outside, or inside for that matter... but... the food is really good! And the staff are friendly and helpful.

It's a big building full of tables with baked goods. Each set of baked delights has a yellow card labelled with the name of the item. Hungry for more healthy foods? The fridges and freezers are full of such itmes as chicken pot pies, quiches, etc. Each is clearly labelled as to what it is.

You get a tray, walk around and choose your items. I picked a chicken pot pie and cheese danish. Then you take your tray to the cashier, where they heat up any pies etc, you get your hot or cold drink and off you go. You choose a table, take your tray and enjoy. The meal was delicious. For reading pleasure there's all kinds of chicken posters and information on the walls.

I hope to return and learn the story behind the name and the chicken information.

It's cute and funny, and the food's great. What more could we ask for? I rank this bakery and snack bar 4 chickens (I mean cups!) out of 5. 1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mylar and Loretta's, Singhampton Ontario

If you go through a tiny town called Singhampton just south of Collingwood Ontario stop in for lunch or dinner at the restaurant Mylar and Loreta's. It's an old brick building from the 1860's with its very own ghost - Mylar!

He likes to play pranks, and occasionally is seen in the dining room, kitchen and bar. There's a wonderful story about Mylar settling in Singhampton circa 1860. He sent for his love, Loreta, but her ship went down on the voyage over. I suppose his ghost still haunts the building as he waits for her for eternity.

They have delicious homemade meals and a nice atmosphere, with cozy mismatched tables and linens. Very nice, it's worth the stop, even if you don't find Mylar!

I give this 4 out of 5 tea cups. 4 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pizza Palace, Fowler's Corners, Ontario

I know this isn't a tea room or coffee house but it has great food! Clean, clean clean ... and neat. This hidden little gem doesn't have any ambience or decor to speak of, but with food this good, who cares! We loved the pizza - it was perfectly cooked, lots of cheese, just yummy. 1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews 4 cups out of 5 from this pizza lover

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thornbury Bakery Cafe

"More Than Just Great Buns!" is the motto on their business card. However this little bakery cafe in Thornbury Ontario will have to do a bit better than cute to get my rave vote.

Brian and I stopped there on an antiquing trip, and while it was okay, it wasn't what I expected. I had an egg salad sandwhich - but it wasn't on home-made bread! This is a BAKERY, shouldn't the bread be something other than mushy store-bought? They forgot my tomato, putting it on Brian's sandwhich instead - and he hates tomato. That's not the end of the world but it left my sandwhich rather bland.

Service was friendly, and the cafe is cute (there's that word again!) but I can only give this eating establishment 3 teacups out of 5. 3 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Razmatazz Coffee Bistro in Orillia Ontario

Really all I can say about Razmatazz is that I have never had a worse cup of cappucino! I ordered cappucino and tiramisu. The cappucino came mixed, in a glass cup. Not only did it look awful, it was so bitter I couldn't drink it. The tiramisu was good, not great but tasty.

Rating 1 out of 5, and that's only for the dessert. 1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Meaford Ontario: Eath Harvest Cafe

It looked great from outside. On entering we saw a cute little room, with yellow walls, dark wood floors and kidney shaped purple tables. The ceiling was great, an old tin one.

You place your order from a limited menu, at a big old counter. There wasn't a lot of choice but sometimes that's good!

I had egg salad on brown bread - which arrived sans lettuce. Hmmm...didn't realize you had to ASK for lettuce on a sandwhich! The egg itself was very nice, it had chopped peppers, a nice change from the ordinary. Problem was the plate it was on was marbled from having food cut on it. The blackened crack-like lines didn't add anything to the eye appeal.

My cafe au lait (Single shot) was so strong I had to get up and ask for more hot milk - and another bigger cup to put it in. I went to add brown sugar which was in an open container on a side counter, but a fly was crawling around inside. Up to the counter to ask for brown sugar in a package but alas, they had none! So I had to use white sugar which just doesn't cut it for me.

Brian wanted pie and hot chocolate but they had no pie. He asked for cheesecake but it had just been made and wasn't ready (at 2 pm). My overall impression? It was too seedy and that fly really put me off. I doubt I'd go back.

Rating 1 out of 5 cups. 1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews

Friday, June 17, 2005

Leeky Canoe Pub & Eatery - up the creek without a good paddle?

This Meaford Ontario restaurant could stand a makeover. It was very grungy, the carpet was filthy and torn in spots, edges of runners curled up, and the chairs looked like something out of a 50s or 60s movie - "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"

My Caesar salad was good, not great, but not terrible either.

After my salad (I froze with the cold wind of an airconditioner on me) I went to the washrooms - which are ever so quaintly (NOT!) called "outhouses". If I'd gone there first I'd never have eaten in this pub....

It's just your typical northern Ontario diner which is trying in vain to have a cute image. "Don't feed the lizards" is one of the signs on a fake tree with plastic lizards hanging from it.

Sorry guys, the Leeky Canoe just doesn't cut it with me. 2 out of 5 ranking from this courier de bois! 1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews1 coffee cup rating for tea room reviews

Monday, June 13, 2005

Chez Piggy

Chez Piggy is a cute little outdoor cafe in Kingston Ontario. There's an interior sit-down part too but the outside is in a courtyard setting, and is a great place to go on a cool spring or autumn day. You feel like it's summer - you're surrounded by greenery. Even though it's right in the middle of the city but you don't even notice.

Food was great, service excellent, we had good company and a fun time eating and people-watching.

This hungry and thirsty traveller gives Chez Piggy 5 teacups out of 5.

5 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Coffee & Company, Kingston Ontario

Oh do I love this place! It's an old building, with wide hardwood floors, lots of windows, right on the main street of Kingston (Princess Streeet, near Chez Piggy).

As soon as I walked in I knew this was the kind of place I could spend hours in... reading, writing, sipping lattes and cappuccinos.

I've only been twice but can hardly wait for a summer antique trip so I can drop in again. I give Coffee & Company 5 coffee cups out of 5.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ossawippi Express off the tracks

When Lorine and I pulled into the parking lot of the Ossawippi my first thought was why are we the only car in the lot, its lunch time in the middle of the week, that can not be a good sign. And it turned out that my first impression was the right one. Now the restaurant itself is kind of neat. It is made from old railroad cars that have been converted into a restaurant. A lot of the original RR hardware has been retained which makes for an interesting decor. If you are a train fan you will probably like this restaurant for that reason alone.

As far as the rest goes I was not all that impressed. It is a little grubby and run down not disgusting or anything but a few crumbs on the table or something floating in my glass is enough to put me off (I had both). As far as I am concerned an eating establishment should be spotless and the Ossawippi is far from spotless. The big spider crawling down the curtain was not that nice nor was the bug that crawled across the table in the middle of our meal.

The waiter was friendly but not that good and the food was tasty but perhaps a little bit overpriced for what it was. However as we were the only customers there was a lot of overhead they needed to cover. I had the Short Line Sandwich which consisted of hot chicken strips on bread with a mushroom sauce and some fried potatoes. It was tasty but the root beer I had with it was a bit flat and had no bite. I finished with a cup of tea which was fine except for the flecks of something in my cup. Call me weird but when I order tea that's all I want, no extra bits are required.

Bottom line if you are into trains it is worth a stop but otherwise you might want to wait for the next train.

2 teacups out of 5 3 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ossawippi Express Dining Cars, Orillia Ontario - fast track to oblivion?

Brian and I had been to the Ossawippi about a year ago, but it's getting a little seedy these days. It is old railroad cars that have been converted into a restaurant. The cars are actually on a railway track. You enter one car and are taken to the car you will eat in. Decor is quaint (but a bit rough around the edges now, in need of a facelift), with old luggage on the brass luggage rails, posters on the walls and so on.

The velvet chairs are threadbare. It would like fine in dim candlelight at night, but at lunchtime, which is when we went, with full sun streaming in the car windows, all its flaws are glaringly visible. We were the only customers in our car, in fact, the only ones in the whole restaurant. Not a good sign....

Our server almost immediately committed what for me is an unforgiveable error. He picked up my water glass by the lip of the glass! That is not okay! Everyone knows they need to pick it up by the stem or by the underneath part of the glass. The server's fingers should never touch where a customer drinks from. Second problem -- my cup had lipstick on the rim, which I didn't notice til my coffee was poured.

Okay, food arrrived. I didn't see our server arrive with it, and he suddenly bumped into my arm and shoulder from behind as he hastily shoved the plate in front of me, then reached over the table past me (still in my face!) to put Brian's plate in front of him. I was so startled I jumped and gave a little scream. He didn't bother to apologize for knocking into me. How unprofessional and rude is that??

The Ossawippi was on a fast track to nowhere in my books!

I had the Conductor's Special, chicken and asparagus on bread dipped in egg and fried, with caesar salad. It was tasty, my only complaint is that the lettuce was a bit old and there was too much dressing on the salad. Dessert was an expensive ($6.50) Profiteroles Caramel (vanilla ice cream in puff pastry with caramel sauce). The ice cream had melted so it was actually puff pastry in whitish-brown swirl sauce. Not impressive, especially for $6.50.

Overall it wasn't a good experience. I rate this 2 out of 5 teacups. 2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mrs. B's Has Seen Better Days

Last time we were in St Marys Ontario, Brian and I stopped for supper at Mrs. B's Country Style Dining at the Stone Willow Inn. It is a very small restaurant, open for meals or for tea/coffee and desserts. We used to love it here. Note the words "used to" ...

Although small, it has always had friendly service, good food and a nicely set table. Until now. Having raved about the place, we took friends. What an embarrassment! The tables were the kind you sit at in a High School cafeteria - remember those? Chipped, stained, yukky...

There were no tablecloths, not even a paper placemat!! Our server apologized, saying that their table coverings were at the cleaners.... well, sorry, but I don't really care about your problem. It's disgusting to sit for a meal at a bare table that is chipped and stained. I mentioned that the owner might have thought to send someone out to buy a few paper placemats.. when there was no response I asked for another paper serviette so I could put it under my plate and flatware. It was better than nothing. Our server gave me quite a look - which only added to my ire.

Service was poor, we were the only people in the room but our server forgot items and never came back to find out how we were. We had a meal, which was adequate, not great, not the worst I've had either. I had to ask for water when my glass ran dry. We were never asked if we wanted anything else to drink.

Our server asked if we wanted dessert, there was a pregnant LONG pause while we waited to find out what they had.... finally I had to ask what our choices were. I don't know, maybe we were supposed to just kind of know what was available?

All in all a terrible experience. It was so bad we won't be back, and that's a shame because we used to look forward to our trips there just to go for their food and desserts. I rate this ZERO teacups out of 5.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Brewed Awakenings Coffee House & Tea Room

I stopped at this little coffee house and tea room. It doesn't have a particular style of decor but it was clean and tidy. There is only room for about 4 people to sit, most people probably get take-out.

Their selection of teas and coffees is somewhat limited so I ordered Earl Grey tea, which was okay. The food menu was limited - a few sandwhiches, brownies, cookies, muffins and so on. I had a bran muffin which was okay, nothing special, but tasty.

It was a typical decent small-town Ontario spot to get a cup of tea or coffee - a nice alternative to Tim Horton's if you are a coffee lover!

I rate this tea room 3 teacups out of 5. 3 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Brewed Awakenings Coffee House & Tea Room
16 Main S,
Grand Valley, ON
L0N 1G0

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Serendipitea - jury is out whether a happy accident or not...

Serendipitea -- a cute name for a fairly new Tea Room in downtown Midland Ontario. The decor is lovely, it has that wonderful old fashioned Victorian feel. Tables at the front and a couch and chairs at the back add to the warmth and charm.

The food that Brian and I have had was wonderful. Very nice presentation with little doilies under the cups added to the charm. Tea is served in china cups and saucers. The menu is limited, which I often think is a good idea. That way you are almost bound to get good food, whereas if the menu is large, it's not always possible to achieve greatness with every item. I prefer quality over quantity!

I had the scones with clotted cream and homemade preserves and it was very good. I'll let Brian talk about his meal.

So those are all the good points - good food, great decor. Now comes the bad -- service. It stinks.

Brian and I have been there twice. We had different servers both times. First time the gal serving was sloppily dressed, wearing a hoody and jeans. It doesn't fit with the atmosphere! C'mon let's have the staff in long skirts and little blouses or something more suitable for this cute tearoom!

Our server never smiled. She sighed, as in "Do you know what you want? (sigh)". She brought our tea and coffee without spoons to stir them. She didn't bring serviettes. We had ordered 1 tea, 1 coffee, 1 scone with cream and preserves. Hmmmm is it that hard to remember to bring tableware and napkins?? When I asked for a spoon, she sighed. When I asked for napkins she sighed. I was pretty sure she wanted to lie down and have a nap.

Okay next time we went, we had a different server. Still not great in the wearing apparel but better than a hoody and jeans. This one also forgot our napkins. She forget the milk for my coffee. We both ordered scones and instead of bringing us 2 servings of the cream and the preserves with the 2 scones, we were given one tiny serving of cream and preserves, exactly the same size as when I had ordered one scone. So I asked for more. She told me this was all we get. I said that since one order came with this size serving of cream/preserves then obviously 2 orders came with double and it wasn't enough for both of us, could we please have more. She shrugged her shoulders and walked away without a word. No more cream or preserves appeared.

We haven't been back since. That's a shame because we loved the idea of going once a week as an outing. The owner is friendly and gracious and is perfectly groomed for the style of this tearoom but she needs to have a better handle on her staff - especially their lack of friendliness and their inability to get customer orders right.

I'm torn on how to rate this tearoom. For decor and food I would give it 4 out of 5. For service and friendliness I'd give it 1 out of 5. Okay I've decided. It's an overall experience and for me, the good food and decor doesn't make up for the unpleasant experience of disinterested, forgetful and rude staff. I rate Serendipitea as 2 out of 5 teacups

2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Friday, May 27, 2005

Pieces of Olde - Landlubbers Should Eat Here!

Pieces of Olde, 28 A Queen St W in Elmvale Ontario is classified as a "Lunch Parlour" by the owner, Jill. Brian and I love it - the food is great, with that honest to goodness just like Mom makes experience.

Decor is nothing special but it's clean and Jill has cute table decorations that are theme-oriented so they change frequently.

Service is slow (not necessarily a bad thing!) but friendly. Elmvale is in the middle of farm communities so the Restaurant/Lunch Parlour has a small town atmosphere which is very inviting.

There aren't many tables, and they are part of a store that Jill runs. If you have to wait for a table (and you will if you go at breakfast or lunch time) you can browse the items for sale.

Jill makes two soups as part of the daily special, one is cream-based (my fav) the other is not. The tea biscuits are flaky and melt-in-your mouth delicious.

There are usually 3 daily specials for lunch and I've never had one that wasn't tasty. I sometimes find the salads a bit limp, that is my one and only complaint. The sandwhiches are made on home made bread, thick as can be - and you create your own with an incredible variety of choices of fillings and condiments. What could be better than a custom made sandwhich, just as you like it?

Desserts are amazing. If you have a hankering for old fashioned Rice or Bread Pudding, this is the place to get it! And the butter tarts are not to be missed.

I rate this Tea Room 5 teacups out of 5 5 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Princely Pear Tea Room Not Suitable for Royalty

The Princely Pear Tea Room has a nice atmosphere but the food was only adequate and the service wasn't great.

My teacup was dirty and I couldn't get our server to look my way even though there was only one other couple in the room with us.

The Ham sandwich I had was okay - I mean really what can you do wrong with a ham sandwhich? My salad was okay, not great.

Dessert was Pecan Chocolate Pie. It wasn't the best, I've had better.

I give this tea room 2 1/2 teacups out of 5.

2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Princely Pear Tea Room - Would The Prince Really Go?

Brian and I love the decor at the Princely Pear Tea Room in Cookstown Ontario... but the service and the food are not up to par.

Lunch was a Black Forest Ham Sandwhich with Garden Salad for Brian. I'll let him talk about that. My lunch was a Chicken Caesar Salad, one of my all-time favs in any restaurant.

I also ordered a cup of coffee with milk, not cream, and Brian ordered a pot of tea. Our server brought a teeny pitcher of milk, half full -- and 4 small containers of cream. I reminded her I wanted milk with my coffee. She looked bewildered and told me the milk was in the pitcher. Yes but there isn't enough of it for both of us....she never brought more and yes we did run out by the second cup, forcing me to have cream (yuk!) in my coffee. Never mind, the first cup was stone cold anyway... Strike 1 and 2

Okay the salad arrived after an eternity of waiting. Oh, and it is important to note that there was only one other couple in the whole tea room, with 2 servers. For some reason we could not get anyone's attention (hello, remember us over here in the corner??) and Brian's tea cup was filthy.... Strike 3

My salad had too much dressing which had not been properly mixed, so there were huge clumps of it here and there. The lettuce was a mixture of fresh and wilted old bits with dark green around the edges, giving it that just pulled from the toilet taste... Strike 4

I ate the chicken and left the lettuce but our server didn't think to ask why. I didn't volunteer any feedback, she obviously wasn't interested.

Next dessert - I have a lot of food allergies, have to be very careful so I am cautious and ask lots of questions before I order any item. I thought scones with whip cream and jam sounded good but a glance in the dessert display showed almond slivers on top. I asked our server if all their scones had nuts on top. "No" was her response, so I ordered non-nut scones. She started to leave, then stopped and said "well they do have almonds in them" Arrghh! "That would be nuts" I replied. Strike 4 1/2

I ended up with Blueberry Cheesecake which was delicious so the meal had a happy ending.

I rank this tea room 2 teacups out of 5 2 tea cup rating for tea room reviews

Sunday, May 01, 2005

About Brian and Lorine - Tea Room Enthusiasts

Brian and I do a lot of travelling - hunting for antiques and visiting family. We like to find tea rooms and eat there, so we thought we might as well start a TeaRoom Review blog. After all we always have an opinion, and we've been hunting out antiques and tea rooms for 8 years.

We decided to rank the tea rooms we try based on decor, service and food. The best will get a 5-teacup rating. Decor that appeals to us is Victorian or unique or country, and of course clean. Warmth and charm score big points with us.

Service doesn't have to be what you might expect from a gourmet restaurant in a big city but we do expect servers to be clean, pleasant, and get our orders right. Service doesn't have to be speedy, after all, we're just poking around North America looking for antiques, so we have lots of time.

The food has to be the best. Sure, everyone has different tastes and expectations but Brian and I figure we're pretty good at judging if food is terrible, adequate, so-so or scrumptdillyicious!

Yep, it's subjective. I'm a hard judge, I don't like mistakes and I don't like attitude or mediocre food. A dirty glass can put me off my entire meal.

Brian's more laid-back and forgiving, so I think you'll enjoy reading our opinions on dining out in tea rooms around North America. I know we'll have fun finding and eating at them!

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