A Victorian-style tearoom housed in a 1929 firehouse doesn't seem a likely place for an April Fool's prank. But since Linde Lane Tea Room owner Kristina Wiley throws a themed special event each month, she decided to treat her guests to a surprise meal. Visitors took a drink of pineapple champagne, only to find their flutes filled with Jell-O. More prank courses followed, such as strawberry-chocolate cupcakes that were really mashed potatoes and meat topped with truffle sauce. As the diners laughed at each course, a President Obama impersonator walked in, convincing a young attendee that she was actually shaking hands with the commander-in-chief.
Wiley prides herself on making every visit to Linde Lane Tea Room a memorable one, whether through novelty events like these or seating parties in the 8-foot teacup booth, which Wiley calls "a piece of art people can sit in." Appearing on TeaMap's top 100 U.S. tearooms across the United States and ranked fourth best in California, Linde Lane Team Room evokes Victorian opulence through custom-made chandeliers, richly patterned carpets, and a dark wood bar where more than 49 fair-trade teas rest in copper canisters. The staff can also custom-blend teas for patrons, using martini shakers to blend loose leaves with spices such as raspberries, chocolate chips, and honeysuckle. An in-house pastry chef and culinary chef prepare every dish, including Linde Lane's safeguarded scone recipe, which took more than one year and 12,000 chef hours to perfect.