Tea was discovered in ancient China when a leaf blew in the window and landed in the emperor's bath, which he was slurping through a straw. Sip leaves steeped more decorously with today's Groupon: for $12, you get a Royal High Tea at Linde Lane Tea Room in Dixon (a $26.01 value). The Linde Lane Tea Room is open for business Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Located in a renovated 1929 fire station, the Linde Lane Tea Room brings Victorian-style elegance to downtown Dixon. Mad Hatters and aspiring anglophiles alike will faint over the Royal High Tea, an exquisite service consisting of sorbet with shortbread, a scone with clotted cream and jam, salad, soup, tea sandwiches, pastries, fruit, and a pot of imported tea. Forty-nine different fair-trade teas sourced from all over the globe battle in an arena for the right to be chosen, and a tea bar lets discerning noses smell the loose teas before selecting one to serve as the centerpiece of their dignified service.
Upon entering, guests are greeted by a giant 8-foot teacup that doubles as a booth and won’t cause motion sickness. Custom furnishings and chandeliers set against burgundy walls contribute to the Old World ambience, as do the antiques and china scattered throughout. The Victorian-inspired décor permeates three novel alcoves: the Parlor, the Teddy Bear Room, and the Whimsical Room, which is lit with a purple chandelier. Casual dress is permitted, and like wearing a helmet to a back-alley ballroom dance-off, reservations are recommended but not required.
Linde Lane Tea Room
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.