When I travel to cities enough I have favorite places I have to – HAVE TO – go eat a meal at. There’s something to be said about visiting a place that soothes your soul after a long day (or more) of traveling; a place that makes frazzled nerves and tightly clenched shoulders (as in my case) to relax is a blessing.
If you ever find yourself in or around Springfield, MO I strongly recommend catching a meal (or three) at Tea Bar & Bites. It is a delightful café decked out in the way all cafés should: a rotating display of local art, books, delightfully kitchy things focusing on the British Isles, and every vintage tablecloth to be found in southwestern Missouri. I swoon every time I enter this place.
While everything on the menu is TO DIE FOR (the tuna salad, tho), the reason I keep going back is the London Fog (which incidentally was invented in Vancouver, Canada and we can thank Sbux for putting it on the menu and delivering it to those of us not cool enough to hang out on the West Coast … or so the interwebs tells me). I cannot articulate how much I love this delicious, milky tea concoction (And if it’s a rainy day when I’m in town. Oh, man. #bliss). I’ve had “Earl Grey lattes” other places and they never tasted correct (usually I find they’re too sweet or the vanilla is too cloying) and it wasn’t until my latest trek to Tea Bar & Bites that I actually took the time to read the description for the tea drink, and …
GUYS. THEY DO NOT USE VANILLA SYRUP. THEY USE ENGLISH TOFFEE SYRUP. THIS IS LIFE CHANGING INFORMATION AND OMG YOU ALL NEED TO MAKE LONDON FOGS WITH ENGLISH TOFFEE SYRUP.
Sidebar: Did you watch “To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters” on Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday night? I really hope you did. I have FEELS. Everyone and their brother KNOWS it was difficult for a woman to get published back in the day (hence the reason the Brontë sisters wrote under pseudonyms) but there was a ridiculous amount of things said that TO THIS DAY still ring true and I just … look: art is hard, art is rewarding, we need art, we need artists, and sometimes – SOMETIMES – it feels like anyone who is not a man is pushing a snowball uphill (Don’t believe me? Read this essay by Catherine Nichols about sending out her manuscript under her own name vs a man’s name).
There were so many emotions wrapped up in this movie, and I wasn’t alone … other women in writing and publishing were feeling those same feels. And finally I’ll leave you with this thought from the show (because if I don’t stop, this might become a dissertation length thought spiral): “When a woman writes anything it’s she who’s judged.”
*note: if you do not have a milk frother feel free to heat your milk on the stove until it is steaming, do not let it boil.
1 Earl Grey tea bag
1/2 cup milk, steamed*
English toffee syrup to taste
whipped cream, optional (but you should TOTALLY do it)
Steep tea in 8 ounces of water. You don’t want to steep the tea in the steamed milk as the fat from the milk will inhibit the tea from doing it’s thing and then you’ll have exceptionally weak tea which is not anything anyone wants.
After you have steeped your tea, add the English toffee syrup (there are usually directions on the side of the the syrup bottles for how much you need … but I suggest starting off with less and adding more if you like it). Next add the steamed milk, give it a nice stir and top with whipped cream.
Do you have a favorite place you have to eat at when visiting?0