Spill the Tea: There & Back Again Cafe

Last month was my birthday and unfortunately both my sister and best friend were unable to celebrate with me. We then decided to meet up a few weeks ago and have a girl’s weekend.

We went to Sacramento and were looking for a tea place to go to for lunch, really searching for a High Tea but willing to go to whatever tea place we could find. A quick google search and I found the There and Back Again Cafe a Lord of the Rings themed gamer cafe. Now we all love Lord of the Rings so it seemed the perfect place to go and celebrate.

The There & Back Again Cafe opened at the beginning of this year. It serves teas, coffees, hand pies, avocado toast, and “shire-cuterie” boards. They have 15 tables for gaming and a collection of board games, card games, and cooperative/group games. If you come and purchase food or drinks, having a gaming table is free (otherwise there is a $5 cover charge.)

All games are first come first serve, and patrons can also bring their own games if they wish.

They are open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 7:30 am – 3 pm; Fridays 10 am – 5 pm, and Saturdays they are open 8-3 for any customers, closing and then reopening 5-10:30 by registration only. They also hold special events that have a cover charge and are by reservation only.

Or dinner

Due to family commitments, traffic, lack of parking, meter issues, and the current construction in Sacramento we didn’t get to the cafe until after one and had only a couple hours before the shop closed.

The first thing we enjoyed was the ambience and the decorations in the cafe. Everything was exactly what a geek would love. They had such a variety of games, that we did not need to play any of the ones we had brought. We really enjoyed being in the cafe and playing a couple rounds of a new game, in fact I think we might have startled some of our more quiet neighbors with our joviality.

Then we went about ordering our drinks. The menu has a variety of regular coffees and teas for you to choose from; but is also home to geekier ones.

  • GROGU REFRESHER: A delicious twist on our favorite little green guy’s preferred snack. (lemon lime soda with a blueberry twist)
  • HALFLING GREEN APPLE TEA: Halflings agree, it’s a wonderful hot delight. (Sweetened with caramel, topped with steamed almond milk and cinnamon)
  • LIGHTBRINGER LAVENDER LEMONADE: In this dread hour, a warrior shall draw from the fire a delicious lemonade! Sweetened with Lavender syrup, truly refreshing.
  • POLYJUICE POTION: Magic juice. But not the kind that’ll leave you trippin’… we think… Peach Lemonade with a color-changing potion. Choose a potion from the magic spells box.
  • SYLVAN STRAWBERRY MATCHA: You can’t outrun destiny just because you’re terrified of it. (Iced matcha latte with strawberry puree & white chocolate drizzle)
  • MEILOORUN JUICE: Citrusy and tart yet sweet melon drink favoured by General Hera Syndulla and her comrades on the Ghost. (pineapple soda with fruit syrup)
  • X-WING Red Leader sure knows how to get into the air with this one! (energy drink with two shots of syrup of your choice) pwew pwew

I being a lover of Matcha, and it being a sweating Saturday, I of course had to try their Sylvan Strawberry Matcha. I thought the drink was very good extremely delicious, and I would definitely order it again.

So while I enjoyed the ambience and the drinks, the biggest issue I had with this cafe came to the food. Since I have been there the menu had changed, but when I went there on May 28th, they had only a few food options: Ham & Brie hand pies (which were unfortunately all sold out when we arrived), shirecuteries, avocado toast, and a vegan Avocado, Tomato & Basil Sandwich. As the three of us were all very hungry, and wanted something more substantial than a charcuterie board; we all decided to instead each order the Avocado, Tomato & Basil Sandwich with a caprese salad for $8.25 (although one of us had the for gluten-free one which was $11.25). However, instead of a sandwich we received a piece of toast with vegan mayonnaise, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and sprouts. At least the other ladies did, as my order was just avocado and tomatoes on toast; I was not given any of the greens. We all were disappointed as we were expecting an actual “sandwich”, not toast, and an actual salad-not just sprouts on top. If it had been described as toast or an open faced sandwich we would have been expecting to see only one slice of bread, but as it was labeled sandwich we all expected a full sandwich.

My sister’s “sandwich”

My thoughts regarding the menu is that I strongly suggest the There and Back Again Cafe to add pictures to their ever fluctuating menu so that customers can have an idea of what to expect when ordering. As they have a fluid menu they wouldn’t have to include photos of every item, but I believe a few shots would be helpful.

As far as staff goes, the two that were working that day were helpful and very pleasant. Both were attentive and answered any questions we had regarding the drink menu. They did forgot to make my sandwich, but when they realized that, they apologized and brought me one as soon as they could. In a time where every business is struggling to find and keep good employees, this cafe has some great ones.

I definitely recommend going to the There and Back Again Cafe and enjoying their drinks with a game or two (I know I plan to go back for a game night/day with some friends). When it comes to their food, definitely give glance over the menu before heading to the cafe, to decide if the items described there are enough for you, or if you need to eat before.

For more tea cafe reviews, go to Spill the Tea: Caroline’s Coffee Roaster

For more tea posts, go to Teapot Card with Teabag

Books, Tea, and the Trinity: Rice Krispies Chocolate Chip Cookies

Back in 2020, some friends and I started a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club; Books, Tea, and the Trinity. We met every Wednesday and worked our way through the Chronicles of Narnia and are currently working through the Lorien Legacies. When we started I resolved to share all the recipes, but have fallen behind in posting and are trying desperately to catch up.

After we finished The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; the next book in the series was A Horse and His Boy. This book was a bit harder to plan recipes as it didn’t have as many starting off points as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but that also meant we could make whatever we wanted to.

For the first week we had Cederberg Tea Co. Classic Red and Red Chai Tea. We also had Apple Cinnamon Scones, Heirloom Tomato Tarts with Basil, and a Healthy Waldorf Salad.

The second week we had veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip, Teatime Magazine’s Red Pepper Triple Stack SandwichesZuppa Toscana, and Chocolate Covered Strawberries; with Vanilla Rooibos Tea

The third week of going through the A Horse and His Boy we had Tea Time Magazines’ Sweet Cream Scones, Homemade Strawberry Preserves, Tea Time Magazines Egg Salad and Cherry Tomatoes Sandwiches, Hummus and Veggie Sandwiches, Empanadas, and Rice Krispies Chocolate Chip Cookies; with Celestial Tea Devonshire Breakfast Tea.

I don’t have the empanada recipe as my friend made it and she winged it, but using a real recipe. As I don’t have that, I’m going to skip ahead to the next recipe, Rice Krispies Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This recipe I borrowed from my sister blog, Mysterious Eats and is one I LOVE to make over and over again.

“Not your traditional oatmeal cookie-an even better one! RICE KRISPIES add that extra crunch and the [chocolate chips] supplies the extra sweetness.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Butter or Margarine, Softened
  • 1/2 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
  • 1 Cup of Quick-Cooking Oats
  • 1/2 Cup of Coconut or Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  2. Lightly coat two large cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  4. Place the butter in the bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until blended, Add the egg and vanilla, beating to incorporate.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture. When well combined, stir in the cereal, oats and coconut or chocolate chips.
  7. Drop the cookie dough by tablespoonful onto the baking sheets, leaving room between the cookies.
  8. Bake for 12 mins, or until the cookies are lightly browned.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

These are soo delicious! I love making them and once you try them, you will love them too!

And get those cookies out of the oven!

For more from our Books, Tea, and the Trinity tea times, go to Hummus and Veggie Sandwiches

For more cookie recipes, go to Snickerdoodles

For more desserts, go to Marmalade Rolls

For more recipes, go to Egg Salad and Cherry Tomatoes Sandwiches

For more tea posts, go to Sweet Cream Scones

Recipe for Persuasion Audiobook Narrated by Soneela Nankani

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I love audiobooks. They are so handy to play when driving to work, cleaning, getting ready in the morning, cooking, etc.

And of course when I see a Jane Austen audiobook, I have to give it a listen.

I was scrolling through MeetLibby when I spotted the audiobook Recipe for Persuasion. I reviewed the actual book a while back and had mixed feelings about it as I liked some aspects of the novel, while I felt other parts of the novel were a bit under developed or rushed. It wasn’t a horrible adaption, far from it, but unlike the first book in the series, to me this one felt like something was missing. However, those feelings didn’t deter me from giving this a listen.

Hmm…?

With audiobooks, one of the most important things to me is to have is a good narrator. Even if it is a book I love and have read over and over again; the narrator will determine whether I will listen to the full audiobook or if I will stop after a few chapters.

In this Soneela Nankani was a great narrator, as she was very clear and gave distinct voices for all the different characters; an impressive feat as she had many accented characters to voice .

Wow!

My only real complaint is that to me, Nankani was actually a little too clear as when she is speaking her American accent she hits every syllable of each word. For some it might not bother them, but once I heard it-I couldn’t unhear it and started counting the syllables of each word.

As mentioned before, Nankani chose to do the character’s accents; for instance Ashna and Trisha have an American accent, Shobi an Indian one, DJ British, etc. The one accent I didn’t agree with was Rico’s as she gave him a British accent instead of a Brazilian one. Now I understand that making a Brazilian-British accent (as he is described having in the book) is more difficult than a British accent, so if this was a choice made because it would be easier on the author, I think she should have at least given him a Brazilian accent when he spoke Portuguese. Even if Rico adopted a British accent after living in England, he definitely would have slipped into a sort of Brasileño accent when talking about home or speaking in Portuguese.

Most of the time when listening to an audiobook something new is brought to your attention or hearing the words instead of seeing them causes you to rethink a scene. I didn’t really have anything new come to my attention other than I had forgotten that Rico’s least favorite food is macaroni and cheese. I mean it’s not the strangest choice, there are people who don’t like it; but after listening to the audiobook all I could think was, out of all the food to dislike, it’s going to be noodles with cheese on top? No fideo con queso? Whoops, Rico is Brazilian, I mean macarronada com queijo? The first time I read this part I passed right over it, but this time listening to it-all I could do was think about was how much I wanted homemade Mac and cheese, or sopa de conchas con queso, with very little broth

If you enjoyed the book, and my two points about the accents and syllables aren’t something to really bother you, be sure to check this audiobook out.

For more on Persuasion, go to Recipe for Persuasion

For more on Sonali Dev, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Books

For more audiobooks, go to Pride and Prejudice Audiobook Narrated by Kate Kellgren

Books, Tea, and the Trinity: Hummus and Veggie Sandwiches

Back in 2020, some friends and I started a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We met every Wednesday and worked our way through the Chronicles of Narnia and are currently working through the Lorien Legacies. When we started I resolved to share all the recipes, but have fallen behind in posting. Instead of having the book we are reading through at the front of the recipe, I’m changing it to be our tea group’s name: Books, Tea, and the Trinity. 

After we finished The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; the next book in the series was A Horse and His Boy. This book was a bit harder to plan recipes as it didn’t have as many starting off points as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but that also meant we could make whatever we wanted to. 

For the first week we had Cederberg Tea Co. Classic Red and Red Chai Tea. We also had Apple Cinnamon Scones, Heirloom Tomato Tarts with Basil, and a Healthy Waldorf Salad.

The second week we had veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip, Teatime Magazine’s Red Pepper Triple Stack SandwichesZuppa Toscana, and Chocolate Covered Strawberries; with Vanilla Rooibos Tea

The third week we had Tea Time Magazines’ Sweet Cream Scones, Homemade Strawberry Preserves, Tea Time Magazines Egg Salad and Cherry Tomatoes Sandwiches, Hummus and Veggie Sandwiches, Empanadas, and Chocolate Chip Cookies; with Celestial Tea Devonshire Breakfast Tea.

This recipe comes from Simple Veganista

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup hummus
  • leafy greens of choice
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut to width of bread
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice the veggies
  2. Spread hummus on one slice of bread.
  3. Layer with the leafy greens, tomato, cucumber, red bell pepper, and onion.
  4. Sprinkle with salt & fresh cracked pepper.
  5. Slice in half and enjoy!

I love veggies and hummus so I loved these sandwiches. Not only were they delicious, but you can add or subtract any vegetables you like when making them.

And food to go with.

For more from our Books, Tea, and the Trinity tea times, go to Egg Salad and Cherry Tomatoes Sandwiches

For more sandwich recipes, go to Red Pepper Triple Stack Sandwiches

For more recipes, go to Sweet Cream Scones

For more tea posts, go to Healthy Waldorf Salad

Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen Children’s Stories #5) by Jane Austen, adapted by Gemma Barder

If you’ve been following me, you know that I love to brainwash share my love of Jane Austen with my nieces and my friends’ children.

So any time I spot a children’s book that has to do with Jane Austen, I try and purchase it to gift to them and hopefully influence spark a love of Jane Austen in them.

One day I was on Amazon when this Jane Austen Children’s Stories series came across my book recommendations. This series takes the text of Jane Austen and adapts it for children who are reading on their own and want something longer than a beginning reader, but not quite ready for a thick chapter books. Each novel has easy to read text, illustrations, but at the same time still retain the plot of the original novels.

The recommended age for this series is 7-10 years old. The series has adapted Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Love and Friendship. You can buy them individually at ~$7 a paperback (hardcover is ~$12 per book) or in a set of all seven in paperback form (plus a journal) for ~$27.

Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is a parody of gothic novels and a satire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, and the. delightful and handsome Mr. Tilney. She also has another less moral man vying for her affections, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home, Northanger Abbey, and while there wonders if there is a dark secret on the premises. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?

I thought the adaption was very well done as it reminded me a lot of the Great Illustrated Classics series I used to read when I was a child, but geared for a slightly younger age. They kept the plot of the book, but removed some of the language or plot points that would sail over a elementary aged child’s head.

I also enjoyed the illustrations, well…except for the men’s outfits, they were not accurate.

I love the way they drew General Tilney. Look how sour he is, there is no doubt that General Tilney is an unpleasant man. Just look at his face.

I really enjoyed it, and I’m hoping my 10 year old cousin, who I purchased it for, will love it as well (fingers crossed). If you are looking for Jane Austen for an elementary schooled child in your life, then I definitely recommend giving this series a read.

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

For more on Northanger Abbey book adaptations, go to Jane in Love

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to What’s a Girl To Do When Your Parents Won’t Allow You to Live Your Gothic Dreams?