It’s been a while since I last was at Coffee Tea and Tulips, but after Chef Michael Samawi gave his restaurant a little makeover, and updated his menu for fall, it was time for a visit. I like that everything here is home-made, and Chef Michael takes a lot of pride in his creations from salad dressings, baked goods and the various dishes inspired by his travels and heritage.
I, along with several others, including Harrison Kho, owner of Harry’s Deli were among those who came to try some of the new items launched recently. The menu has always been eclectic here, most people come for the tea service, a very popular experience for bridal showers, little girls’ birthday parties, Mother’s Day…. but not many people realize there are wonderful lunch time treats ranging from sandwiches to salads also on the menu.
However, before we started eating, we were all excited to try the various coffees and teas here and everything is made to order and fresh tea leaves are used, NOT teabags. I, of course, went for the iced variety of the fruit teas.
We started with ‘sandweeches’ you can get as part of the tea service so they are bite sized. Depending on which tea service you select, a combination of the following ‘sandweeches’ will be offered.
Deconstructed Egg Salade, one of my favorites, is topped with capers and sundried tomato. I love capers so it was not surprising that I loved it.
Tel-Aviv with Chicken and Bacon is a sure pleaser. Who doesn’t love bacon? I wanted a little more red onions, but then again, I always want more onions on everything.
If you’re looking for a warm sandwich, Clement St Wrap ($8.25) is my suggestion. It tastes SO much better than it looks. The eggs, cream, shawerma with spinach, tomatoes, feta and za’atar combine together for a breakfast-style wrap like nothing else you’ve had before. It is hearty and is a perfect reflection of Mediterranean flavors that just make your mouth salivate. In fact, I’m salivating just writing it up right now.
If you are looking for something vegetarian, Dowar al Sabeh Croissant ($7) does its magic. A simple filling of feta dressing, tomatoes and a sprinkling of za’atar is enough to pack a punch of bold flavors.
A selection which completely brings out Chef Michael’s heritage is the King Hussein’s Shawerma Croix ($8.75) a croissant filled with grilled shawerma dressed with balsamic glazed onions, cucumbers, shaved purple onion and tzatziki. I love the tart finish of the balsamic among the freshness of the cucumbers and purple onion. Strangely, it reminds me of my mom’s braised beef sandwiches we used to eat growing up sans the tzatziki and balsamic glazed onions.
My absolute favorite was the Carmen Correia ($9.50) with tuna, sliced boiled egg, anchovy and a red pepper pesto made in-house. The flavors were incredible and I’ve tried to re-create this at home but keep missing the mark by just a bit.
Last but not least, The Wedge Salata ($8.25) is a meal on its own. Greens are served alongside sliced eggs, Fuji apple, feta cheese, purple onion, and of course, bacon! I loved the pita chips giving it a crunchy component and the house-made Goddess dressing to bring it all together.
Another delicious item is the Fatteh Salade ($8.25), a romaine salad with red onions, hummus, pita chips and pine nuts. It is a meal on its own and embodies the Mediterranean flavors I love and is another great vegetarian offering.
If you’re looking for a tea party, I highly suggest you call ahead, especially on special occasions such as Mother’s Day. Otherwise, stop in for lunch and you’ll receive personal service from the unorthodox “Artiste” Michael and his wife, Lina. It’s like they’re welcoming you into their home.
Coffee Tea Tulips
25280 Marguerite Pkwy
Mission Viejo, CA 92692