Oct 8, 2013

Exploring Albuquerque and Afternoon Tea at St James Tearoom

Our third day in New Mexico was our chance to explore some of the neighborhoods of Albuquerque. 

If you missed my other New Mexico posts, check them out first:
Albuquerque: Settling In and Driving the Turquoise Trail
- A Day Trip to Santa Fe

We started our morning with breakfast burritos at the vacation home before heading out to Old Town Albuquerque. The place was pretty empty compared to the bustle of Santa Fe.

Old Town Albuquerque

While there weren't a ton of visitors out and about, all of the shops were open for business. We visited several art galleries, souvenirs shops and one shop selling Mexican art.

Giant teddy bear in Old Town

Like all Spanish-influenced cities, a Catholic church was the centerpiece of the main square. San Felipe de Neri was built in 1793 and is one of the oldest buildings in Albuquerque.

A live band treated us to some tunes from the gazebo.

Like Santa Fe, Old Town Albuquerque had native vendors set up selling their jewelry and crafts. I also couldn't get enough of the architecture in the plaza.

Our visit coincided with Native American Days, which features Native cultural and musical performances. We headed over to Tigeux Park, just as it was scheduled to start...only to see that nothing was going on. It looked like it would be a few hours yet before the event would begin, so we decided not to wait. 

Instead, we headed to Nob Hill to see what that neighborhood was like. First stop, Salathai for lunch! I had a Thai iced tea and shrimp pad thai while Raisin Bread had chicken and broccoli. All were excellent choices! 

After lunch, we enjoyed a stroll up and down Central Avenue to browse the shops and boutiques. My favorite place that we visited was Stranger Factory. It reminded me of lots of art galleries that we frequented in Los Angeles back in the day. To be honest, I haven't found anything like it here in the DC area. We talked to the shop employee for about half an hour about everything from television, the East Coast, where he is originally from, and why Albuquerque is awesome. Loved this place! If you're ever in town, go visit, especially if you already love Japanese pop art and contemporary "low brow" art. I hate that term, by the way. 

After hopping back in our car, we drove Historic Route 66. It took us past the University of New Mexico to downtown. 

Our goal was to visit the magnificent Art Deco KiMo Theatre. Unfortunately, this was Fail #2 of the day. It was closed for a private event, so we could only admire the exterior.

We didn't have time to visit downtown at night, but I imagine it is quite stunning with all of the neon lights on. Downtown is a pretty seedy part of town, though, with lots of bars and nightclubs.

Our schedule for the day became more abbreviated than we had anticipated since things didn't work out for us with Native American Days or the KiMo Theatre. We decided to head back home and rest for the afternoon.

First, a snack was in order though. We headed to the Golden Crown Panaderia. They have a variety of offerings from breads, pastries, pizza, sandwiches and coffee. I hear the pizza is off the hook. We stuck with the pastries since we only wanted a small snack.

As soon as you enter, you are offered a complimentary biscochito, a cookie of Spanish origin. The cookie is super light and flaky with a pleasant amount of anise flavor.

I ordered an apple empanada and a couple of Mexican wedding cookies. So yummy.

On our way home, we drove past this sign, which Raisin Bread found extremely amusing. We spent the rest of the afternoon napping, watching cable (glorious!) and doing work. 

18 mph?

After our shortened day of exploring the neighborhoods of Santa Fe, we decided against eating in for the night and instead had afternoon tea at St James Tearoom. Afternoon tea for dinner sounds weird, right? It is probably against the law in the UK, but the tearoom looked too cute to not pay a visit to while we were in town.

St James has dedicated seating times, and we were scheduled for the 6:30 pm seating. From that time, you have two hours to enjoy your tea.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a bevy of gentlemen and ladies dressed in costume and were taken to our “nook.” St James’ space is set up into small nooks, and every party has their own private nook. Ours was called Woodridge Estate and could fit up to three people.

As we entered our nook, a pot of Earl of St James traditional black tea was waiting for us as well as our first course, Bennets’ Lavender Sugared Grapes. Our server soon came to greet us and we learned that this month’s menu theme was “Tea with Mr. Darcy.” 

Even though afternoon tea can be on the girly side, Raisin Bread and I had a romantic time in our private nook. Soon our tray of savories and breads arrived for us to munch on.

We had Mr. Collins' Crustless Quiche, Lady Catherine's Rocket and Blackberry Salad, a Pemberley Stuffed Date, Miss Elizabeth's Brie Butter Canape and a cucumber turkey tea sandwich. When it was time to enjoy our breads, we received a second pot of tea, the Afternoon in Mansfield Park scented black tea. Our breads were Mr. Darcy's cheddar scone and a traditional cream scone with white peach curd and clotted creme.

For dessert, we received a selection of sweets served with Iced Lavender Lace Herbal Tea with simple syrup. Our desserts were Jane's Chocolate Indulgence, Mr. Bingley's Biscuit and Amaretto and Peaches over Vanilla Ice Cream.

While we were enjoying our afternoon tea/dinner, we took the opportunity to try on lots of silly hats.

We were fully stuffed at this point and wired on tea, tea, tea!!! This was such a fun afternoon tea experience albeit a kitschy one. The service, set-up and food were all fantastic. It was the perfect end to our day of exploring Albuquerque! 

3619 Copper Avenue NE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

1103 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

320 Osuna Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107


  1. You look sophisticated in that red hat! And cute :)

    1. Thanks, honey! You look cute too in the blue hat!