If you've lived in London for extended periods of time, as I have, you know that the British are slavishly addicted to tea. How they do love their tea! It starts at breakfast (God forbid you should ask for coffee!) and continues throughout the day -- midmorning, lunch, early afternoon and then high tea. Now high tea, if you don't know, is something special, one you might enjoy at Harrod's or Selfridges Department Stores. There you're served from a two-tiered tray with dainty cucumber and watercress sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and, of course, a large pot of tea. Servings are small, mind you, so one often goes away a bit hungry. (At this point I think longingly of a Carl's Jr. Whopper.)
But high tea is undeniably a charming tradition. So I'm happy to tell you that you don't have to travel to London for this experience, as there's a lovely Victorian-type tearoom in Albany -- Buttercream Bakery and Cafe, located at 841 San Pablo Avenue, a few steps up from Solano, operated by Lourdes Guzman. 0n entering the place one is greeted with the sight of antique birdcages, upholstered sofas and a fabulous collection of tea pots and Dresden china. There's a tempting menu, reasonably priced, in addition to the scones and clotted cream and mini cupcakes. Hearty breakfasts featuring Eggs Benedict and quiche are offered as well as sandwiches. For a pleasant, unhurried and thoroughly delightful meal in a Victorian setting, we heartily recommend Buttercream, advising you to call first to confirm their hours: (510) 527-1734.