Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mission Houses Museum

I am a big fan of deals and coupons.  I am absolutely the sucker that marketing companies target because I will buy 2 of something if the second one is 30% off or whatever.  I am naturally drawn to big ass bright signs that say "CLEARANCE" or "50% OFF!"  I also go to the store and compare unit prices and get the item that is the better buy, even if I don't need two 60oz jars of peanut butter.  It's just smart shopping, in my opinion.  This is why I love Costco.  I also love Groupon and LivingSocial - programs that harness group buying power to lower prices of events, activities, spas, and restaurants in major cities around the world.  If you're not familiar with these websites, you get one email a day alerting you to some phenomenal deal for the day.  It's free to sign up and you don't get spam as a result (other than the daily email).

Kawaiaha'o Church
I recently bought a coupon for Buy One/Get One Free Tea at the Mission Houses Cafe and Tea Parlor.  The museum and cafe are located across from 'Iolani Palace and next to the Supreme Court building. It is right off of Kapi'olani Ave on the Kawaiaha'o Church grounds.  The Mission Houses Museum connects the story of the American Protestant missionaries to the history and culture of Hawai‘i.  The Cafe and Tea Parlor is nestled in with the houses of the first Missionaries that came to Hawaii in the 1820's. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was actually pretty nice. The Cafe serves a light breakfast, coffee drinks, and lunch with takeout and casual in-house dining.  On Saturdays, though, they have "Saturday Afternoon Tea," which is what the coupon was for.  They have a preset menu with preset prices where they serve a pot of hot tea (per person), little sandwiches, desserts, and biscotti.

Mission Houses Cafe and Tea Parlor

The pastries, pristine tea sandwiches, and carefully prepared teas are served on fine china and are great for a relaxed afternoon break if you're walking around downtown or sightseeing at the Palace/Supreme Court building. Note that the tea is ONLY done on Saturdays from 11am-4pm.  The Saturday tea menu commemorates the women who came to Hawai'i as Missionaries in the 1820’s. Each menu offering is named after one of these women and highlights her contributions to Hawai'i.  They give you a little booklet that briefly talks about each woman, and I have to say their contributions were impressive. One woman founded the first organized school in Hawai'i.  Another translated Hawaiian into English so they could teach scripture, but she went further and also taught Hawaiians how to speak English.  Lucy Thurston, another woman whose name is on the menu, was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent the island's first mastectomy in her late 50s, and yet continued to teach in the Hawaiian schools for 21 years (until she died just before her 83rd birthday).

Presentation of Treats

You can see the normal menu here or the tea menu here.  Overall, this is probably something that older couples or mothers/daughters would spend time doing, but it was admittedly a cool place to check out. The food and tea were good and it was peaceful.  As I have said before, I am not a fan of museums, so I didn't tour the museum itself, but you can always do that too if you're interested.

Museum and Cafe Grounds

1 comment:

  1. I loved this place! What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. Plus the service was great - very friendly! Make sure you eat something else before/after you go - the treats, while delicious, are not very filling.

    One thing I do recommend to people though is to make reservations - they appreciate it and there are a limited number of tables so you might not be able to get a seat without a reservation. Overall, a fun place to relax and have some tea.

    Do you have any tea recommendations Ke'ehi Loio? What kinds did you try?