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Take a Break. It’s Teatime in Torrance

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Teatime in Torrance. Next to a Fuddrucker’s no less. All right, so maybe it doesn’t compare to high tea at Windsor Castle, but Crickett’s Tea Room and Cafe in Rolling Hills Plaza in Torrance offers a delightful respite from the bustle of the city.

Opened in 1991 by Elizabeth Welch and Gus Velarde, Crickett’s has expanded from a cramped three-table store selling teas and teapots to a brightly decorated room that can seat up to 80 people. Elizabeth fills the role of the charming host so naturally that you might be surprised to learn her last job was shipping containers. It was only after meeting Velarde, who owned the Sidewalk Cafe in Palos Verdes Estates, that she became interested in the restaurant business.

Crickett’s high tea ($10.50) includes a cup of the soup of the day, a small plate of the salad of the day, a croissant sandwich (your choice of chicken salad, egg salad, ham or roast beef), a scone with Devonshire cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd, dessert and, of course, English tea.

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Crickett’s also offers a light lunch menu. One of the highlights is the French Moroccan salad ($5.95), which is made with orange slices, pitted dates, toasted coconut and almonds, topped with a poppy-seed dressing. The Oriental chicken salad ($5.95) features chicken breast, bean sprouts, grapes, snow peas and crisp rice noodles. Pasta primavera salad ($5.95) is a medley of broccoli, button mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots and chicken breast.

Sandwiches ($6.50) include honey-glazed ham, top round of beef and sliced turkey breast served on a French roll, rye or a croissant.

Crickett’s plans to add a small English-style pub next to the tearoom soon.

Crickett’s Tea Room and Cafe is at 2651-A Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance. (310) 326-9971. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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