the stranger

Natasha Robson-Lovato opened Queen Anne's Cederberg Tea House with her husband and parents when they decided they needed a brick-and-mortar location for their catering business, which specializes in traditional South African afternoon tea. They still do catering at different locations—recently, at a Sherlock Holmes convention—but prefer to host events at Cederberg because of the difficulty of moving elaborate tea sets and trays that resemble towering pastry-covered chandeliers. The teahouse specializes in rooibos tea, ground and brewed like espresso. Rooibos isn't caffeinated, though it's been known to cause an energy burst, perhaps because of the massive quantity of antioxidants it contains.

My creamy, honey-drizzled rooibos cappuccino came with a pleasantly light and salty shortbread cookie. Cederberg is the only place in town you can get South African pastries like koeksisters, braids of syrup-soaked fried bread that taste like the ultimate doughnut, and the reportedly wildly addictive mulva pudding. "People come in three days in a row and say in hushed tones, 'I need a mulva pudding,'" Natasha said. "And I tell them, 'You know, they're not illegal.'" The teahouse has developed a following of former catering clients (whom I like to imagine are mainly costumed Sherlock Holmes fans), native South Africans, and a growing number of local mulva pudding fiends. recommended