Lady Di’s – A little slice of heaven in the burbs of Portland

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 8:35AM
off the vine

By: Laura Sabo  Nestled in between the Willamette River and Oswego Lake in, appropriately named Lake Oswego, is Lady Di’s British Store & Tea Room. Like a cottage out of Nottingham Forest, Lady Di’s is a gem.

To visit Lady Di’s is like being transported back to Jolly Ole England. Not that I’ve been there, but I’m certain this is how it must be. The owner, Moya Stephens with her charming British roots, warmly welcomes you into her shop filled with the expected tea and crumpets and hard-to-find comfort foods from across the pond.

The store originally opened 23 years ago with then-owner, Diane, naming the store eponymously, Lady Di’s. The current owner has owned the shop nine years and through the years has added a tea room and maintained a steady stream of loyal Brits.

On the day of my visit, I was lucky enough to be seated in the Tea Cozy, a lovely side room seating six adjacent to the main tea room. The room is filled with all things Lady Di-related, including one of the original Official Programmes of the Royal Wedding. The Tea Cozy is available for the asking, but can also be reserved in advance.

The tea room menu offers tea sandwiches, scones with Devon cream, a ploughman’s lunch and 20+ kinds of teas. And where else in the Portland vicinity can you find Heinz Baked Beans on Toast?

Loyal followers come from all over the Portland area, the Oregon coast and even as far as Washington. They come seeking meat pies, Wensleydale cheese (think Wallace & Gromit), mincemeat tarts, salad cream, mushroom ketchup, candies, preserves, gravy, canned goods, clotted cream and bangers. A Union Jack newspaper is complimentary with purchase making customers feel even more at home.

One item that undoubtedly gets a second glance is Spotted Dick. Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit, typically currants, commonly served with either custard or butter and brown sugar. The Spotted refers to the dried fruit, which resemble spots, and Dick is possibly a contraction of the last syllable in the word pudding. Another explanation offered for Dick is that it comes from the German work for “thick”, referring to the thickened suet mixture.

A few personal favorites are Twiglets, a Marmite flavored snack shaped like small twigs, and Walker’s Marmite Potato Chips. Now before you go dissing Marmite, do yourself a favor and try this addictive flavor. Marmite is basically a yeast extract and is the same thing that’s put in beer. The British version is a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavor, which is extremely salty and savory — a bit of an acquired taste.

Before leaving, one last item I had to try for the ride home was Walker’s Worcester Sauce Potato Chips. I had also purchased the Marmite chips so happily devoured both bags, one chip at a time between the bags, before arriving back in Portland 10 minutes later.

Lady Di’s British Store & Tea Room
430 Second Street,
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
(503) 635-7298


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