Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tea in Boston & NYC

I had afternoon tea with a few friends today, but I stopped at Whittard of Chelsea at Faneuil Hall first, and look what I got! They were 50% off, and so pretty! My heart also stopped at a set that featured cats, but the fine bone china looked too delicate for me to be comfortable using.

So we went to the Boston Langham hotel, and I snapped a pic of my plate with my cellphone like a tourist. My friends thought it would be funny to include an "after" shot, after I demolished my little finger sandwiches and pastries. Doesn't it look like a work of art (that is, the "before" shot)? I had smoked salmon (from top left down), ham mousse (better than it sounds), and cucumber sandwiches; scones, banana bread, and some walnut-y tea bread; and Boston cream pie (which, if you don't know, is actually a cake), a chocolate-covered strawberry, a macaroon, and a tasty madeleine. I washed it all down with cups of Assam. My favorite place is still the Taj, but they have the nerve not to serve on weekdays anymore! Still, this was, as my friend Bill put it, "pretty damn good."
I went to New York later that week to throw a bridal shower and visit my folks, and I had tea with my mom (she wanted to try it, too) at Lady Mendl's in Manhattan. Sorry, but no pictures! It looked like too much of a classy place (the type where waiters invade your personal space by putting your napkin on your lap for you... hate that) to be clicking pictures with my cell, so I chickened out. But I can describe!
It's located in an inn where an actress used to live, and the interior decor is beautiful 1920s New York style, with lots of beautiful wood paneling and candles. Tea there isn't served on a three-tier stand or square plate, but in five courses (and you can ask for seconds!). First course is a salad, followed by a second course of finger sandwiches. Those included cucumber; turkey with cranberry; smoked salmon; and sundried tomato and goat cheese. Third course consisted of scrumptious scones with Devonshire cream. For fourth course, you get a choice of a slice of chocolate mousse cake or a layered crepes with vanilla cream cake, both served with fresh berries. My mom picked the chocolate mousse cake and devoured it, and I thought the layered crepes cake was a bit squidgy and only OK. We couldn't really eat anymore, but there was a fifth course of chocolate-covered strawberries with petit fours and some poppyseed cookie I wasn't crazy about. Much was left on our plates. My darjeeling was tasty, and my mom chose a great oolong with mild floral notes. The whole experience was pretty good, and cost $35 per person. Worth checking out!

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