Archive for the 'Afternoon Tea' Category

Valerie Echo Park – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Valerie Echo Park - Los Angeles

The birthday girl usually gets what she wants, but Sunday brunch at Cortez just wasn’t meant to be last week. As we approached the usually bustling scene, we were greeted with dimmed lights, chair-topped tables, and a short but effective note stating that the owners had high-tailed it out of town in celebration of the restaurant’s first anniversary. Congrats to them, too bad for us.

Needless to say, alternative plans had to be made on the spot.

Valerie Echo Park - Los Angeles

We briefly considered getting down at Guisados or popping into Xoia, but the birthday girl desired sweet nothings and savory somethings from Valerie, so that’s just what we had.

Valerie Echo Park - Los Angeles

Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman Jr. opened this Echo Park outlet earlier this summer following the launch of their lunch counter inside Downtown’s Grand Central Market.

The food and drink served here is a “less precious” take on traditional afternoon tea. Y’all know how I feel about afternoon tea…

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Afternoon Tea at Brown’s Hotel – London

Afternoon Tea at Brown's Hotel - London

Sitting down for a proper afternoon tea was a must-do on my first trip to London. While I was trying to decide between tea at The Ritz or Claridge’s, my friend and former London resident Simon stepped in and insisted on Brown’s Hotel, which was voted “Top London Afternoon Tea” by The Tea Guild a few years back. Reservations were immediately made and anticipated.

Afternoon Tea at Brown's Hotel - London

Upon our arrival, my mom, The Astronomer, and I were seated at a cushy table by the window in the sprawling “English Tea Room.” A pianist filled the space with lovely arrangements of mostly familiar songs.

Tea is served everyday during the hours between lunch and dinner. Brown’s offers a variety of options, including Champagne Afternoon Tea and a lightened “Tea Tox” Afternoon Tea. We chose the traditional set (£39.50), which included all the trimmings and a few special touches.

Afternoon Tea at Brown's Hotel - London

Our teas were served in an antique silver tea service. A silver pot of hot water was also brought to the table so that we could refresh our teapots when needed to keep the teas from getting too strong.

Mom sipped a fragrant jasmine tea, while The Astronomer indulged in a fruity infusion that smelled like Hawaiian Punch but tasted like regular tea. I had the Nilgiri tea, which boasted hints of malt, caramel, and orange peel.

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Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Langham – Pasadena

Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Langham – Pasadena

Many moons ago, The Astronomer and I won a Blogger Prom raffle prize for chocolate afternoon tea for two at The Langham. We were thrilled to take home such fine swag, but for reasons inconceivable at the moment, the voucher sat unused for almost a year. A week before our prized prize was set to expire, The Astronomer and I finally made a proper reservation and cleared our calendars. When Sunday rolled around, we drove down the street, handed off our wheels to valet, sauntered over to the Lobby Lounge, and readied ourselves for a parade of dainty delights.

Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Langham

The Langham offers a special chocolate afternoon tea service every Sunday from noon to 4 PM. The price is $59 for adults and $29.50 for children. Our midday indulgence began with chilled glasses of Krug champagne. I love how bubbly has the power to transform any old occasion into a celebratory one. Cheers to that!

For my tea, I selected the pear caramel, which was made with Washington State pears blended with black teas from Ceylon and China. It was a touch sweet with hints of vanilla and caramel. The Astronomer’s chocolate mint truffle tea made with rooibos was legitimately chocolatey, while the mint gave it a soothing quality.

Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Langham - Pasadena

As we sipped and chatted, a three-tiered tower arrived at the table. There are many reasons to adore afternoon tea, but my personal favorite are these imposing presentation pieces.

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The Crumpet Shop – Seattle

THE CRUMPET SHOP

If there was one British practice that we should have retained before ousting them from our shores centuries ago, it surely is afternoon tea. I can’t think of a better way to spend the hazy hours between lunch and dinner than indulging in warm tea with clotted cream-slathered scones. As much as I adore the practice, I’ve only been to tea exactly two times in my life. On both occasions I was in a fancy hotel in Saigon [See: Caravelle and Park Hyatt] and on both occasions I missed out on crumpets. Sure, there were dainty finger sandwiches and adorable petit fours, but sadly, not a single crumpet graced my three-tiered towers.

THE CRUMPET SHOP

I finally had the pleasure of tasting a coveted crumpet while in Seattle. Opened in 1976 by Gary Lasater and Nancy McFaul, The Crumpet Shop has become a city institution. While crumpets aren’t traditionally eaten for breakfast, The Astronomer, Rosalind, and I thought they’d be perfectly pleasant in the morning. We snagged a table near the kitchen, granting us the opportunity to spy on the unknowing chap performing his crumpet making duties.

THE CRUMPET SHOP

Crumpets are the result of a simple yeast batter meeting a hot griddle and circular molds. The spilled-over batter is scraped off to create a neat disc. The surface is spongy and porous, which allows butter and jam to seep into every little hole. The texture is similar to an English muffin, but a bit doughier and more substantial.

On our first visit to The Crumpet Shop, we shared two crumpets with butter and fresh preserves ($1.95). Each one was toasted to order and buttered up nicely. The marmalade was full of zesty bits and bitter enough to remind us that we were eating a whole orange with a bit of sugar rather than the opposite.

THE CRUMPET SHOP

The gooseberry jam offered two firsts in one bite—my first crumpet and my first gooseberry! Taste-wise, the jam was better balanced than the marmalade.

THE CRUMPET SHOP

The Astronomer and I returned to The Crumpet Shop a few days later for an afternoon snack. This time around, we sampled a savory one. The warm crumpet came topped with a thick spread of ricotta cheese, house-made pesto, and shredded ham ($4). The highlight was the subtle and creamy ricotta. I don’t think I’ve ever been so taken by ricotta cheese.

I loved my crumpet experience so much that I purchased crumpet molds from Amazon as soon as I arrived home. I cannot wait to have afternoon tea in my apartment with fresh crumpets and jam served on the brand-new China from the wedding registry. Good times ahead.

The Crumpet Shop
1503 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 206-682-1598

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