Friday after work three of the girls I work with and I decided to go to Afternoon Tea at the Grand America Hotel. We'd actually had it planned for a while, as a special Christmas treat, and because we like doing things together.
Even though I spent 8 week in England, I had never been to afternoon tea. Truthfully, I just started drinking herbal tea about two months ago. I know. What kind of Anglophile am I?! I had also never been inside the Grand America, even though I have admired it from the outside, because it's just a beautiful building.
And it's just as beautiful inside. Lush carpet, beautiful chandeliers, a harp player, tile floors. It made me feel like I had a lot more money than I actually do. Or ever will.
The tea room is just off of the lobby. In my head I was picturing a tea room like this:
When actually there were couches and chairs as well as tables. The four of us sat at a table with beautiful dishes. The waitress came to get our order of tea (I ordered chamomile citron), and she poured hot water into a wine glass sitting on the middle of the table. The glass had a pellet like thing in it called a "tea flower." While we enjoyed our tea, the pellet bloomed into a flower!
Our first course, as we waited for our tea, was strawberries and chantilly cream. Then our tea was brought out. We each had our own tea pot, and we shared a sugar bowl which had real "lumps" of sugar. For the record, I take one lump. ;) We also got sandwiches at this point.
There were five different kinds of sandwiches, with enough that we all could have one of each. There were ham on marbled rye, chicken salad with almonds, egg salad, cucumber, and a smoked salmon wrap. There were also scones with clotted cream, lemon curd, and strawberry jam.
Then came the pastries. There was orange madeleines, jam cookies (I don't remember what they are called), vanilla cream cake with fudge, double chocolate cake, and macaroons.
The atmosphere was perfect. I'm not a huge fan of eating out, usually because there are so many people and it's so loud. But this was perfect. Everyone was in their little groups, and the noise level just seemed like a murmur. For the most part I didn't even notice the other people. There are large windows which let in a lot of light, and tall ceilings. At the opposite end of the room from where we were is a large fireplace. Of course, the company was great too. We all love Jane Austen, England, and period movies, so we talked about that, and sometimes we just sat in silence and enjoyed the food and atmosphere. It really did make me feel fancy and rich.
This is definitely something I want to do again, for special occasions. I would suggest it to everyone else too.