This past Saturday I joined four other friends for Tea at L’Espalier. The get together was for my friend Nancy who is getting married next month and then moving to Virginia right after her wedding. It wasn’t really a shower but more of a coming together of friends who have all met through her in one way or another and found a special connection. There are people in your life who you feel very blessed to have them. I feel these wonderful women have blessed my life in one way or another.
Okay sappiness over. Let’s talk tea and little cakes!
I last wrote about the Fantasy Tea in 2011 and thought it might be nice to write again about my experience.
Located adjacent to the Mandarin Hotel, L’Espalier welcomes its patrons into an elegant and sophisticated restaurant, where you would feel a little out of place in more casual weekend wear. While the restaurant does not require jacket and tie it is recommended. We all dressed up more than one does for a Saturday afternoon, which in itself is a treat I think. There is something so wonderfully chic about dressing up for tea.
We sat in the salon area in while we waited for our full party to arrive. Once we had all arrived we were escorted to the corner dining room. Groups of ladies and couples were dotted around us celebrating their own get togethers.
Water was served as we looked at the “Fantasy Tea” menu of three fun choices named after children’s novels.
Little Red Riding Hood – Tea Sandwiches, Pastries, Petit Fours and tea – $40
Three Blind Mice – L’Espalier Cheese Tasting and tea – $30
Make Way for Ducklings – Petit Fours, Pastries and tea – $27
I already knew I was getting the Little Red Riding Hood as I wanted everything. It seems so did everyone else! Of course, what fancy tea is complete without a glass of wine? I also ordered a waiter recommended glass of Rosé, which was exactly to my tastes of sharp and dry. One of our ladies is expecting, which our waiter overheard. She didn’t want her left out as we were clinking glasses to celebrate Nancy so unprompted she made our friend a mocktail, which was so nice.
The tea selections offer a variety of options from black to spiced to mint and caffeine free alternatives. I wanted a black tea with a little milk.
Our first plates arrived with the selection of tiny tea sandwiches – House smoked salmon with “Everything” cream cheese and dill bread. Herb roasted chicken salad on a profiterole. English cucumber with watercress cream cheese and citrus bread. Apple Street Farm deviled egg with American caviar and smoked gouda cheese croissant. I loved the smoked salmon and the ridiculously buttery good Gouda cheese croissant.
Leaving us time in between to catch up and for Nancy to open some presents our afternoon strolled at a leisurely pace to the Petit Fours.
The tea sandwich selection may not look like a lot of food on the plate but it really is and I was already a little full but nothing was going to hold me back from my dessert tastings – Chocolate decadence with oatmeal crisp crumble. Chocolate madeleine. Black sesame basil scone; white chocolate lavender scone. Pâte à choux swan with espresso cream. Panna cotta with rhubarb jam and Strawberry meringue tart.
I am a little obsessed with the swan with espresso cream so I saved that little bit of decadence for last. Everyone seemed to favor something different.
Everyone who attneded to us was extremely polite and with impeccable manners making you immediately feel like a VIP. We were there for more than 2 hours and enjoyed every moment of this lovely, indulgent and delightful way to celebrate our friend.
If you want to celebrate a friend or even just to celebrate friendship this is a marvelous treat.