Monday, November 07, 2005

Afternoon Tea at The Drake: No Experience Necessary

I'm really not an Afternoon High Tea kind of a girl. At least I didn't think so. I imagined older women with polyester pantsuits and pearls. Gossiping about friends and family (ok that I CAN do). So when Jess suggested we go to tea at one of the nicer hotels in Chicago I wasn't too sure. But I knew she really enjoyed that sort of thing so I said "Why not?"

We had three hotels we were deciding between: The Drake, The Ritz-Carlton, and The Four Seasons. Tea is served in the lounge area typically beginning around 4pm. Jess is pregnant so she called around to see what finger sandwiches were being served since her dietary requirements were much more stringent than mine. I just knew I wasn't going to be having the duck pate. Brrrrllllch. No.

We ended up going to The Drake Hotel's Palm Court. Very nice. Very elegant inside. We sat together on the couch at our table so we could people watch together. We had a choice to order champagne to make it ROYAL High Tea but Jess can't drink of course. And I couldn't stomach the idea of having champagne with my tea if I know that's a practice also enjoyed by Camilla and Charles. Camilla, here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.

Anyway, the lovely wait staff were prompt and courteous. I am not much of a tea drinker. I had a green tea jag that I was on a couple years ago, but I drank it solely for the health benefits - taking it like medicine - a necessary evil. I just have never warmed up to the taste. For our Afternoon Tea, I was there for the sandwiches and pastries. Oh and the harp.

Yes there was a harpist. A sweet girl decked out in a flowy dress. She played so angelically. But wait. That familiar... "Endless Love?" To be followed by "My Love Goes on" from Titanic. She played movie soundtrack songs. Very lovely, but it seemed strange that I was singing along in my head. Sort of like I do to the muzak at the grocery store. I kept waiting for the Star Trek or Indiana Jones theme to begin.

I picked my tea (Gunpowder Green) and Jess (Darjeeling) showed me how to use the "tea equipment" because I was clueless. Then they brought over the little sandwiches, scones and breads with jams and clotted cream. I had very mixed feelings about eating anything with the word "clotted" in it. The Drake referred to it as Devonshire cream and it was mmmm...good. The sandwiches were delightful (Roast beef, Ham & Asparagus roll up, Egg Salad and Cucumber & Tomato). How can you beat small sandwiches with no crust!

"Delightful" doesn't sound terribly British to say when talking about tea. It was charming, BRILLIANT even.

After we finished tea and gabbing and gossiping and looking at all the biddies and tourists having tea, we had our pastries and decided to try a different tea. I went with a Chocolate Mint. I forget what Jess was having because I was too busy licking the tea cup ful of chocolatey mint goodness.

We finished up the tea and gathered our things and as we walked out of The Drake's Palm Court I swear I heard the harpist beginning the refrains of "A little less conversation a little more action..."


  • At 11:32 PM, November 07, 2005, Blogger Claire said…

    Ah yes, but were you wearing the requisite hats with the extremely large brims?

    Suddenly I am feening for a cup of tea...oh wait, no. Me wantee cookie.


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