Thursday, August 23, 2012

Amana

Prague, Czech Republic

On our sister's recent trip to Prague, she visited a lovely tea shop, Amana, and brought us back some delicious tea.  We have been enjoying Amana's Japanese Lime and Wild Orange teas ever since!

Japanese Lime Tea

www.caj.cz

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Café at The Frick

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Best intimate atmosphere and natural lighting



A recent trip to Pittsburgh could not be complete without an afternoon of tea at The Frick. On the beautiful estate lies a charming café that offers afternoon tea.

Entrance: As we entered the café, we were greeted by a hostess who promptly took us to our table.

Service: Although we arrived before the 2:30 tea service began, we were allowed to place our order and received our tea right away. Promptly after 2:30 we were presented with our tiers of delicacies.

Presentation: Our table was adorned with fresh flowers, and the natural lighting in the room made for a beautiful atmosphere.

Table décor: The table had a lovely matching porecelain tea pot, cup, saucer, creamer and sugar atop a white tablecloth. The tea accessories included a customary tea strainer to aide in sifting out the leaves.


Aesthetics: The café featured floor to ceiling windows all around the tables which created lovely natural lighting inside. Outside the windows of the café is the sprawling Frick estate which makes for an enchanting view and picturesque setting.

Tea Quality/Variety: There were approximately 11 tea selections. I chose an apricot tea which was recommended by the staff. The tea was delicious and the pot was refilled upon request. Other tea choices included Earl Gray, English Breakfast, Russian Country, Darjeeling, Black Currant, Chocolate Mint and Sencha Green teas. There were also assorted herbal teas including French Verveine, Peppermint and Raspberry.

Food Quality/Variety: There were four sandwiches including: chicken salad, egg salad, egg tart, and a pea sandwich. There were two scones to indulge in including vanilla and apple cinnamon. The scones were served with English cream and jam. There was also four desserts + strawberries and chocolate. The desserts included a macaroon, almond cookie, date muffin, and cranberry muffin. At the end of the tea the waitress also gave us a small sugar cookie.



Music: There was no music the afternoon I was present.

Takeaways: There is a gift shop on the Frick premises that offers some tea accoutrements.

Price: Low-Average

*As the Café at The Frick is very small (I would guess it seats 20-30 people comfortably), reservations are highly recommended. I witnessed the host regrettably turn away some customers who did not have a reservation.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Restaurant Afteem

Bethlehem, Israel

Although we didn't have an official afternoon tea on our trip to Israel in February, we did enjoy a wam cup of tea at Restaurant Afteem in Bethlehem after a cold, snowy day of sight-seeing. The mint leaves and a bit of sugar brightened our tea, which we paired with a delicious falafel pita.  The restaurant's cozy, cave-like atmosphere and prompt service provided the perfect place to relax with a cup of tea.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Peninsula

Chicago, Illinois

Best Children's Tea




Entrance: The entrance to the lobby, where afternoon tea is served, is spacious and bright.

Greeting: When we arrived a host seated us at a lovely table by the windows.

Service: Our server promptly greeted us and gave us an overview of the tea menu.  At our request, he kindly substituted a cucumber sandwich in place of the smoked salmon.

Presentation and table décor: The tea service was very charming and included all the customary pieces.  The sandwiches and pastries were presented on a tiered server and the scones were served in a basket wrapped in a cloth napkin to keep them warm.

Tea variety: The Peninsula offers a selection of proprietary teas and premium teas which include 11 black teas, 7 green teas, 2 oolong teas and 5 herbal infusion teas.

Food quantity and variety: 3 sandwiches, 2 scones and a variety of tea desserts and pastries.

Food quality: The butternut squash filled pastry was our favorite.  We also enjoyed the strawberries and cream that was served to celebrate The Peninsula's 10th anniversary.

Music: Live violin music provided a lovely background for our tea.  We thought it was especially nice that the violinist performed from a small balcony overlooking the lobby.

Lighting: The lobby was very bright with lovely chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and lots of natural light from the wall of windows overlooking the terrace and city.

Bathroom: The bathroom was well-appointed, pretty and clean.

Take aways: Peninsula notepad and pen

Extras: The Peninsula has the cutest children's afternoon tea.  During our visit, there were many families partaking in tea with their children.  The children received a darling plate of tea savories and a teddy bear.

Price: High

http://www.peninsula.com/Chicago/en/Dining/The_Lobby/default.aspx

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Russian Tea Room

New York City

Best Russian Tea


You feel as though you are entering another world when you pass through the antique revolving door and step inside The Russian Tea Room.  Red leather booths line the walls so every seat faces the center of the room giving the space an open feel and encouraging guests to gaze at the lovely artwork lining the walls.


Our waiter provided us with afternoon tea menus and proceeded to take our tea order.  We selected the Russian Country tea per our waiter's recommendation.  The tea service was unique with a glass tumbler in a metal base with handle from which to drink our tea. The Russian Country tea, a black tea blend of Keemun, Assam, Ceylon and Formosa Oolong teas with a touch of Lapsang Souchong, was served with a small dish of cherries to sweeten the tea.


For our first course, our waiter brought out individual tiers of sandwiches and blinis.  Each guest received their own tier with the following: curried chicken salad with raisins and pecans, shrimp salad with rémoulade, smoked Scottish salmon with chive cream cheese and cucumber, artichoke with red pepper and a sun-dried tomato goat cheese, smoked ham and turkey with truffle croque monsieur, smoked sturgeon with dill and sour cream, roquefort bleu cheese and pear with walnuts, and two American caviars on blinis.

Our favorites included the shrimp salad sandwich and artichoke with red pepper and goat cheese sandwich.


After we had finished our first course, our waiter brought out another set of tiers with an assortment of  scones, cupcakes and chocolates.  Each guest received their own tier for this course as well.

Of note, one of the guests in our party has a gluten allergy and our waiter kindly brought her a rendition of the tea menu sans gluten.  We thought this was a very lovely and thoughtful touch.

The atmosphere and food were equally delightful at The Russian Tea Room and we love The Russian Tea Room matchbooks that we took home as a souvenir.

Price: High

http://www.russiantearoomnyc.com/

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Le Palais des Thés


Our sister recently introduced us to a lovely tea shop she discovered in Tel-Aviv, Israel.  Le Palais des Thés opened its first boutique in 1987 in Paris, France and has since expanded to 26 locations in 7 countries. We appreciate its simple mission: "to help people discover the rich world of tea and introduce them to its many pleasures."

I was delighted to receive Quatre Fruits Rouges, a black tea scented with four red fruits: strawberry, raspberry, cherry and red currant, as a birthday present last week.  The tea has a lovely fruit scent and light flavor. 

According to Les Palais des Thés' website, a new boutique will be opening in New York which will be the first location in the United States (hurray!).  You can also order their tea from their online shop: http://us.palaisdesthes.com/en_us/

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Harney & Sons SoHo Tasting Room

I had the priviledge of visiting Harney & Sons Tasting Room in SoHo on a recent trip to New York. The shop is beautiful with expansive shelves of countless varieties of tea (loose leaf, teabags and sachets), lovely tea pots and tea accessories as well as books about tea.  The tea counter features "tea of the moment" which is available to sample.


 At the back of the shop is a tea lounge with tables where you can sit and enjoy a pot of tea and some of their delicious menu offerings which include three varieties of scones.

Harney's Tea Lounge Menu

Some of our favorite Harney's teas include: Paris Tea (black tea with vanilla, caramel and bergamot), Hot Cinnamon Spice (blend of black teas, three types of cinnamon, orange peel, and sweet cloves) and Rose Scented Tea (blend of large leaf Ceylon and Keemun scented with rose oil and rosebuds).

An added bonus of visiting Harney's Tasting Room was learning that Harney's supplied the tea for Takashimaya's Tea Box which regrettably closed last year.  Now we can purchase Takashimaya Rose and Orange Spice at Harney's (Rose Scented Tea and Hot Cinnamon Spice respectively).

http://www.harney.com/

TWT, Breanne