Friday, July 16, 2010

The Drake

Chicago, Illinois

Most Impressive Afternoon Tea Guests: Queen Elizabeth, Diana the Princess of Wales, and the Empress of Japan and Best Harp Music

Entrance: The entrance to The Drake is inviting and quaint. You walk through the hall and up the stairway to the Palm Court. We enjoyed afternoon tea the day before Thanksgiving so the entrance to the Palm Court displayed the most grand Christmas tree we have, to this day, ever seen.

Greeting: We were greeted by the host and seated at a lovely table by the fountain.

Service: Our server was polite and reviewed the tea selection with us.

Presentation: The tea service was classic and traditional.

Table decor: The tea pot, cup and saucer and tiered serving trays were refined and proper - most appropriate for the Queen! We loved the tea strainer which we often forgot to place over our cups before pouring more tea.

Aesthetics: The tea room is elegant and spacious. We sat next to the water fountain near the harpist and both elements combined to create a lovely tea experience.

Tea Quality: The tea was delicious and maintained a nice taste even after several refills of hot water.

Tea Variety: The Drake offered 11 black teas, 1 oolong tea, 2 green teas, 1 white tea and 5 herbal teas as well as an array of tea-tinis :)

Food Quality: The food was very good; our favorite was the cucumber sandwich.

Food Quantity: There were 4 sandwiches: roast beef, cucumber, egg salad and asparagus and ham, 2 desserts and scones with lemon curd and English double devon cream.

Food Variety: There was a good variety of food. We were able to enjoy a very leisurely tea with plenty of tasties to last for hours.

Music: The harp music was amazing! The Drake definitely offers the best music for afternoon tea. The harp player was so elegant in her black gown - she was the perfect addition to the tea setting.

Lighting: The lighting was pleasant - not too dim or bright.

Bathroom: The bathroom was another exceptional element of the tea experience. The bathroom contains individual stalls with toilet, sink and mirror, and offer lovely, too-nice-to-throw-away hand towels with the Drake emblem.

Take Aways: The bathroom hand towels! The Drake also has some delightful shops to peruse. In addition to Chanel :), there is a cute little shop with a variety of collectables including elaborate miniature merry-go-rounds, but we must forewarn you - don't pet the dog (There's a minature stuffed dog that Breanne mistakenly petted prior to reading the sign: "Do not pet the dog!")

Extras: Endless hot water refills for your tea.

Price: Average to High

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Ladies Tea Room

Canton, Ohio

Best Lemon Curd and Best Assorted Tea Service and Tableware

Entrance: In the entrance to The First Ladies Tea Room is an adorable tea shop. You can buy the beautiful tea pots, tea cups and saucers that are used in the tea room as well as an array of other tea accessories. One of our favorites is the beautiful gold plated tea warmer.

Greeting: We were greeted in the tea shop and graciously seated for tea.

Service: Our tea was served by the owner who is truly the perfect tea hostess. She explained the four tea service options:

Dolley Madison: tea, scones and a selection of sweets
Martha Washington: tea, soup, your choice of quiche, sandwich, or salad and dessert
Ida McKinley: tea, soup, finger sandwiches, scones, tea breads, fruit and dainties
First Ladies: tea, soup, quiche or salad, scones, fruit, finger sandwiches, dainty sweet treats and a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage
The standard afternoon tea service is the Martha Washington tea which we selected. Lindsey has also partaken in the First Ladies tea.

Presentation: An assortment of loose leaf teas was brought to our table for us to smell and select from.

Table decor: The table decor was delightful. We both had different tea pots and cups - giving the table a homey, eclectic feel. We loved that our tea pots were placed on tea warmers which kept our tea warm for our entire visit, and we adored the lemon curd, Devonshire cream and scone plate.

Aesthetics: The tea room is perfectly decorated with damask wall paper, a cozy fireplace and pictures of first ladies hanging on the walls. We love a little history with our tea! First Lady Ida McKinley is a native of Canton, Ohio - hence the name of the tea room and the delightful theme.

Tea Quality: The tea was delicious. We tried the Creme Brulee and Winter Spice teas.

Tea Variety: There was a nice assortment of teas. We loved that the loose leaf teas were brought to our table on a tray for us to smell and explained by our hostess before we made our selection.

Food Quality: The lemon curd is the best delicatessen we have ever tasted!! It is the owner's own recipe and although the tea shop sells lemon curd, it is not her recipe :( trust us, we've inquired several times.

Food Quantity: The soup was delicious and there is always a quiche, sandwich and salad to select from. The desserts all sound so good it is hard to decide on just one!

Food Variety: Cup of soup, choice of quiche, sandwich or salad, dessert and scones (assortment depends on tea service selected).

Music: Soft music plays in the background and is only noticeable if you want to hear it, not overpowering to prohibit conversation.

Lighting: The wall sconces provided a dim and relaxing setting for tea.

Bathroom: The bathroom is a single room and it carries through the adorable theme of the tea room with Victorian wallpaper, white wood stalls, and lovely smelling soap and lotion.

Take Aways: As many tea accoutrements from the tea shop as your wallet will let you go home with!

Extras: The tea shop is a huge extra, plus First Ladies Tea Room provides a true tea room experience as their business solely focues on the art of afternoon tea.

Price: Low to Average (depending on tea service selected)