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

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:

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).

TWT, Breanne

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trick or Tea

pumpkin candles from Pottery Barn

One of our favorite holidays is Halloween, and we were thrilled to discover that The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland hosts a Halloween-themed tea, entitled Trick or Tea! 

The name alone makes us want to attend this tea, and it supports a good cause, Coats for Kids, as well.

The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland Calendar of Events

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Emerald Necklace Inn Tea Room

Cleveland, Ohio

Best Tea Selection

My parents' recent visit provided the perfect opportunity to sweep my Mom off to a newly discovered tea room in Cleveland.

The Emerland Necklace is a lovely Inn with a tea room that serves tea daily. The tea room offers four different tea services to choose from. We selected the Emerald Afternoon Tea. Other options include the Mary Gillis Afternoon Tea, Lilia's Children's Tea and a Princess Party. The Emerald Afternoon Tea included a pot of tea, cup of soup or salad, scone and bread plate, quiche with fresh fruit, three tea sandwiches, and Chef's elegant dessert assortment.

Entrance: The Emerald Necklace Tea Room has its own entrance separate from the rest of the Inn. Lovely plants and landscaping decorate the exterior leading into the tea room gift shop.

Greeting: Upon entering the gift shop we were greeted by a lovely tea room attendant. Our table was ready as soon as we arrived.

Service: The service was pleasant and punctual. Our tea was brought out shortly after we sat down and the food service followed.

Presentation: The table was laid out beautifully with all the tea necessities. The table contained sugar cubes, devonshire cream, lemon curd, jam and salt and pepper shakers.

Table decor: Our tea pots and tea cups were mixed floral patterns. I enjoyed the knife which rested on its own special plate. Our tea pots rested atop lovely white ceramic tea warmers. There was a two-tier server that held our breads and sandwiches.

Aesthetics: The quaint tea room was adorned in lovely florals with pictures of tea cups and such lining the walls. There was a lovely assortment of tea pots and cups throughout the room. The tea room featured a decorative mantle creating an inviting faux fireplace-look. The tables were dressed with lovely light pink cloths.

Tea Quality: I had the Lady Helen's Royal Tea which I enjoyed with cream and sugar. My mom selected the Cream au Caramel Roobois. Both teas were fabulous!

Tea Variety: Upon sitting down for tea at The Emerald Necklace Inn, guests are provided with a lengthy tea menu. I did not count all of the teas available but I would assume their extensive list would please most tea palates.

Food Quality and Variety: We were first served a lovely tomato soup and toasted bread, followed by tea sandwiches which included: tomato and cheese bruschetta, chicken apple salad and the traditional cucumber sandwich.  After the sandwiches, we enjoyed the bread and scone course. The bread selection included banana, rasin, and a blueberry scone. We then enjoyed a vegetable quiche with seasonal fresh fruit. Finally we had the dessert course which included: chocolate covered cherry, fortune cookie, lemon mandolin, brownie, cheesecake, and a pizzelle with whipped cream and strawberries. My mom and I both loved the pizzelle!

Music: There was no live music, but nice instrumental music played in the background during our tea.

Lighting: There were lit candles on the tables, overhead lighting and natural light coming in from the windows.

Bathroom: The bathroom located next to the tea room gift shop was styled with adorable tea decor. There was also a framed article discussing the proprietor of the Inn.

Takeaways: The tea room allows you to purchase from a large assortment of takeaways. They also sell an extensive variety of tea.

Price: Low

TWT :) Lindsey

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gong Fu Tea

Des Moines, Iowa

With fall officially commencing last Friday, we've been observing that the hours of daylight are slowly beginning to decrease. This prompted us to share our favorite tea that provides that extra boost of energy we sometimes need in the fall and winter months, Organic 500 Mile Chai.  The tea's name originates from the many late night truck drivers stopping at small chai stands along India's highways asking for a very strong and sweet brew to help them drive long distances ("for another 500 miles"). Organic 500 Mile Chai is a blend of small leaf black tea, dried ginger, cloves and cinnamon.  
We discovered this delicious tea at one of our favorite tea shops, Gong Fu Tea.  They offer a broad selection of fine teas, including one of our staples - Spice Tea, as well as lovely teaware.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pars Persian Store

Chicago, Illinois

It seems lovely fall weather has arrived providing us with the perfect reason to enjoy even more tea! We've been busy refilling our tea tins and wanted to share one of our favorite neighborhood tea shops, Pars.  Unfortunately, Pars does not have a website which means that if you do not live in Chicago you will just have to add this to your list of reasons to visit this great city :)

Pars carries much more than tea (everything from specialty foods and spices to home goods and more) but we go there for their wonderful (and inexpensive) selection of loose leaf teas and tea accessories.  They have shelves lined with containers of tea - the equivalent of a tea 'candy store' - complete with the scoop to fill your bag with as much tea as you can afford to take home! Some of our favorites include the English breakfast tea and green flowering teas (which are individually sold so you can take home a variety to sample).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peter Rabbit Tea

We were thrilled to become first time aunts in May, and could hardly wait to plan a baby shower tea party in honor of our sister, Nicki, and our new nephew, Sam :) With a shared love of Beatrix Potter, we had such fun designing our tea party around this theme.

We paired our menu items with our
favorite Beatrix Potter characters.
(Lindsey's boyfriend kindly drew
impromptu illustrations on our
tea party signage)

A darling Beatrix Potter cupcake kit
with cupcake paper liners and toothpicks
was the perfect decoration for
Mr. McGregor's carrot cupcakes.

We were not brave enough to attempt making our scones
from scratch, so we purchased Sticky Fingers cranberry
scone mix - the next best thing! We did spring for
homemade devonshire cream though :)

Our menu included one of our
favorite childhood recipes: mud pies
named in our nephew's honor.

Our tea buffet

We purchased an eclectic mix of tea cups and invited guests
to take their tea cups home with them as a tea party favor.

We personalized the tea cups with each guest's name.

Our baby shower tea favor included a tiny tin of Muggswigz
Earl Grey tea.  We decorated the tins with green jute ribbon
and Peter Rabbit gift tags.

Our father, master gardener and
landscaper extraordinaire, designed
baskets that perfectly complemented
our Peter Rabbit theme.

Thanks to Etsy's vendors and Pottery Barn Kids for their lovely selection of Beatrix Potter decorations :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Amherst Rose: Afternoon Tea with Jane Pettigrew - Day 2

The second day of our weekend of tea featured an afternoon tea buffet followed by a tea tasting and discussion of how to brew a proper pot of tea.


We can not think of a better way to spend a leisurely weekend then with two consecutive days of afternoon tea! The second day of our tea weekend was the perfect sequel. The tea buffet was so beautifully prepared and displayed that we almost hated to eat any of the delicious looking treats. After being served tea and filling our plates from the buffet, our tea host, Mary Jane, passed around mini tea cups and introduced us to her Zojirushi tea kettle. The Zojirushi immediately won us over and has now been added to our list of must-have tea accessories.

While Mary Jane prepared our first tea, Jane Pettigrew handed out Tea Tasting worksheets that listed the teas we would be sampling: Camellia Joy white flowering tea, Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea, Dong Ding oolong tea, Tregothnan English tea, and Charleston Tea Plantation black tea. There was room on our handouts to take notes on the following characteristics of each tea: Appearance of Dry Leaf, Appearance of Liquor, Aroma of Liquor, Taste of Liquor, Appearance of Wet Leaf, Aroma of Wet Leaf, and a Comments Section in which we noted the proper brewing time and water temperature for each variety of tea.

As we sampled the tea, Jane Pettigrew provided us with a background on each tea that included the process used to prepare the leaves which establishes the tea's classification: white, green, oolong or black tea. All of the teas were delicious, and we were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to sample the first flush black tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation, which is owned by the Bigelow family. We learned that the Charleston Plantation has a walk-through tea factory which allows you to see the process in which the tea is prepared as well as a trolly tour of the tea fields. We can hardly wait to plan our visit!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Amherst Rose: Afternoon Tea with Jane Pettigrew - Day One

The first day of our weekend of tea featured a five course afternoon tea followed by a discussion of the social history of tea.


The Amherst Rose is a charming home that hosts private tea parties and scheduled tea events. We were fortunate to be able to attend a weekend of afternoon tea at The Amherst Rose with British Tea Specialist, Jane Pettigrew.

When arriving at The Amherst Rose you immediately see the beautiful gardens surrounding the brightly painted property. You enter through the front door into a delightful tea shop selling various tea accoutrements. Upon our arrival, Mary Jane, owner of The Amherst Rose and host of our tea weekend, greeted us personally and made us feel very welcome.

When we entered the tea room itself there was one long central table surrounded by smaller tables. Resting at each place setting, was a small canvas with a picture of a tea cup personalized with each guest's name. A gift bag was placed on each chair containing lovely tea accessories.

We were seated at the long central table and were immediately served a homemade vanilla cream and rosewater sparkling soda. We enjoyed chatting with fellow guests who had traveled from Canada, Michigan, Pittsburgh and various other locations for the tea event.

We were served a five course tea, of which we enjoyed every last course. Some of our favorites included the pork tenderloin sandwich, Kensington Palace scones and garden medley quiche.

Our Five Course Tea Menu:

Vanilla Cream and Rosewater Sparkling Soda
French Vanilla Cupcake with Rosewater Frosting

Three Cheese Soup
Kensington Palace Scones
Lemon Curd and Double Devonshire Cream
Strawberry Rose Preserves

Tarragon Chicken Salad on Croissants
Cucumber and Dilled Cream Cheese Rounds
Garden Medley Quiche
Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Savory Sauce

Double Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
Turkish Delight
Petite Creme Brulee
Rose and Pistachio Gelato
After finishing our five courses, our tea host, Mary Jane, introduced the guest of honor, Jane Pettigrew. Jane then began her discussion of A Social History of Tea. Jane's presentation was very lovely and informative. We enjoyed learning how tea was introduced in Britain and America, and how it became, and continues to be, a part of both countries' culture.  Some of our favorite tidbits we learned included the origin of the word tip (to insure promptness), and "noonshine" which was one of the original names for lunch.
After the presentation, Jane Pettigrew was available to autograph her books, which were happily sold in The Amherst Rose's gift shop.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Travelers Who Tea Celebrates Its One-Year Anniversary!

We are so excited to celebrate our one-year anniversary in June! And what better way to celebrate than by attending a weekend of tea with Jane Pettigrew at The Amherst Rose.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio

Best Takeaways and Loveliest Piano Music

Lindsey's recent birthday included a surprise afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland.  What a wonderful way to spend a gray, Sunday afternoon (or really any afternoon).

Entrance: After taking the elevator to the 6th floor, you arrive in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton hotel. Beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling create a lovely, sparkly ambiance.

Greeting: A charming Ritz employee escorted us to a quaint room where the tea-ers are seated.  Upon entering the room we were greeted and shown to our table.  As we were the first to arrive for tea, we were seated at the best table which was directly across from the gorgeous roaring fireplace.  The early bird gets the best tea table!

Service: As contrary to other tea services, we did not have tea pots on our table.  Instead, the servers poured us tea from communal tea pots which were placed on a table in the center of the room. The servers were excellent and we never got to the bottom of our cup before it was quickly refilled. Our tea was never cold and we were very impressed with the constant attention.  The servers first brought out a plate of sandwiches within minutes of us sitting down (although we had arrived a little early). Long before we finished the sandwiches, our server brought out a three-tiered server with scones and desserts.

Presentation: Our table was beautifully set with cream, sugar and a trio of jellies and honey. The beautiful presentation matched the elegant surroundings.

Table decor: Our matching tea ware was a lovely floral pattern fitting for the upcoming Spring season.  I adored the trio of jellies on the table.  The gorgeous tiered server and tea pot were silver and adorned with a lion at the top (a symbol from The Ritz-Carlton logo).

Aesthetics: An inviting and warm atmosphere was enhanced by lighting from the marble fireplace and chandeliers.  A plush floral carpet with rich draperies were perfectly fitting for a luxurious afternoon tea. The room was filled with dark wood tables with various arrangements complemented by an array of beautiful settees, sofas and chairs. Ornate picture frames decorated the wood paneled walls. A large parlor table sat in the center of the room with a lush plant surrounded by an array of tea pots.

Tea Quality: Our tea selections were The Ritz-Carlton Blend (Blue Sapphire) and the Vanilla tea.  We both took our tea with cream and sugar and thoroughly enjoyed every sip!

Tea Variety: The Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland offers 7 tea choices: The Ritz-Carlton Blend (Blue Sapphire), Special Rare Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Vanilla, Peppermint Tisane, Green Jasmine, and Cherry Sencha.

Food Quality and Variety: Our first course included 4 finger sandwiches: smoked salmon, cucumber (Lindsey's favorite), sliced egg, and black forest ham (Lindsey's tea companion's favorite).

The next course was a three-tiered server with a variety of desserts and scones.  The scone course featured an elderberry scone and pineapple upside down cake.  For the pastry/dessert course, they served espresso caramel cashew cake, pomegranate poached baby pears, and banana cream tartlets.

Since it was Lindsey's birthday, she received an extra course - a chocolate covered strawberry, caramel and cashew cake (with a lit candle in it) and a Happy Birthday chocolate!

Music: The entire tea service was accompanied by a lovely pianist. He played soft melodies appropriate to the relaxing setting. The pianist also kindly played "Happy Birthday" for the patrons celebrating their special day!

Lighting: The chandelier lighting and glow from the fireplace were appropriate for an afternoon spent leisurely sipping tea.

Bathroom: There were two bathrooms located near the tea service; both featured marble walls, grand stalls and cloth disposable hand towels.  Lovely floral pictures accented the bathroom walls, and Lindsey was told the men's room featured a picture of a polo player.

Takeaways: The lovely hostess allowed us to take home a menu insert along with the trio of jellies on the table. The hostess wrapped up the leftovers and put them in a charming Ritz-Carlton bag.

Price: Average

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Muggswigz Coffee and Tea Co.

Canton, Ohio

Muggswigz is one of our favorite tea shops in Canton. We highly recommend the Orange Spice tea (pictured above)!

We love that Muggzies offers direct trade teas in addition to their tea and herb blends.

Since the winter has slowed down our tea travels, we are happy Muggzies has an online shop :)