modern day tea time

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. – Henry James

During my sabbatical, my mom thought it would be a nice treat for the girls of my family to go to afternoon tea and have a little chit chat catchup at the Garden City Hotel on Long Island. Having never been to tea before, I was pretty excited and the first thing I thought was what does one wear to something like this? Excuse me while I go find my pink powdered wig.


Grandma with her champagne // Aunt Eileen behind the flûte à champagne

pouring the darjeeling

my magical strainer that took me a few minutes of solid thinking to figure out

tea time snacks and pastries

smoked salmon on pumpernickel with horseradish cream and pickled onions

proper tea etiquette — pinky up!

we need desserts!

Me, Aunt Eileen, and Krissie

After all was said and done, I decided my darjeeling tea had a nice kick to it… kind of like a beer with more hops than you’d expect.  It takes you by surprise, but is not altogether a bad thing.  The food was delicious and I loved that everything was a small morsel that you could just pop in your mouth and savor for a minute before moving onto something new and exciting. Highlights on the menu for me were the smoked salmon pictured above, a small lemon meringue tart (you know how I have a love affair for lemony things), and of course the scones with Devonshire cream.  The smoked salmon was a very small bite.  I spotted this little sandwich while perusing the menu online a few days earlier.  I had very high hopes for this and was slightly disappointed at the size compared to some of the other sandwiches.  Regardless, the salmon was velvety and the horseradish added a nice familiar flavor profile.  What I loved was the pickled onion.  I’m used to eating lox with red onion and capers.  The pickled onion acted as a nice briny, oniony fusion of the two.  Win-win in my book.  The lemon meringue tart was like the best tasting lemonhead you’ve ever had in your life.  It was the most intense lemon flavored dessert I’ve had outside of my own kitchen.  Hats off to the pastry chef for having a heavy hand on the lemon.  Last, but certainly not least, was the scones with clotted cream.  These are a traditional tea time addition and I loved it.  I’m not sure if I was swayed by the feeling of being transported back in time to a London palace where I was sipping tea with a Queen, but these scones were the whole kit and caboodle for me.  They were not dry like I was expecting and the cream, which had just the right touch of sweetness, made for a very yummy treat.

As far as ambiance goes, we were the rowdiest table in the place… and by rowdy, I mean the most fun.  My grandma and my great aunt ordered champagne first, so they got down to business right away.  Others may have been good at playing the part of demure and refined tea drinkers.  My family?  We’re still classy broads, but we know how to have a good time.  I have a very strong feeling this may be a small tradition we’ve started.  I hope the GC Hotel enjoys our future love affair.

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4 responses to “modern day tea time

  1. Beth March 11, 2011 at 5:26 am

    Come have afternoon tea with me in England! I can guarantee authenticity. Also, can I just say how stately and classy Grandma looks in that photograph? Please pass on to her how I imagine that must happen when one is the same age as the surrounding antiques!

  2. Garden City Hotel March 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Thanks so much for the great review of our Afternoon Tea! We are excited to hear that this might become a tradition of yours. We hope to see you back again real soon!

  3. Aly March 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    i can’t wait to go next time! beth, we were having afternoon tea in england the same day they were having tea here! 😀

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