Grand Tea for Mom-to-be

My friend E. is having a baby and we threw a baby shower for her at the Grand Tea Room.  It was a lovely shower complete with conversation, laughter, humor, joy, gratitude, tears, and lots of smiles.

I first visited the Grand Tea Room shortly after they opened last year.  It was just as beautiful as I remembered.

DSC02706 (Small)DSC02708 (Small)DSC02710 (Small)DSC02720 (Small)DSC02719 (Small)DSC02718 (Small)DSC02714 (Small)E., who is expecting her 2nd child, is literally days away from giving birth!  These cute baby shower favors by R. celebrated this fact! 😉 Best chocolate popcorn EVER!

Baby shower favors

Baby shower favors with chocolate popcorn

The fruit course was served first.  I thought this was an interesting way to begin afternoon tea.  I’m used to having fruit in the middle of tea, as a palate cleanser.  I liked that the fruit was served in individual portions.  With the whipped cream, it was like starting with dessert!

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Fruit course: Strawberries, pineapple, and grapes

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Sandwich course: Open face cucumber and cream cheese, chicken cranberry salad croissant, and egg salad on wheat

I was disappointed to see that the tea room had not changed their sandwiches since my first visit.  The egg salad was still flavorless.  The cucumber sandwich was okay, but better than I remembered.  The chicken salad was okay but what happened to the portion size?  It is now only a half sandwich, not a full one!?  😦  (Note: they also raised their prices)

DSC02744 (Small)Instead of serving the scones in a bread basket, they were displayed on the caddy since the fruit was served in individual bowls.  I wish they kept the bread basket because my scone was cold and hard.  I think the bread basket helps keep the scones warm and soft.  I didn’t care for the scone this time even though I’m sure the recipe is the same.  I was happy to see that they got rid of the pink sugar crystals on the plain scones.  I would have liked to try their blueberry scone too which had a yummy looking crumb topping and fresh blueberries.

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Savory and scones: Shepard’s pie, bacon, green chile, and cheese quiche, blueberry scone, and plain scone

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Desserts: Mini lemon meringue tart, pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting, millionaire’s shortbread, and apple crisp

The lemon meringue tart and millionaire’s shortbread must be their popular desserts because those 2 desserts were in their original lineup too.  I don’t understand the blond caramel layer in the millionaire’s shortbread which cannot rightly be called caramel!  I enjoyed the apple crisp.

DSC02747 (Small)There are 2 things I wish the Grand Tea Room would improve upon.  Firstly, I wish they would change their menu with the seasons.  Secondly, their servers are very friendly and accommodating but lack tea and service etiquette.  I was very surprised when our server stood at the end of our table and asked us to pass down our napkin rings, then doilies, then plates, and empty tea pots to her.  At a proper tea, the hostess serves her guests and they shouldn’t have to lift a finger!  Apparently, even a 9-year-old knows that (proof below)!  🙂

(From Susan Branch’s Girlfriends Forever)

That said, I am thankful for one thing they did not change: their tea!  As with last year, the star of the afternoon tea was the tea itself.  Every tea we sampled was delicious, brewed at the proper temperature, and more importantly, maintained at the proper temperature.  We sampled 5 black teas: French caramel creme brulee, Sunset chai, Paris, Earl Grey lavender, and Peaches and ginger.

DSC02716 (Small)I’d like to come back to the Grand Tea Room just to sip their tea and maybe have a light lunch.  Hopefully, the 3rd time’s a charm.  If they haven’t improved their service, I probably won’t go back.

Despite my criticisms, I would not give back the day.  The baby shower itself was a great success but, most importantly, a wonderful time was had by all!

“Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?”

— Peter Pan

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