I was thrilled when Marlene’s Tea & Cakes agreed to cater our upcoming afternoon tea fundraiser and couldn’t turn down an opportunity to join Lady J. for a tea tasting.
It’s no secret that my favorite tea house is Marlene’s Tea & Cakes. I have posted about Marlene’s many times and never tire of having afternoon tea there (and that’s saying a lot because I get bored easily when it comes to food). If you have never visited Marlene’s, you are missing out! Let me count the ways …
The table settings are always gorgeous and meticulous (ironed white tablecloths, fresh flowers, delicate china, crystal glasses …). Most tea houses get the table settings and ambiance just right. However, they usually fail in one of three areas: Tea, food, or both! I don’t care how beautiful, charming, or cute a tea house is. If the tea house does not serve properly brewed tea or decent food, it is neither a tea house or a restaurant. A pretty house will not keep me coming back. Marlene’s is the complete package!At Marlene’s, the tea is always hot and, most importantly, properly brewed. Marlene brews and tests every pot of tea herself. She won’t serve anything that isn’t up to her standards. I have the utmost admiration and respect for her passion and commitment to excellence and quality. She is a woman after my own heart.
Click to enlarge
My favorite tea from Marlene’s tea menu, (above) hands-down, is Paris. On this visit, Lady J. and I tried the Lady Londonderry and I dare say it’s a close second to Paris. Other wonderful teas are Creme au caramel and Roasted almond & fruit, which happen to be caffeine free. If you don’t know which tea to choose, Marlene is happy to help you make a selection!
Lady Londonderry Tea (Black tea, lightly and elegantly flavored with strawberry, lemon balm leaves, calendula and sunflower petals)
Ahhh …! The food …! My favorite thing about Marlene’s is the food. Marlene excels in tea foods and makes savories and sweets equally well. Her menu changes monthly with ingredients that keep up with the seasons–her culinary creations are imaginative, creative, gorgeous, and delicious. I look at her menu every month just to see what she comes up with next!
Click to enlarge
Potato leek soup with puff twist (I love that Marlene left some of the red potato peel in the soup to give it texture!)
Marlene also takes great pride in the plating of the food. I appreciate the effort she makes in the presentation–she is an artist.
Bonus: Banana bread with our scones!
Marlene’s sandwiches are the freshest in the business. Even though both Lady J. and I know a few tricks about tea sandwiches, we still marvel at the freshness of the sandwich breads at Marlene’s!
Egg salad and watercress sandwich; Cucumber and carrot sandwich; Turkey, cheddar, and apple butter panini; Mini beef Wellington; and Bleu cheese mascarpone red onion confit quiche
This double chocolate zucchini bundt cake is why I love Marlene’s. She’s always willing to push the limit and try something different. This cake was scrumptious!
Double chocolate zucchini bundt cake
In addition to being a top notch chef/pastry chef, Marlene is a gracious, warm, and lovely hostess. She tries to make every visit special whether it’s a personal visit to the table, an extra pot of tea, or additional goodies not on the menu (on this day, we got some banana bread with our scones). I highly recommend a visit–plan an elegant party, have tea with a loved one, or invite your girlfriends for tea. You will not be disappointed with afternoon tea at Marlene’s Tea & Cakes! NOTE: Reservations are required.
If you are cold, tea will warm you,
If you are heated, it will cool you,
If you are depressed, it will cheer you,
If you are excited, it will calm you.
–William E. Gladstone