Sunday, July 29, 2007
Tea -- Drake Hotel
If I haven't already made it clear, me encanta Chicago. Chicago is a fantabulous city, enhanced by my amazing friends. Chicago is home to a laundry list of greats: food, hot dogs, people, neighborhoods, baseball, restaurants, architecture, history, art, live music, comedy, culture, museums, weather (yes, even the weather), and tea-time.
At 10 AM, I'm on the phone with Camish.
Me: Susie's made reservations for us to have tea at the Drake?
C: What?! Imagine the "Wha'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" tone with her right eyebrow raised, eyes looking down her nose, and one hand on her hip. The classic Camisha move was in full force. You mean like what the Brits do? Skeptical but game she inquired, What do I wear?
Me: The classic tea outfit, of course. Jeans, t-shirt, flip flops. I laughed.
We arrived for our 1 PM seating, the lobby infused with the scent of tiger lilies, my favorite flower. The menu is fixed except for the tea. I had Darjeeling, while the troublesome two had wild blackberry and ginger peach. Once again, I set aside my vegetarian ways to fully experience tea-time.
We gave those trays a once over and were skeptical. How could those dinky little sandwiches with no crusts (top plate) and three slices of banana nut bread and currant scones (2nd plate) possibly fill up the 3 biggest eaters in Chicago-land. We dug in, all the while being regal and refined.
I started with the tomato and cheese on white bread. It was good, very good, in fact. Then I went for the ham and asparagus sandwich, which actually looked like sushi because it was rolled. It was better than the tomato/cheese. My favorite, hands down, was the roast beef on wheat, which had very tasty mayo. In between the savories, I dipped down to try the scones, which were excellent. Personally though, I just loved the savory and would have preferred to have more it than the sweet, which says a lot considering how much I adore sweets and butter. Much to our surprise, we were stuffed before the dessert plate came out but that did not prevent us from chowing down even more! The flavors are so wholesome, so satisfying, and so rich that you become incredibly full though everything is rather small.
We ate, chatted away, laughed, took a break, ate some more, made fun of the woman seated next to the fountain who took her tea a little too seriously by wearing pearls and a big ol' hat (think Queen of England), and bemoaned the fact, and I mean bemoaned, that our group was incomplete without Sam, the fourth friend in our circle. We raised our glasses to her.
Camisha was so smitten with our activity she couldn't stop talking about it; she's a convert and has developed a whole theme for her daughter's birthday. As she said, "If this doesn't put a little bourge in Morgan, I don't know what will!" It was such a memorable and fun way to spend the afternoon. Every time I think about tea, I can't help but smile. We''ll alway have this memory.
Tea at the Drake is about $35/person, including tip. While the tea was great, Susie swears by the one at the Peninsula Hotel, which is also slightly less expensive. On Sunday tea (at the Peninsula) commences at 4 PM, a little late. Try Saturday! Reservations are not necessary.
cr, sb, y sg vosotros amo.