Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Lovely Tea Party at The Plaza

The classics, dahling: Earl Grey Tea and a Currant Scone
(I'm typing this with a British accent.  In fact, I recommend
reading this entire story with a British accent).
There are few things lovelier in life than high tea.  Donning a beautiful dress and a fabulous hat, I never feel as elegant, ladylike--or British--as when I'm surrounded by scones and strawberries, devonshire cream and soothing hot tea.  In LA, The Peninsula Hotel was a favorite.  Now that I'm in New York, I'm officially on a quest to find the Best Place in New York for High Tea.
The fabulously elegant Palm Court  

But where to start?  So many choices, so little time. I decided to begin at one of my favorite hotels in the city, the classic and gorgeous Plaza Hotel.  And luckily, my fabulous friend Sylvia was in town to join me.

Set across from beautiful Central Park, The Plaza offers gorgeous scenery both inside and outside its grounds.

Palm Court, where high tea is offered on weekend afternoons, is an elegant space, complete with high ceilings, crystal chandeliers, plush velvet chairs, gilded staircases, and a jungle of palm trees.  What a perfect stage for a lovely afternoon tea party.

One of the things I love most about high tea is the high tea stand.  Mini sandwiches, scones, muffins, and petit fours are already fun, but arrange them ever so perfectly on cascading china?  Behold, The Tower of Goodies.

This little egg-filled buttery pastry cup could not be more
adorable (or yummy).
My all-time favorite little sandwich (I asked for 2!)
Smoked salmon with a rich cream cheese and dill.  Divine.
In addition to the standard sandwiches and scones, placed delicately at the top of the stand was a bevy of fabulous little desserts.   The Plaza didn't stop at 2 or 3 choices--this dessert plate offered 6 very different treats- from cakes to macaroons to chocolates to chewy fruit bars.

A warm welcome to you all, my friends.

Well hello little chocolate cake surprise (I'm still not sure
exactly what this was.)

Thank God they're bite-sized or I would have been at the gym for the rest of the day (of course I tried them all).  My favorite dessert was the beautiful little marble sized chocolate button, swirled with beautiful white and red swirls.  Almost too beautiful to eat.  Almost.

Our lovely tea experience was made even more so by the addition of adorable little girls with their mothers, bringing their Eloise dolls, and some even wearing matching Eloise outfits.  If you're not sure who Eloise is, she is the star of a children's story of a little girl who lived in the penthouse of The Plaza.  In fact, there's a lovely painting of Eloise that hangs on the wall next to Palm Court.  It seems to be tradition that when the girls are finished with their tea, they take photos with Eloise and their dolls.  Sylvia and I happened to be sitting next to the painting, and witnessed this cute little scene several times during our 3-hour tea.  Absolutely adorable!

Thank you, Eloise, for making our
tea experience even more enjoyable.
The Plaza Hotel
Fifth Avenue and Central Park South
NY, NY 10019

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