Sunday, November 30, 2008

Whoo-hoo! and Queen Mary

I did it! I completed NaBloPoMo and posted for 30 days straight! Now admittedly, not all of my posts were noteworthy. I occasionally put up videos or pictures of puppies to disguise the fact that I had nothing of any value to say. I'm really glad I did this so early in my blogging experience so I could get it out of my system. Now I feel like I'm in the habit of writing consistently, but I won't feel pressured to post if don't have any thing I really want to share.

Now on to food! My favorite topic!

On Friday, most of the girls/women in my family went to tea at the Queen Mary Tea Room in Seattle. My mom didn't come because she was recuperating from putting on Thanksgiving ALL BY HERSELF. See what you get when you don't let me help? Anyway, after getting a late start, being stuck behind the First Avenue Bridge when it went up, and taking many wrong turns, we finally arrived. The shop is small and cozy, but a little over decorated for my taste. You could tell they've been in one location for a while. You know how when you live somewhere for a long time you just keep accumulating Stuff and you don't always have a place for all the Stuff? That's what it reminded me of. But in a cute, Victorian way. I'm not a big fan of knick knacks, so maybe it's just me.

The very first thing I saw when we sat down was this:

You probably can't tell, but this bowl was HUGE! I knew I was in good hands. There is no way, even with my raging sugar addiction, that we could possibly use all that sugar in one sitting. Yay! I thought the red and green sugar was a super cute idea as well.

After we got our menus, they brought by some little tea sample cups. They have their own tea line, so they gave out some of their seasonal flavors for us to try.

They were good, but neither really spoke to me (seeing as I only drink Vanilla) but I think everyone else liked them. The flavors were like Holiday Spice or Gingerbread or something like that? Hey Monica, if you remember could you post the flavors in comments? I don't remember their real names.

The table was very cute. Each person had their own cup, each one in a different style. My favorite was my sister-in-law, Angela's. I think she thought it was too plain, but I liked the simplicity of it.

We all ordered Afternoon Tea, and the kids got the Children's Tea. We each got our own pot of tea. Again, these pots were HUGE. Most places I've been give you a 2-3 cup pot. The advantage is that you can usually try lots of different flavors with each pot. The disadvantage is that you have to wait for someone to refill it when you run out.

With this big thing, I could have served the whole table. They included an infuser (which is why the top is caddy-whompus) and if you can see in the reflection, there was a little tea holder to put the infuser on when your tea was ready. Since I am the Vanilla queen, this was great for me. I don't usually switch flavors, and I didn't have to wait for refills. This was the first time ever that I had tea left in the pot when I was done eating.

My nieces each got a little 2 cup pot of tea, which was just right for them as they only drink about half a pot anyway. I LOVED this pot. I actually looked for it at the tea shop afterwards but couldn't find it. Something about the flowers and the colors really called my name. Not that I need another tea pot, but I still want it. Maybe I'm just a sucker for realistic looking flowers.

We started with a sorbet trio and a fabulous shortbread cookie. Sorry no pic, I was hungry! I think the sorbet flavors were pear, mango and passionfruit. The pear was my favorite. It was a nice touch, but it was odd for me to start out with something so cold. I would have liked it more in-between courses. Again, probably just me being picky. As long as I'm being critical, can I also mention that the Queen Mary does not offer half and half with their tea? They had milk which they said was Whole Milk (we weren't buying it) and offered up whipping cream when we asked about the half and half. I thought that was a little odd. When I'm out to spoil myself with tea, I want me some fat! Okay, done complaining.

Next they brought everyone a plate. I thought this pattern was just gorgeous.

Since the plate I got wasn't in this pattern, I stole my sister's plate when she went to the bathroom. :-) No, I'm not kidding!

Out came our three-tiered service. Since there were four of us getting tea, they put two servings on the plates. The sandwiches were okay. There was a chicken salad that was too heavy on the mustard for my taste. The turkey with cranberry was good. My very favorite was the pear and blue cheese with walnut. The blue cheese was mixed with  cream cheese (I think) and the pear was super ripe and sliced very thinly. The walnuts were few and far between so they didn't overpower the flavor. I could have eaten a whole plate of them!

The top tier combined all three courses together (I would have preferred my desserts be separated...ew, my sausage roll is touching my cookie!) but I'm sure that once again this is me being picky. Wow, how obsessive-compulsive am I? I had no idea until I started writing this. Hey! Stop rolling your eyes, Monica! Anyway, the savories were a yummy sausage roll in puff pastry and a smoked salmon quiche...both very tasty. The breads were a currant scone and a crumpet. The desserts on top were a snickerdoodle and a thumbprint raspberry cookie.

The middle tier held the fruit and desserts. The fruit was very fresh and had lots of variety. They even included pomegranate seeds. The fruit bread was delicious. Monica let me have her piece, too. (I traded her for my cheesecake, which was peppermint flavored.) And the last thing was a cute little gingerbread bite with whipped cream. It was a very nice selection and mostly made my taste buds happy.

The children's tea gave them a choice of PB & J or toasted cheese. They also got the sorbet with us, and then fruit and desserts on top. I love the big crown cookie with the tea room's initials on it. I believe their desserts were some the same, and some different than ours to fit a kids palate. The girls seemed very happy with it.

Overall we had a really good time. The Queen Mary is a little on the pricy side, but I'm sure that's partially location, as I usually get my tea farther south. I would definitely go back. But next time I'm bringing my own half and half!

*picture of tea room from

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