Sunday, January 19, 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Willard Hotel, Downtown DC

There is no better way to ring in the start of a promising New Year, than to join some lovely ladies for Afternoon Tea at the swankiest hotel in DC!!!  Afternoon Tea at The Willard is a must when visiting the city!  This beautiful tea is served in the Peacock Alley of the Hotel but you'll be enchanted as soon as you walk through the front doors!  From the gorgeous antique, oriental rugs gracing the floors to the botanical's, chandeliers and paintings throughout the lobby, you'll be in love at first sight! 

 When you sit down to your exquisite tea, you'll be greeted with the ethereal tunes of a pianist or an accomplished harpist whilst you sip and nibble on a delectable arrangement of savories and sweets:)  You'll find nothing but the best at these tables: pressed, white linens, delicate white china, etched in gold and silverware including your tea strainer.

A little Afternoon Tea etiquette, because we're ladies who lunch!  First, decide which tea you'd like to partake, traditional tea or tea served with Champagne, tea served with a glass of Champagne usually will run you an additional $15-$20, over the traditional tea price.  Then, you pick your tea, the Willard Custom Blend and the Spring Darjeeling are my favorites!!!  The savories and sweets listed on the right are all included, so you do not need to pick these:)  If you are still hungry you can order additional plates for $10 an assortment, but I'm usually pretty satisfied afterwards!  Once you've ordered, sit back, relax, place your napkin in your lap and converse with your guests.

When your tea and towers arrive, place your tea strainer over your glass and pour your tea into your cup, your strainer is there to collect the loose leaf tea leaves used in the brewing process.  Once you've used your strainer, simply place it back on its rest and place off to the side, you'll use it again with every refill.  Your tea tower will include three levels, you begin at the bottom with scones, these should be served with an extra plate of devonshire cream, lemon curd and jams like raspberry and apricot.  I like to take a spoon full of each accompaniment and place on my own plate with the scones I take for the first course.    

Your second course, the middle level plate, will include an assortment of lovely tea sandwiches!  Try them all!  Try not to be picky and open your mind and taste buds to all that's offered.  For this tea, I enjoyed smoked salmon, cucumber tomato, chicken salad and egg salad with caviar and caramelized onion and goat cheese, Yummmmm!!!!

Your top plate, the third and final course will include an array of sweets, anything from almond cookies, to parfaits, eclairs and lemon meringues!!!! :)  A big mistake people make is going to tea already very hungry, you should eat a hearty breakfast a few hours at least prior to arriving at tea.  This is so that you may relax and go slowly, you don't want to arrive ravenous and finish your tower too quickly, this is a treat, you'll want to enjoy!

We also were celebrating a birthday at this particular tea!  My little sister had had her first child exactly 4 weeks prior, making this her little darlings first of many teas, this was her 1 month birthday tea and the Willard was all for celebrating it, the harpist even played "Happy Birthday" to her and everyone in the Peacock Alley clapped for the beautiful baby girl:)

Naturally, Mommy got to hold the baby first, but then we all took a turn:)  Isn't she lovely in her new red cupcake dress, layer upon layer of ruffles for her big day out with the girls!!!

The best place for group photos is in the lobby or even out in front of the Willard on Pennsylvania Ave., if you look to the left, you can see the Capitol!!!!! :)  Have I mentioned, that I love this city!!!!

You are welcome to park in two hour intervals in front of the Willard for $2 an hour, or in their garage for an extended time frame.  Metro center is just a few blocks down F.Street where you'll find a smorgasbord of shopping and dining if you intend to head out after your tea!  Within a few steps of each other, you'll find Anthropologie, J.Crew, H&M, Barnes and Noble, Peruvian Connection and many, many others!  Check it out and have some fun downtown with the girls!!!

Happy New Year: 2014!!!

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