London Calling - The Graduation Adventure Day 1 & 2 (part 2)
Part 2 - Chocolate Tea
May 22-23, 2014
We knew Afternoon Tea was on our To-Do List from the start. Both Elias and I researched the heck out of tea in London. Oddly enough, if you google "London tea", you get A LOT of hits.
So we had to narrow down our options. One day, I was reading some of the travel blogs I follow. As I scrolled through all of the wonderful places people were going, I stopped in my tracks. Afternoon "Chocolate" Tea at the Landmark Hotel. I paused and read along. The pictures looked tasty. The location was pretty close to our hotel. And the price was...pricey. Two out of three, huh?? I sent the link to Elias. He wrote back very quickly saying this was the best idea he's ever heard. We had to splurge on something. Why not an afternoon tea??
The decision was made when to go to tea. We decided to make an early night of our first night in London with the tea. I remember how Elias reacted last year on the arrival day in Europe. He fell asleep in the hotel in the afternoon and slept for three hours. Then, he woke up after dinner time and promptly went back to sleep. I didn't want a similar situation to happen, so tea!!
Our tea was down the street from a very famous location we needed to visit. 221B Baker Street. Now I will easily say, I am far from an expert on Sherlock Holmes. I've never really read any of the stories (though one is sitting on my Kindle cause it was a free download several years ago). I've only seen a few movies (I want to like the Robert Downey, Jr version more than I do). I've seen an episode or two of Elementary (this counts, right??). But I am completely obsessed with Cumberbatch and Sherlock. Which means we need to go visit.
If you're going to visit, you'll find the area when you see a queue snaking down he street. 221B is currently housing a Sherlock Holmes museum, which we did not pay for. But we took a picture. And that was enough.
The Landmark Hotel was around the corner from Baker Street on Marylebone Road. It was raining quite a bit and we didn't want to kill time elsewhere, so we arrived a good 20 minutes early. Happily, the Winter Garden was able to accommodate us.
For £42 (each - I KNOW!! This is our splurge), we were a little concerned we were under dressed. And wet. But mostly underdressed. I mean, we are wearing jeans every day. Happily, it was no big deal. Every table had a large contraption at the head of the table. A waiter was very attentive and walked us through the options. We could either have the chocolate tea or the "other" tea. This Chelsea Flower Tea was patterned after the Chelsea Flower Market going on now(ish). If we each had different teas, we could do it. But we wouldn't get refills. We wanted refills, right?? I'll get back to that part later.
Tea choices were made. Elias had a Rose Earl Grey. I had a Smooth Caramel tea. Totally recommend. So much that I have a lead on where they sell the tea (which they decidedly don't do there...not sure why). This was the first point when the contraption was used. Our waiter brought two silver teapots, a container of warmed milk and an extra teapot of hot water "in case we needed to thin out the heavily steeped tea. All of these items hung out on the contraption until the moment we needed them. It kept our table free for eating which is appreciated.
Next, sandwiches were delivered. We we're given four different sandwiches. Smoked salmon, cucumber, chicken tarragon and egg salad. They were all very good. Why is it I never think about making cucumber sandwiches at home?? Seriously. Here's where we made a not so great decision. They came out with seconds on the sammies. Which we both took them up on. The tea keeps being filled, so you start losing track of how much you're drinking (a phrase I don't think I've ever said about...tea). So you are filling up your belly quickly. Seconds of the sandwiches...I wouldn't do seconds next time.
After sandwiches are served the scones. With clotted cream, homemade lemon curd and homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. Strawberry jam was brought over later. So very good. You'll notice I barely got a shot of the scones. It was all about the condiments.
This was about the time that the Landmark Hotel did the classiest thing I've ever seen during tea. Now maybe I'm just not used to Afternoon Tea in England, but I was impressed. They brought more tea, so they took our teapots away and brought out new teapots. That's not unusual. But when the new teapots were delivered, they also brought out a new hot water pot. And a new milk container. And new strainers. Obviously, if you get more tea, they'll refill the pot. The rest...that one is new to me.
The final hurrah was the delivery of the pastries. And if you dig chocolate, you're gonna have a good day. From the left of the picture - front row: chocolate cake with passion fruit cream, peanut butter salted chocolate, violet infused dark chocolate, and chili chocolate creme brûlée.
To make things even more delightful, they brought out a special treat for Elias. In the online reservation system, they ask if there are any special occasions. Well, he did graduate. I forgot I mentioned it. Our waiter brought out a lovely tiramisu with a Happy Graduation message. We were both delighted. Tiramisu is always acceptable for special occasions.
Overall, we loved the tea. It was a great way to be introduced to the city.
Once we were back "home," it didn't take long for us to start falling apart. This is what happens when you have been up for nearly 36 hours. Before the sweet exhaustion took hold, we cobbled together a plan for the next day. It is scheduled to rain, so it'll be more of a museum kind of day. Once we get finished with our food tour, cause...food tour. Woo Hoo!!
I'm going to close the posts this trip with the number of steps/miles we walked during the day. Why?? Cause I am still in love with my Fitbit. And it's fascinating to see how much we do walk in a day. If today is any indication, my calves are going to be as hard as a rock any day now...
5/23 - 22,000 steps. 9.5 miles.