Tea for two…and more

9 Feb

27 is an odd number. I mean, it’s odd in terms of even numbers and odd numbers, but in terms of age, there really isn’t anything spectacular about it. It’s like you’ve passed your mid-twenties because you’re only 3 years away from 30. It’s not as monumental as 21 nor as exciting as 25. Is this starting to sound depressing?

I don’t mean it to. I turn 27 today and I am incredibly happy and blessed to have lived this long. It may not seem like a big age to someone who’s already reached 40 or 50 or beyond, but I’m grateful to have reached this far and already lived such a fulfilling life.

When it comes to food and birthdays, I don’t hold myself back. It’s one of the few days in the year during which I refuse to feel guilty about anything I eat, be that a healthy apple or a giant slice of cake. In the past, I’ve celebrated with cupcakes, Thai food, alcohol (of course), and more cupcakes, among other choice cuisines and dishes. I like to eat the foods that have their own little niche in my heart, the comforting foods that bring back good memories or make me smile upon every bite.

Afternoon tea is one of those foods – er, meals – that I have fond memories of and have always enjoyed and indulged in for a long time. Now, I’m not British, so I didn’t grow up with afternoon tea, but I am half-Indian so tea is a major part of one of my cultures. I had my first afternoon tea in London when I vacationed there with my family in ’03. After that, my Mom, sister and I were hooked, and we were always finding ways to have afternoon tea somewhere in Orlando (which, thanks to Disney and all the resort hotels, it wasn’t hard).

Sometime when we were in college, two of my best friends became equally obsessed with afternoon tea as I did, and we decided to try creating our own version at home. With little and baking experience among the three of us, this tea ended up being more of an endeavor than we had planned. We ended up having enough sandwiches to cater a party. And after baking scones and attempting to make clotted cream (emphasis on “attempting”), we were finally finished making everything by dinnertime. So we had afternoon tea for dinner, and loads of leftover sandwiches for the next day.

The Boyfriend somehow remembers all kinds of little random things I tell him about me and uses that knowledge wisely when it comes to gifts and celebrations. So he surprised me the other day with a visit to the Mayflower hotel, which serves afternoon tea in its Café Promenade. How freakin’ sweet is that??

The entire service was very lovely, as it should be – it’s $28, but for an extra $7, you can get a glass of champagne to go with your tea (which we did). They have a great selection of teas, including English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Oolong, and more. I opted for a Ginger Twist, which was very flavorful with hints of ginger, orange, mint, and whole melee of other ingredients. The food is equally tasty. We each received a tray of tiny sandwiches and pastries. Sandwiches included smoked salmon, eggplant, crab and more. The pastries included the usuals like a little fruit tart and a scone. Each place is different in terms of what they include, but I have never had an afternoon tea service that didn’t include at least 1 scone. Which is great for me, because the scones are my favorite part. And with a little jam and clotted cream? Yum! The Bf and I were oddly overexcited for the scones. Each little piece of pastry or tiny sandwich was very tasty, elegantly presented, and by the end, we were happily satisfied. Birthday or not, afternoon tea is something I will probably enjoy for the rest of my life.

I’m actually also celebrating another birthday tomorrow – my blog birthday! The Novice Nosher will be 1 year old and going strong. It’s a constant work in progress but I have so much in mind to bring to the table in the near future. And can I say how incredibly thankful I am for those of you who are reading this, who either read on occasion or actually read on a regular basis? I love telling you guys stories and showing you the things I make and eat and I’m just happy to have someone with open eyes and ears. So thank you. 🙂

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4 Responses to “Tea for two…and more”

  1. lemonsandanchovies February 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Happy Birthday to you and your blog! What a lovely way to celebrate, too. I am a HUGE tea lover but I’ve never had afternoon tea quite like you have. I love the tray of sweets and sandwiches. Gosh, I might have been able to eat all of that. Congrats!!!

    • TheNoviceNosher February 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      Thank you, Jean! I definitely ate it all – as tiny as everything was, it all made for a full meal!

  2. Lhey Bella February 12, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Happy birthday! Keep writing, cooking, eating, and being happy!!!! :))

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