This holiday has been a super relaxing one. Of course there were the usual family get togethers, and ample cookie baking and decorating, but beyond that it’s been…quite a bit of lounging around, which is exactly as I wanted it. Yet there are things worth getting out of pajamas for, and I would count afternoon tea among them. While I’ve had tea everywhere from London to Montreal to Chicago, it turns out that it also can be had right in my backyard. And by “my backyard,” I clearly mean a thirty minute drive on the expressway.
At the Townsend in Birmingham, afternoon tea is served each afternoon in the lobby. We arrived to find orange cranberry scones already on our plates, and as soon as we sat down, a waiter arrived to pour our tea.
For tea sandwiches, the choices veer toward the traditional: asparagus with Boursin cheese and quail egg, chicken salad with maple walnut butter, salmon with egg salad and caviar, cucumber with hummus and olive tapenade, and beef with horseradish and watercress. My favorite bite had to be the chicken salad – I loved the maple walnut flavor.
Finally, the pastries came out: an orange tea cake, a caramel-filled éclair, and a chocolate raspberry mousse in an edible chocolate cup. I loved the mousse; it was quite sweet, but I’m a sucker for the raspberry chocolate combination.
It’s possible that, after going tea-crazy in so many cities around the world, I’m a bit of tea snob. Did the tea at the Townsend blow me away? Nope. However, it was quite lovely and good little spin on the afternoon tea right here in the mitten state.