Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Laura’s Tea Room

Mom’s birthday was yesterday, and we started celebrating over the weekend.  On Saturday, we got all gussied up and went to high tea at Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway, SC

Mom and me

They have several hats you can choose from to borrow.

Kat in the hat

I decided to go hatless, though.  Before you’re seated, they let you pick out your own teacup to use.

teacups waiting to be picked

This one looked most like “me,” and I found out later that it was from the Biltmore Estate!  Love it.

My teacup

Our table overlooked the Thomas Company store downstairs, so it was fun to “window-shop” from our seats!

window shopping

They started us out with the same tea both cold and hot – pineapple mango chili.  It wasn’t spicy, though!  It was so good, we ended up buying a container to take home!

pineapple mango chili tea - hot and cold

The first course was scones – a black currant and a chocolate chip – and alongside, they offered Devonshire cream and orange marmalade.

scones

cream and marmalade

Each of us got to pick a pot of tea from their tea menu.  We shared a pot of Earl Gray Lavender and a pot of Pomegranate Vanilla Rooibos.

tea pots

Course no. 2 was a small, refreshing salad.

salad

I felt so fancy, I even ate those icky tomatoes.  The following course was soup, and it was a spicy, herby tomato bisque.  I felt so fancy, I didn’t lick the bowl (though I really wanted to).

tomato bisque

The fourth course was a broccoli cheddar quiche, and it’s tied for first place with the soup.  Perfection!

broccoli cheddar quiche 

It was TO DIE FOR.  The final course was a tiered tray of sandwiches and desserts.  I really appreciated them bringing out one of each item so that Mom and I didn’t have to resort to fisticuffs over canapés.

The lower tier contained fruit skewers, pineapple salad on white bread, chocolate-dipped clementines, dill spread and cucumbers on white bread, and turkey and cranberry spread on rye.

finger foods 

The next tier was cheddar and Granny Smith apple on banana bread (clever combo!) and brownie bites.

finger foods

The top tier were chocolate-covered strawberries and fruit tarts with – I might be wrong here – lemon-flavored mascarpone filling.

finger foods

I think the fruit tart was my favorite.  Look how beautiful!

fruit tart

The presentation made me feel like a little girl playing tea party again.

tiered tray

They really take care of you at Laura’s Tea Room.  When I booked our reservations, we were put on a waiting list at first – which I totally understood – and the lady to whom I spoke about it stressed how important each guest was and how they hoped their customers were able to take time there without feeling rushed.  When we were seated, they gave us the same spiel and really encouraged us to sit back and visit with each other, walk around and look (the building is beautiful!), and just have a fun, relaxing time.  Mom and I cry at the drop of a hat, and we definitely got choked up a couple of times, they made us feel so special.  And furthermore, they surprised Mom with a birthday brownie, and brought out one for me, too.  smile_wink

birthday brownie

We were like kids in a candy store looking at all the tea-related goodies downstairs.  I tried to get a few good shots on the stairs of the whole place without looking like a total creeper:

Thomas Co. Store

They’ve got a little coffee shop inside that I really wanted to get a pumpkin latte from, but we were stuffed to the gills already.

Thomas Co. Store Coffee Shop

Thomas Co. Store

Thomas Co. Store

We got several gifts for people, and we each wanted little personal tea pots.  Mom found a white one right off that she wanted, but I was searching for one in Tiffany blue – my favorite color.  When I asked if their only stock was already on the shelves, they checked the tea pots they use in the tea room.  It turns out they had one and cut me a deal on it.  I love it even more because it’s already been put to good use!

tea pots

We had SUCH a great time, and I definitely can’t wait to go back!

Thomas Co. and Laura's Tea Room 

Have you ever attended a high tea before?  What’s your favorite kind of tea?  I used to take tea with me to work so I’d have to busy myself with making it instead of walking to the vending machine when I just wanted a “treat.”  I want to get back in that habit!