It was Oscar Sunday and we wanted something a little glamorous.
And what could be more glamorous than afternoon tea at one of Boston’s fanciest, most sophisticated institutions? So we booked a Fantasy Tea Party at L’Espalier. I mean, afternoon tea at L’Espalier – even just saying it makes me feel all swanky and proper. Like I’m the type who never suffers from hang-overs on Sunday morning, the type who eats dainty tea sandwiches, the type who, you know, saunters over to the Mandarin hotel for a little afternoon snack. Which I am, obviously.
I was with my friend Mich, event and lifestyle writer, blogger for The Unmarked Door, and my regular partner in crime. We had scheduled an afternoon for shopping and catching up, and we were fueled by the many wonderful tea snacks we had.
L’Esplaier’s weekend tea offers three options: Red Riding Hood’s Basket (canapes, tea sandwiches, pastries, petit fours, and tea), Make Way for Ducklings (petit fours, pastries, and tea), and Three Blind Mice (cheese tasting). Each option has enough food for one person, but of course we wanted to pick a couple and share (because when is food not better when shared??). Mich and I decided to split the Red Riding Hood and the Three Blind Mice.
Our server, Dipu, offered to pace it out so that we get the canapes and sandwiches first, then the cheese course, and end with the pastries. L’Espalier also generously doubled the serving for the first course – so we ended up with more food than we expected!
I’ve heard many good things about the lobster roll but I wasn’t head over heels for it. The pretzel roll was really good, but the whole thing was just a little messy to eat so it wasn’t my favorite. I’m a sucker for brioche and anything egg though so I really enjoyed the egg salad slider – even if it had onions, which I normally don’t like! My top pick was the smoked salmon canape – and not just because it was bite-size, but because I really like salmon :)
Our next course was the cheese plate. L’Espalier’s cheese selection has been nationally recognized, and I was really excited to do the tasting.
Dipu was very knowledgeable about the cheeses and even chatted with us about his favorites. I am on a roll, lucking out with the wonderful servers lately: last week with Oleana and then L’Espalier. I was definitely expecting high quality service from a place like this, but it was very refreshing to encounter friendly and welcoming staff. I used to think that such a highbrow place would be stuffy and intimidating, but it was actually very relaxing and pleasant.
Then the cuteness arrived. And by this I don’t mean the group of 12 year old girls at the next table celebrating a birthday… Now that was extremely fancy; I certainly didn’t have any girly tea parties at hotels when I was that age. When I was 12, I was collecting NBA basketball cards and watching WWE (what? you didn’t think Bret “the Hitman” Hart was cute?). Anyway while the girls were adorable, what I meant was the pastries.
It was the perfect cherry on top of our wonderful afternoon. Mich and I really enjoyed our tea rendezvous. In fact we enjoyed L’Espalier so much that we signed up for one of their Top Shelf, Top Chef Series! Mich called it our Red Carpet Sunday.