Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day Tea

image from Lady Mendel's
On Sunday morning the streets and shops will be full of fathers and children picking up flowers and bagels so that mothers can have a little extra time all to themselves. Taking the small kids away for a little while on Mother's Day is a nice treat, but once we're all grown up, the best part of Mother's Day is spending time with one's mother.

A lovely last-minute Mother's Day gift is treating her to a nice meal, but to make it more special consider taking her to tea, instead. High tea has become quite popular in The States, and is a creative alternative to brunch or dinner. Last year, my mother and I had tea at Lady Mendel's, an extremely beautiful tea salon inside The Inn at Irving Place in the Gramercy Park area, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I've also had lovely teas at all of the Alice's Tea Cups around town, and their scones and sandwiches are wonderful. Sarabeth's and The Ritz-Carlton are both classics, albeit with very different levels of lavishness, and The Pierre and Bosie both have wonderful reputations as well.

At our tea at Lady Mendel's, we were first shown to a sitting room, and later to our table in a lovely room with lots of sunlight. From our menus, which described each tea in more detail than a wine shop describes its wines, we made selections of tea, sandwiches, and champagne. If one has never been to a tea service, she might be surprised that it is a full meal, with appetizers, finger sandwiches, scones, and multiple desserts. With every bit of proper English style, it is not a rushed event, and we enjoyed tasting everything, chatting, and noticing other mothers and daughters in the room.

It was so nice to spend time together at a decadent middle-of-the-afternoon meal, and I also always love a chance to get a little dressed up. But the best part, by far, was spending time with my mother.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers!

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"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut