Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day Seven – High Tea

Wednesday was stiflingly hot (again). But, there was no hint of rain and the humidity seemed lower.

Carla and I putzed around at the house until we left at 10:00 a.m. for the day’s great adventure: High Tea.

Note: Jake had found this place several years ago after Carla had expressed a wish to go to a real “High Tea” and he took her there. Now, she was paying it forward by taking me.

So, we drove through the countryside to Ridgeway, a very little, very old town about midway between home and Charlotte (time-wise, anyway). We parked and I took many pictures of the picturesque place. These will be posted upon my return, as today’s focus is High Tea, specifically High Tea at Laura’s Tea Room.

Laura’s Tea Room is in a big old, bright two-story building, with huge windows and probably 20-foot ceilings. The downstairs is devoted to selling not only tea, but also tea pots, tea cups, and all things related to tea. The center of the stores has tables where they sell lunch.

Sidebar: My brother Carl would love the menu. All the sandwiches are named after characters in Downtown Abby.

Ah, but upstairs… Upstairs (if you make reservations), they serve High Tea.

On the landing going up is a variety of hats (unfortunately, for women only) you can borrow and wear. There was a little old lady on the landing that looked a bit lost so I comforted her.

Upstairs is a table with teacups, saucers and tea spoons and you pick out your personal cup for the meal.

When you are seated, you have a large glass of Lemon Chiffon iced tea while they prepare a pot of Prince of Cambridge tea.  It comes in a pot with a tea cosy on it.

You also have a choice of hundreds of teas for your table’s choice of a second pot of tea. We chose lapsang souchong (against the advice of our server, BTW). She said it was very strong, smoky black tea and it was, but it was excellent!

The iced tea was refreshing (albeit a bit too sweet) and the hot teas were fantastic! Carla and I both drank ours straight, no sugar or cream.

First course was a Summertime Salad with house vinaigrette (bow-tie pasta, spinach and watermelon cubes with a sprinkling of feta cheese), which was excellent.

Second course was a teacup of chilled Strawberry Soup. Yummo!

Third and final course was a three-tiered tray. 

The bottom tier had chicken salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, egg salad on puff pastry, pimento cheese sandwiches and tomato sandwiches. Only the chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches had two slices of bread, all the rest were open-faced.

The next two tiers had two of each of the following: Chocolate cupcakes, chocolate dipped cream puff, chocolate dipped strawberry, frosted shortbread cookie, sugar cookie fruit tart, chocolate dipped clementine and two lemon poppyseed scones with either Devonshire cream or lemon curd served on the side.

I cannot speak for Carla, but my favorites in the sandwich category were the chicken salad, the cucumber and the tomato sandwiches. The egg salad was too much puff pastry and too little egg salad. And my least favorite of all was the pimento cheese sandwich.

Sidebar: I don’t believe pimento cheese sandwiches were ever served at English High Tea, anyway. But (no offense) you Southerners have GOT to give over this pimento cheese thing! It tastes like crap!!!

The scone was excellent, but they tricked me with the Devonshire cream. I though she said “clotted” cream (which is, I think sour-tasting). But this was a sweet whipped cream. It was great, but just not what I expected. I also tried the lemon curd, but was not that impressed.

In the dessert category, my favorite will make you laugh: it was the chocolate dipped clementine. Just one little mouthful, but the combination of the dark chocolate mixed with the acidity of the clementine wedge was perfect!

We were alone upstairs for a while, and then were joined by a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter (I’m guessing) who ate a normal lunch (you can eat lunch upstairs as well, if there are tables not reserved). Later two younger women came in for high tea, dressed formally and wore the hats. Carla said that when she and Jake came (on the weekend) the place was packed.

We asked our server to take our picture, after seeing her do that for the other customers.

So, we finally waddled out of there (more full of tea than food, I suspect) and headed home.

When we got there, we started prepping for dinner: tacos. Carla browned the turkey (she thinks ground turkey lets the spices shine better than the greasier ground chuck) while I prepped the veggies.

I redeemed my spot as sous chef (sorry, Carl) by perfectly dices the tomatoes and onion. I sliced the lettuce thin (per Carla’s instruction). I put all that into a tray, along with the remaining shredded pepperjack and sharp cheddar cheese. That went into the fridge for later.

Then I went and took a nap.

I woke up just before Jake came home. He changed and Carla warmed up the taco filling and both soft and hard shell tacos.

We set out the veggie tray, some taco sauce, sliced Jalapenos and sour cream. Then we each built our own creations and feasted.

We cleared the coffee table and played a game of Scrabble. Jake creamed us! We never came close to his final score of 208. Damn!

We watched a couple of shows but went to bed around 9:30 p.m.


  1. Thanks Carla....I will remember that

  2. @GPF: Don't get your hopes up. That "Executive Chef" on your resume will only take you so far...