WEEK #19 – Traditional Afternoon Tea at the Drake

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the mothers out there! I need to give a special shout out to my extraordinary mother. She has taught me to love many things, but one thing that always brought us together was our late night cups of tea. So where better to bring her than for tea at the Drake?

My sister-in-law, Melissa, rounded out our reservation for three for tea. We arrived to the open and airy room that was surprisingly loud. I always imagined ladies who tea to be dainty and quiet, but the acoustics just carried the sound. Plus, tea is a popular spot for parties and tourists alike (we saw both), so I guess I shouldn’t be that shocked.

We sat at a nice table near the entrance, and had a nice little corner to ourselves. We combed through the pages of tea, and decided on:

  • Mom: Earl GreyWith organic cold pressed Italian Bergamot Oil, a rare variety of Citrus
  • Stephanie: Chamomile CitrusMade with Soothing Egyptian Chamomile flowers and subtle slices of citrus fruit, this vibrant blend will rejuvenate the spirit
  • Melissa: Wild Blossoms & BerriesBlackberry and black currant, infused with lemongrass, hibiscus, chamomile, mint, licorice root and spices – its best without milk.

All of the teas are served loose. You get your own tea pot with the loose tea and hot water inside, and then you must strain the tea when serving. (We kept forgetting this part!) I thought my tea was delicious, until I tasted my Mom’s…it was awesome. I had a second sample of hers it was so good. What’s so great about the tea service is that the waiters keep coming around with hot water, so the tea is endless!

The “bottomless” tea pairs well with the three tiers of charming breads, scones, finger sandwiches, and decadent desserts. Even though I requested extra egg salad sandwiches (who knew I liked egg salad?), I would say the pastries were my favorite. There was one that tasted like a peach pie–I will dream about that little bite of heaven until I return!

We stayed for awhile and chatted, never feeling rushed. The service was excellent, with not having to wait long to be seated and, like I said, the hot water was flowing. Ha.

Oh, and the harpist—when she wasn’t playing “Happy Birthday” for different groups—was a nice touch. There’s something about a harp that’s so soothing, don’t you think?

I think my mom enjoyed herself…I know I did. Do I smell a new tradition?

I love you, Mom. Thanks for being my confidant, my advisor, and one of my best friends. I hope that one day I have a daughter, and she loves me just as much as I love you. XO

Tea at Palm Court, The Drake
140 East Walton Place
Gold Coast

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Spotlight New York City – Cafe Lalo

Because I’ve grown accustomed to sharing all of my new experiences, I’ll be including “Spotlights” in my blog when I do things in cities other than Chicago.

When I was in New York City last weekend visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and darling nieces (shout out to Emma Jean and Jules!), I met up with my good friend and old Harpo co-worker Callie. She recently moved to NYC to work for People.com (ah! the mothership called), and I’ve missed her and our Glee/cocktail nights. (For the record, I don’t watch Glee anymore. What happened to that storyline?!?)

When Cal told me I could decide where to have our reunion, I thought of the perfect place I’ve been wanting to go to for years: Cafe Lalo on the Upper West Side, where part of You Got Mail was filmed (I referenced in my Mario Tricoci event blog post). The Parisian-inspired cafe felt like we were whisked away to France the minute we stepped in the door! Although the pastries in the case and other tables’ brunch orders looked tasty, we simply enjoyed espresso, tea, fruit, toast…and a little gossip. (We got away with a bill for $20 in NYC—is that possible?) I also picked up some honey-flavored sweets for my mom, seeing as You Got Mail is one of her favorite movies. Miss you, Cal!

See the photos below for a look at our French escape! Do you recognize the cafe from the movie?

Cafe Lalo
201 W 83rd Street
Upper West Side, NYC

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