The first time I went to afternoon tea was at a charming shop called the Tea Embassy in Austin. It’s nestled inside a vintage bungalow in a quiet little neighborhood near downtown and used to host a yearly Christmas tea. The owners would clear one of the rooms of most of the retail offerings to set it up and decorate for this elegant yuletide event. My friend Stacy and I attended yearly and while the shop is still there and thriving, the owners no longer host the lovely Christmas tea. Since then, Stacy and I have endeavored to find replacements, frequenting fine afternoon tea services from Texas, where we both used to live, to Alabama, where she has lived for several years. Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover marvelous afternoon teas here in New Orleans after moving here in February of last year. Tea for two (or more) is of course a wonderful way to catch up with a friend or loved one any time of year. However, if you are still looking for Mother’s Day ideas, I recommend treating the woman who brought you into this world to finger sandwiches, scones and other delights at Le Salon at the Windsor Court Hotel.
Elegant, traditional and gracious in every way, tea at Le Salon includes a choice of sherry, sparkling wine, chardonnay or a cocktail to start; a “properly brewed” pot of tea, sandwiches, scones with preserves, clotted cream, lemon curd and whipped cream; and for dessert, a miniature cake, tartlet, chocolate covered strawberry and truffle. Sip, savor and lavish your mama with love in the comfort of upholstered armchairs or soft sofas and enjoy the musical stylings of the harpist or trio.
For moms who prefer a chic French Mid-Century modern-infused atmosphere, the Salon by Sucré is a no-brainer. It’s the newest offering from Tariq Hanna, executive chef and owner of Sucré, which is relished for its exquisite macaroons. The restaurant is situated atop the Sucré shop on Conti Street in the French Quarter and also offers an ever-changing dinner menu of small bites, in case tea leads to dinner.
The Ritz-Carlton also has a daily afternoon tea service from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in its swanky Davenport Lounge, though I haven’t yet experienced it.
Reservations are required at both the Windsor Court and the Ritz-Carlton.
With choices to fit various personalities, you’re sure to find the perfect setting for tea with Mom. Pinky raising is discouraged; fabulous hats are optional.