April showers bring May flowers…and high tea!
Eat More: High Tea
My obsession for high tea comes from my family’s background. My parents grew up in Zambia, Africa and London, England. With the British and Indian influence, tea time is like a religion in our house, and is taken very seriously. Also, Texans-- especially Dallasites-- find high tea of great importance for socializing, overall southern charm, and an excuse to dress up. With the speed of life and the world in general, tea time is a much need break from all the chaos. Let me take you into the whimsical world of high tea in DFW.
Chocolate Angel Café and Tea Room (Richardson/Plano)
Chocolate Angel Café and Tea Room is exactly what I picture when I think of southern charm. The vintage and rustic touches make it the perfect location for girl talk or bridal and baby showers over delectable finger sandwiches, scones and dessert.
Don’t let the small bites fool you, you will fill up quickly, because everything is so delicious. Just make sure to leave room for dessert! Some of my favorites from the first course include: the white chocolate cranberry scone with a side of fresh whipped cream, light cucumber sandwiches, and petite quiche. When it comes to the tea, they have about 6 to choose from. My family’s go-to are the chocolate tea and the white tea. The second course consists of an assortment of pastries ranging from iced thumbprint cookies, mini eclairs, merengue cookies, and fruity parfait.
Also, out of the 5 high teas in this blog, this one is the best bang for your buck priced at $22.
I’d like to add that Chocolate Angel Café and Tea Room is great to come in for lunch as well, their selection of sandwiches, soups and salads are the epitome of country comfort food. My go to sandwich is their Some Like it Hot (pimento cheese with toasted nuts, candied jalapeños and bacon and sourdough, grilled), one of Southern Livings Best Recipes! (https://www.chocolateangel.com)
Tea at the Adolphus (Downtown Dallas)
Tea at the Adolphus has European charm and elegance that you wont find in any other DFW hotel. Here you will be greeted with an assortment of cookies while sipping tea in the grand French Room with the most luxurious chairs and couches. Tea at the Adolphus comes closest to the high tea I’ve had in London and Cape Town and can definitely compete.
The first course is made up of delectable finger sandwiches: Curried chicken salad on a croissant, egg salad, smoked turkey, cucumber and Boursin cream cheese, and tomato/mozzarella. This first course is then perfectly paired with Africa Amber tea. The second course comes out with a warm scone with golden raisin baked inside, paired with Devonshire cream and strawberry jam on the side. Our family chose to pair this course with peach caramel tea and its’ fruity sweetness complemented the golden raisin scone. Last, but not least, the dessert course consists of: a pecan tart, strawberry and vanilla cream cup, chocolate mouse, and mini cheesecake in a chocolate shell. The last course was the ultimate chocolate experience, ending with a very rich dark chocolate truffle and chocolate tea. This decadent and royal treatment is unmatched to any in Dallas. For more about tea at The Adolphus check out their website and make your reservation: (http://www.adolphus.com/tea-at-the-adolphus/)
Tea at Taschen: The Joule (Downtown Dallas)
While walking into the Taschen Library where the tea is served, you are handed Alma Negra Brut Rosé or Apple Cider. The bubbles welcome you in to take a look at some of the incredible books at Taschen, a German-style bookstore that focuses on visual aesthetics. All of the books are filled with stunning photographs and host some of the most unique and breathtaking shots I have ever seen. An amazing plus is you get 10 percent off all books during the tea service.
After joking around with some of the more risqué books, our family was asked to take a seat at our pre-set table with the most incredibly modern and colorful tea sets. Our host and one of the managers Dylan Malagrino, gave us the Dallas-based history behind the room. The mosaics that lined the edges of the room were made from the gold and platinum elevator banks of the Mercantile National Bank in Dallas. The modern art deco style of the bank is carried over to the Taschen Library.
Now on to the food and tea! First we started off with this light and sweet shortbread cookie with a hint of orange that was placed next to our tea cups. The first course was savory and made up of a pecorino crisp with an okra gremolata, a Calabrian chili stuffed with ham and cheese, and then a goat cheese brioche with beets, strawberry gelée and vegetable ash. The first course was paired with a wild strawberry tea. Next were two more savory dishes for the second course consisting of a duck rillettes (with pickled mustard seeds, prickly pear, and Dijon foam), salmon mi-cut (on an everything bagel with sorrel crema and horseradish), and my favorite, the joule egg (with devil egg cream and egg white foam). The second course was paired with my personal favorite, the green orange blossom oolong tea. I’m a sucker for anything orange after being brought up on orange marmalade.
The third treat before dessert was a beautiful berry scone with an edible flower and cream. Lastly, paired with their dark chocolate pu’erh tea, an assortment of desserts where served including, chocolate cherry mousse Florentine cookie sandwich, apple cobbler and compressed tres leches cake. Just when you think the experience is all over, they hand you two macarons to-go! To learn more and to book your Tea at Taschen check out The Joule site: (http://www.thejouledallas.com/)
Dallas Arboretum (East Dallas)
The Dallas Arboretum sets the scene for a garden tea party like no other. Their tea is completed seasonally and set in the beautiful and cozy DeGoyler Room with large windows and views of the beautiful gardens.
The Spring/Summer tea begins with a chicken and vegetable consommé. The second course is made up of a variety of sandwiches including: blueberry cream cheese, ham salad, curried egg salad, creamed cucumber. I was most skeptical about the blueberry cream cheese sandwich, but it ended up being my favorite! The last course was made up of some incredible sweet treats: chocolate truffles, sweet pecan clusters, chocolate covered strawberries, lemon curd tart and assorted scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. We had the choice of three different teas: Earl Grey, Vanilla Mint, and Peach Cinnamon Hibiscus so of course we tried them all! My personal favorite was the Vanilla Mint.
The best part is the tea price includes parking and general admission, so be sure to save some time to enjoy all the Dallas Arboretum has to offer. Check out their site for more information (http://www.dallasarboretum.org/visit/dining/seated-teas)
La Duni Café (Northpark/Mckinney Avenue)
La Duni brunch and lunch have been a family tradition for years and it’s been a place we can all gather for our caffeine fix with incredible Latin American flavors. So when I heard La Duni started hosting the ultimate “Mestizo” experience I jumped on it. La Duni’s tea is very different than the norm. They offer you a three-tiered customized experience with a variety of pastries, finger sandwiches, baked goods and a box of exotic teas. You have one of two options, based on your appetite: (1) the classic (2 savories, 2 baked goods and 2 pastries) or (2) the imperial (3 savories, 3 baked goods and 3 pastries). My family opted for the classic, which in my opinion is plenty, considering all five of us walked out stuffed. Here’s what my family tried:
Tier 1: 1) tomato, mozzarella and pesto finger sandwich 2)cucumber covered with quinoa salad with crispy onions
Tier 2: 1) blueberry scones 2) vanilla and chocolate conchas (Mexican sweet bread)
Tier 3: 1) fruit tart 2) macarons
I started off with my favorite café de chenita (light espresso served in a glass with hot milk- mixed at table from two pitchers) and a light mango hot tea. Out of the five high teas listed, this is the least over the top and elaborate. If that’s what you’re looking for, La Duni might not be your cup of tea. I will say, the hot conchas and fruit tarts alone make it worthwhile and I love that La Duni stays true to their Latin style while bringing in the European high tea tradition. For more information check out the following site (http://laduni.com/tea-parties/).
P.S. All the teas will work with your dietary restrictions if you let them know ahead of time.