Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Holiday Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Tea Time brings you another elegant hotel tea adventure, this time courtesy of the Ritz Carlton SF. You may know this hotel for its prominent restaurant Parallel 37 which serves inspirational California Cuisine. However, every holiday season the hotel presents an opportunity (for those in the know) to enjoy a delightful Afternoon Tea. The Ritz has only one seating at 3pm, so you should reserve early before it's booked up. There was a crowd waiting when we arrived, but everyone was seated by the hostess in a timely manner.

Your menu awaits.

The essential condiments for Afternoon Tea

You can even get a bit of Afternoon Tea history when you peruse the menu, "Afternoon Tea was first established when Anne, 7th Duchess of Bedford grew tired of that sinking feeling which afflicted her every afternoon around four o'clock in the long dull space between meals." Once your server arrives, you can order your tea selection. J.K. chose Chocolat (of course!) which is a strong black tea, perfectly suited to a good glug of cream and a bit of sugar. Angela picked out the Organic Pear Green, which was refreshing and had a hint of fruity sweetness all by itself.

Organic Pear Green
Pour a glass for me!

Chocolat–in its pure tea form

No seeds allowed with a lemon net.

The menu for your tea service is preset so if you have any dietary restrictions, let them know with your reservation. Tea Time was delighted by the desserts and surprised by the "sandwiches" at the Ritz afternoon tea. Our favorite savory bite was the creamy pate-filled pate a choux with the parmesan cheese chip on top. We were remiss in not giving the Currant scones their close up for this post, but you can see them peeking out next to the Rocky Road Brownie on the bottom tier, left photo.

two views
The tea stand
Tea savories circle up clockwise: Cucumber Triangle, Ham and Cheese, Crab Rectangle, Duck Pate,
Egg Salad with mushroom-center
number one favorite savory bite–of course it was duck!
Dessert Circus clockwise. chocolate macaron, rocky road brownie, crunchy vanilla meringue cookie, lemon tart with griotte cherries, vanilla macaron, chocolate chip mini madeline (!), vanilla raspberry cake-center
The Ritz tea falls in line with the pricing of other Hotel teas; you're paying for the experience as well as the food (and wine-if you're Tipsy). However, Tea Time would add this afternoon tea experience to the regular rotation due to the inventiveness of the menu and tastiness of the food. If you want to splurge on afternoon tea, the Ritz does it right with thoughtful service and a relaxed atmosphere.
Happy Holidays

The bar is closed for Afternoon Tea

Prominent local resto Parallel 37
J.K. couldn't finish her last three pastries, so she asked our server to put them in a box. They came back in a festive container, accompanied by a few friends! Tea Time visited during the Holiday season when there are ample options to reserve a spot for afternoon tea, if you're quick. However, we got a tip from our server that starting in March, every 3rd Saturday will feature an afternoon tea break! So give the Ritz a call now to reserve.

Bonus desserts and a cute Currant scone too!
But wait! There's more! Every day from Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve, the complimentary tea urn in the lobby was replaced with the Hot Chocolate Lab. Two flavors of hot chocolate plus assorted toppings, including two flavors of marshmallows. The hot chocolate flavors varied (the caramel was our favorite, but they were all good), however, the marshmallows were vanilla and peppermint every day. The Ritz serves the hot chocolate, but the toppings were DIY.

Friendly Servers
Cauldron of Yummy Hot Chocolate

Multitude of Toppings

If you're in the city and want an Afternoon tea break, you'll have to plan ahead to show up on a Saturday at the Ritz (with a reservation). Or do like Tea Time and wait patiently for the Holidays!  Hopefully if there is enough demand for this classy tea, the Ritz will take advantage and start to host them the entire weekend and maybe even have two seatings. Fingers crossed, Tea Lovers!


Thank you for the delightful tea!

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