Those who thirstily dug into Got Plans? yesterday will recall a reader who wrote in seeking a destination for high tea. Astute readers pointed that afternoon tea is the practice with which most are familiar: tea sandwiches, scones, pastries and a pot of tea served in the midafternoon. High tea is a different affair, an event that replaces dinner and afternoon tea. It sounds like something fancy, but really it's associated with the working class as a meal of meats, cheese, liquor and tea provided to men after a day out in the fields. The name just means that it's meant to be served as at a high table, rather than any shorter lounging tables. Here are some places where you can lift your pinky and sip.
The regal and serene Mansion on O Street offers two options for tea every Sunday. For $20 per person, guests can sip unlimited tea, coffee, juice and champagne. A buffet spread includes pastries and other desserts, cheese and a vegetable basket. For $65 per person, guests are served the above options as well as scones and tea sandwiches. Reservations, accepted for 2:30-4 p.m. seatings, must be made through the Mansion Web site.
The Tea Cellar at the sleek Park Hyatt offers a dazzling number of teas with special attention to water temperature and steeping time. Tea connoisseurs can sip teas from all around the world, including a rare Chinese tea from 1985 that costs $300. From 2:30-4:30 p.m. weekdays, the cellar hosts tea time with an array of pastries and teas available for $12 total. Reservations can be secured by calling 202-789-1234.
For traditional afternoon tea downtown, the Willard InterContinental serves a lavish spread in the Peacock Alley. Finger sandwiches include cucumber, watercress and cream cheese, smoked salmon and an egg salad. The tea service includes scones with jam and cream and a pastry spread of cakes and tarts. Teas are provided by Mighty Leaf Tea Company. The service is offered every day from 2:30-5 p.m. and costs $33.50 or $43.50 with a glass of champagne. Reservations can be made at 202-637-7350.
Finally, Royal Tea Room in La Plata specializes in afternoon and high tea. In a former rectory, the restaurant specializes in delicate sandwiches and treats that make tea time special. The dozens of different teas are wheeled around on trolleys. Royal Tea ($21.95), the high tea offering, serves soup and salad in addition to scones, sweets and little nibbles. Reservations can be made by calling 301-392-1111.
There's certainly no shortage of places to grab hot tea. When the yearning for a proper tea strikes, where do you go?
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