tea for two
One of the most magical experiences in New York was tea at the Plaza Hotel. For those of you who are fans of the movie Bride Wars, yes, it's that Plaza Hotel. It's also the hotel where Eloise stayed, if you enjoyed her shenanigans as a child. Either way, it was a splurge that Mom and I were so happy we made.
The history buffs in the room want to know some of the history. In 1907, the Plaza Hotel was built to be a model of luxury for the entire world. It has hosted queens, presidents, movie stars and musicians and has become the place to see and be seen. Now Mom and I like to see, but we're definitely not there to be seen. Being the foodies we are, we were much more interested in high tea at the Palm Court tea room, which is just off the lobby and has been meticulously preserved in its original grandeur. I think my favorite part of the whole experience was actively stepping back in time to enjoy a tradition that has been around for over 100 years!
I highly recommend making a reservation ahead of time. We tried to make same-day reservations one afternoon before a show and it was full already, so we made reservations for tea before our flight home a few days later. It's not abnormal for them to have large parties come through so secure your spot a day or two in advance. We were seated at a cozy table in the corner and watched the Palm Court fill up, but it didn't ever feel crowded, loud or chaotic. Everything was tranquil and easily paced. Never once did we feel rushed. So you get the same experience, allot at least an hour and a half to sit and enjoy. We lingered for around two hours and honestly, could have lounged longer.
Mom and I ordered tea towers and decided to add a glass of champagne and let me tell you: it was SO WORTH IT! The pink bubbly was the perfect addition to our light, fruity, and floral tea and complex mixture of the sweet and savory bites on the tea tower. And let's be honest: champagne makes everything feel just a little more chic! Bonus points if it's pink! The tower we ordered had three layers. On the bottom was a cloth napkin full of light, fluffy scones. Mom and I paired them with the sweet jam and butter on the table. Lemon spread was also offered but give me jam any day! The second layer had a wide variety of finger sandwiches. I loved the cucumber sandwich and the smoked salmon sandwich and Mom was a fan of the chicken and egg salad sandwiches. All were incredible in their own special way. Now the top tier was by far my favorite because it was DESSERTS! They had banana macarons, chocolate cakes, cheesecakes and this delicious berry tart that was the best of the best! We stuck with the basic tea tower and were completely blown away but you can definitely upgrade if you want to go bigger.
Like everything else in this castle, the service was incredible. Kazi, our waiter spoiled us rotten with banana cotton candy (delicious, just trust me) and extra treats to go and stayed around to chitchat for a while. We were so comfortable and relaxed because we knew we were well taken care of. And he was hilarious! If you choose to go, definitely ask to be seated in Kazi's section. You won't regret it.
I couldn't imagine a more perfect way to spend an afternoon. Mom and I felt like princesses and got to lounge in one of the most beautiful tea rooms in the world. I can't recommend this experience enough. If you're planning a trip to New York, take the time to go to tea and recharge from a crazy few days of sightseeing, walking and fast-paced traveling. Your mind, body, soul-- and stomach-- will thank you.