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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Afternoon Tea Isn’t Just for the Brits 12.12.12


Finger foods (or hors d’ouevres or appetizers or tapas) are high up on my list of favorite things. Like ever. On my birthday we went out to a French bistro that had small plates – that we ate way too many of. Every party I throw is finger food central. You’ll come to my house to a buffet of tiny foods. When we got married, everything on the food table was fork-free friendly. I just think food should be convenient to eat and mingle over if you are in a group. I shouldn’t have to juggle my plate and a drink and figure out how to cut something with a fork and knife while I’m trying to have a conversation. Also, little things are CUTE. Babies know what I’m talking about.


It’s not only that small foods are fun, but it enables you to try more than one thing without stuffing yourself or spending a ton. They say variety is the spice of life, so when I have a chance to eat a meal entirely of bite-size nibbles I’m totally in. One of these times is a traditional afternoon tea. It’s a Brit thing, yes, but why does that mean the rest of us can’t enjoy it…and not have to be in England to do it? I say there is no reason you can’t indulge in the decadence that is afternoon tea anytime, anywhere – well, it obviously must be during afternoon tea time.




One of the great things about afternoon tea is the time. Between 12pm and 4pm you are usually looking for a place to have lunch. Normally, it’s closer to noon. I have a way to making tea turn into a budget friendly meal. Instead of gorging yourself on what amounts to four meals a day, turn it into two and a half. I am always up for eating more on vacation, but that also means I need to walk waaaaaaaaay more than planned. Since I can’t walk 28 miles a day to burn off all my usual extra calories, and I don’t have a never-ending budget for vacation, I use afternoon tea to save on dining some days. It enables me to eat a bunch of little things instead of several full-size meals.



Here’s what I suggest: Eat a big breakfast a little later than usual. 9 or 10am work perfectly. Make your afternoon tea reservation as late as you can get away with. I aim for 3:30 or 4pm. This way, by the time you are getting hungry, it is well past lunch time, but not quite dinner time. Leisurely enjoy your bite-size sandwiches, pastries, scones, fruit and anything else you are served with. This gets you to around 5 or 6pm. You can get in a show or movie or a little more sightseeing before you head back to your room/vacation rental. I always keep snacks on-hand when we travel, which we will nibble on later if we start to feel hungry before we are ready for bed.


This is also the perfect time to try a nearby food cart, split a sandwich or other yummy sounding thing from a deli or even grab a small pizza from a local mom and pop establishment. Of course, if you have leftovers from your previous dining experiences, you can always finish those off instead. Either way, that little extra you spent on a late-night snack won’t break your budget and you’ll have combined your lunch and dinner into a more reasonable cost than going to a sit-down restaurant for both meals separately. These photos are from my afternoon tea at The London West Hollywood – Gordon Ramsay’s rooftop restaurant (during the weekdays). You’ll be surprised how much these 3 little plates of food filled us up for the rest of the evening.


What is your favorite part about high tea? Is it the chance to try a bunch of different things like me?
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