Sweet City Desserts | Tea Room Review


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Miss Meredith Sweetpea had the pleasure of joining several compatriots  for afternoon tea at a charming tea room and pastry shop called Sweet City Desserts in Vienna, Virginia.

Our group ooh-ed and ah-ed over the delightful presentation, with the white tablecloth, colorful teapots, posy-rimmed plates, fresh flowers and doily-lined three-tiered servers. It was almost too pretty to disturb. But we couldn’t help ourselves and relished the three types of tea sandwiches, scones with house-made clotted cream, muffins, cookies and miniature desserts created by pastry chef Jenya Policelli.

The Full-Service Tea was the idea of manager Lorraine Saxon, who thought it would be an excellent addition to the pastry and coffee shop’s offerings. She was right. The concept has taken off and you often see birthday and bridal parties, girl scouts, mother-daughter pairings, and Red Hat Society ladies enjoying tea and the European and Asian pastries.

sweet-city-desserts-vienna-va-meredith-sweetpeaSaxon keeps things fresh by rotating themes and pastry selections throughout the seasons, and also offers Continue reading

The Things I Love Tearoom | Meredith Sweetpea | Tea Room Reviews


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Afternoon Tea at The Things I Love Tearoom, Manassas, VA

 

In Old Town Manassas, Virginia, Miss Meredith Sweetpea enjoys taking afternoon tea at The Things I Love Tearoom, located in the back of the The Things I Love store at 9084-9086 Center Street.

Before we talk about the wonderful tea, however, I must describe what is one of the most beautiful stores imaginable. Owner Joanne Wunderly takes extreme measures to ensure that her store delights the senses as soon as one enters. For the holidays, the store was decorated with charmingly-themed trees in every corner, with one even hanging upside down in order to create more floor space around it for her fabulous treasures. The Things I Love offers a variety of one-of-a-kind items for home decor, women’s accessories and jewelry, household goods, baby gifts, and much, much more. I’d recommend arriving at your tearoom appointment early to allow for shopping or browsing time.

The Things I Love Tearoom

The quaint tearoom at the rear of the store is decorated as a garden room and opens to an outdoor courtyard, weather permitting. There are only a couple of tables inside, so only a small number of guests can be accommodated at any time. This keeps the space intimate, and guests feel they are taking tea in someone’s home or garden.

A full afternoon tea is served, prepared by Chef Mary Anne Moreau, who formerly worked as Chef at the cafe at Fallingwater, the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. The sandwiches are savory and tasty, and the scones light and fresh. With a little clotted cream and jam, they are heavenly. We thought three sweets wouldn’t be enough when we saw the menu, but our thoughts were bigger than our stomachs. Rest assured, you certainly won’t leave hungry!

The full tea menu includes:

  • Cup of soup
  • Scones with clotted cream and jam
  • 4 tea sandwiches per person
  • 3 sweets per person
  • fresh seasonal fruit
  • custom-blended seasonal tea

Afternoon tea reservations are extremely important, as the tearoom is only open a few days a month, and can be made by calling 703-335-7711.

Wear your garden hat and invite your friends, but don’t put your pinky into the air! Good heavens!

Afternoon Tea at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel | Tea Room Reviews


Afternoon tea at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA. (photo: Boardwalk Plaza)

Afternoon tea at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA. (photo: Boardwalk Plaza)

There is nothing Miss Meredith Sweetpea likes better than afternoon tea. This week, she had the delight of discovering Afternoon Tea at Victoria’s Restaurant at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The dining room is beautifully dressed, with photographs and images of Queen Victoria donning the walls.

(Watch Boardwalk Plaza Hotel video.)

The entire theme of this four-diamond hotel is Victorian, so Continue reading

Queen of Tarts, Dublin | Tea Room Review


The Queen of Tarts tempts all who pass

Meredith Sweetpea had the pleasure of visiting the Queen of Tarts tea room in Dublin, Ireland this spring for a delightful repast.

Located on Cow Lane in the Old City (medieval quarter) area, The Queen of Tarts was opened in 1998 by sisters Regina and Yvonne Fallon. They trained as pastry chefs in New York City in the 1990s, then returned home to Ireland to establish and run their own cafe.  They envisioned it as a homey and welcoming space that offered the best breakfasts and weekend brunch in Dublin, along with the tastiest lunches, and the finest cakes, scones, brownies, savory and sweet tarts, and a perfectly judged wine list.

It was voted a Best of Dublin destination, and all of these round silver disks on the building are awards!

A proud rooster stands in the front window, holding a tray loaded with sweet delights, a tempting offer. It worked on me.

I was immediately drawn to a scone, choosing a cranberry one with clotted cream and jam; my favorite. But the wide selection of pastries called me closer and I had to sample the apple tart as well. Both were equally as delicious, with a delicateness I can only attribute to the art of the chef.

If you’re hungry, begin your lunch with a hot savory tarts or roasted chicken with stuffing, followed by the Old Fashioned Victorian Sponge Cake, or the Queen of Chocolate Fudge Cake covered in chocolate ganache.

Everything is baked fresh on the premises using the finest ingredients: free range eggs, Lavazza coffee beans for coffee, Callebaut fine Belgian chocolate for their chocolate fudge cake and muffins, and Bramley’s Irish apples for their apple crumbles. Favorites include their homemade buttermilk brown breads and soups.Queen of Tarts, Dublin, Ireland They are open for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, or, as they call it, a happy ending.

Relax on the outdoor terrace with a coffee or glass of wine and watch the world go by; or simply curl up inside with tea and a slice of warm plum tart. Or visit the original branch, just a step around the corner on Dame Street, facing the glorious Georgian facade of City Hall.

Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room | Tea Room Reviews


Unfortunately, Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room closed in August 2011, but the good news is that the Heritage Bakery & Cafe is now in its place, and serves scones and tea!

Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room in Harrisonburg, Virginia offers a traditional tearoom in a non-traditional setting. It shares the historic Hardesty-Higgins House with the local tourism center.

Opened in October 2005, The tearoom is set back in a sunny yellow room adjacent to a lovely patio for outdoor dining, and the restaurant serves traditional tea fare (like scones), a light lunch (11:00 am-2:00 pm), and afternoon tea (2:00 – 5:00 pm)

Formal Tea and Princess Tea

Make reservations for lunch, as the tearoom is often booked up. And be aware: reservations are required 24 hours in advance for formal tea that consists of a selection of tea sandwiches, scones and sweets served on a three-tiered stand and a pot of tea or iced tea.

Recently added to the menu is the Princess Tea, a lighter version of the Formal Tea. It includes four tea sandwiches, a scone and four sweets, and a pot of tea or iced tea. This also requires a 24-hour advance reservation. Both the Formal Tea and the Princess Tea are served 3:00 to 5:00 pm only.

Lunch at Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room

Meredith Sweetpea and her mother enjoyed tea here recently. One highlight of our meal was the delightful selection from over 65 loose teas. Our server led us to a “sniffer bar” where we could smell the teas we were contemplating, and we made our selections from white, green, black and oolong teas, fruit and herbal blends and rooibos tisane. We selected a decaffeinated English tea and Caramel Tea. The caramel tea was a new choice for us, and with a little sugar in the cup, tasted exactly like a smooth caramel. We purchased some to take home as well.

Our lunch selections included “The Rockingham” chicken salad sandwich with grapes served on raisin bread, and “The Farmer,” three ham biscuits served with cole slaw and chips. Delicious.

But what really caught our eye were the orange scones, although a variety of other desserts are offered. We snagged the last two available. (We heard that sometimes you even have to reserve your scones, they are so popular.)  The light texture went perfectly with the jam and clotted cream we ordered extra. It comes with the tea packages, but can be ordered a la carte with individual scones.

The History of Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room

Following our repast, we spent a while wandering through the several rooms of historical displays regarding Rockingham County and the Civil War. It turns out there was a Mrs. Hardesty, and she and her family lived in this house, which is the second oldest still standing in Harrisonburg. Mr. Isaac Hardesty was the first Mayor of Harrisonburg in the 1850s.

During the “Great Unpleasantness,” Mayor Hardesty was said to have entertained Union General Banks in this house as much of the surrounding area of the Shenandoah Valley was being burned by Union forces. Soon after, the Hardestys moved North.

The building then became an inn, and then a furniture store. In summer of 2005, it became home to the Harrisonburg Regional Tourism offices, Valley Turnpike Museum, Rocktown Gift Shoppe, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance offices, and Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room.

We ended up spending the afternoon here in this delightful little tearoom, and encourage others to come here as well.

Mrs. Hardesty’s Team Room is a member of the Southern Association of Tea Businesses

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