Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tea at The Ritz Carlton

For a while now I have thoroughly enjoyed talking about high tea, reading about high tea, and of course going to experience it.  Now as you might have guessed, being in Orange County does not offer me the expansive selection one might have to chose from for going to high tea as opposed to say London.  I did not let me location dissuade me and instead set my fingers in motion to begin my research.

With the lovely invent of the internet, I went to work researching places to have high tea in Orange County and was not disappointed.  A few months back my sisters and I took tea at the Pelican Hill Resort.  I must say, the lavender colored tea was really quite delicious and the food, despite looking like just little bites to each, turned out to be gorgeous little appetizers stacked on a tiered plate which were quite filling.  We had a great time and this little experience only whetted my appetite to try others as well.

On a side note, I also went and tried the lovely Paris In A Cup tea house in Orange and was quite impressed.  I am going to go back there soon so hopefully you will see a blog post for Paris In A Cup by early 2015.

One of the tea places that had alluded me for a while now was The Ritz Carlton located in Laguna Niguel (or northern Dana Point for the locals).  I had attempted to have tea here several times only to be rebuffed due to the fact that reservations are made well in advance and always were booked when I had thought to inquire.  This time was different.  I called months in advance and secured the reservations.  I have to say, sometimes booking in advance on heightens your anticipation.

Arriving at The Ritz we were first greeted with this gorgeous display of vased-flowers and I knew I would enjoy the afternoon.

When we were first seated we were offered a glass of champagne, complimentary with the teas service, and were given the option to add fresh juice to make the champagne a mimosa.  I know this is completely against how the French feel regarding their champagne, but I did end up adding the amber nectar and was not disappointed.

Our waitress, Elizabeth, and her right-hand, Kara, were both extremely friendly and helpful.  Elizabeth gave us the history and flavor profile of each of the Mighty Leaf teas offered as well as let us smell the tea before making out selections.

I next glanced over the menu at the Raya Restaurant to see what my tea had in store. Every item looked amazing and I was glad that I have saved my appetite so that I could enjoy a taste of each and everyone.

One thing that is really nice about going to an establishment such as The Ritz is that the truly care about the experience of each and every guest.  When I was making the reservation for tea I informed them that one person in the party was a vegetarian and did not eat eggs.  They were so accommodating and altered some of their dishes so that she too could enjoy each pre-tested and selected flavor for the tea dishes.  

Each of us was given our own pot of tea and gorgeous tea strainer.  One thing I will say is that I drink quite of bit of water and tea.  That being said, with the excellent service offered I was never in want of more tea.  This was unlike the tea service at Pelican Hill in which the tea was on a separate cart in which only the waitress poured more and there were quite a few times my cup was empty and no waitress to be found.  Another striking disparity is that when we had tea at Pelican Hill there were three of us gathered at what I can only call a glorified side table.  At The Ritz, the tables were spacious and not once did I have to worry about setting my teacup down and knocking something else over.

A picture I did not take was of the view.  We were lucky enough to be seated right against the window and were overlooking the Pacific Ocean, more specifically Salt Creek. I guess growing up down here you take the ocean's beauty for granted and have hundreds of pictures that at some point you stop taking them and just sit and observe.  I will try to take a picture next time for you.

By the close of our meal and tea, we had not noticed how much time had past as we were enjoying the bites, tea, and each other's company.
My favorite dessert was the Coffee Cream Puff as seen above on the far right.

In all, I had a really lovely time and would not mind going back again...soon!  I hope you get a chance to try tea at The Ritz.  I am glad I did.

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