my journey to be my best self

not all teas are created equal

In travel, Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Harrods is absolutely incredible.  As a little girl I was always fascinated by lights and in the evening Harrods is lit up like a Christmas tree, attracting the little girl in me.  I marveled the enormity of it and when I thought of how to make this gloomy day a bit brighter I  immediately thought of Harrods and having afternoon tea there.

Afternoon tea is a ritual that I take quite seriously.  After the best experience at Fortnum & Mason I felt a bit guilty about having tea elsewhere but then acquiesced.  Afterall, how will I know what tea I like if I do not try them all?

After making our way through the maze of department at Harrods, Whitney and I found ourselves on the fourth floor at the Georgian.  While I am sure it was once spectacular it is now just stodgy.  We were seated at a round table for 4 and I couldn’t help but notice the chairs were mauve.  Yes, mauve.  When I was little the halls on the first floor of our house were mauve.  As were the sofa and love seat in the family room.  And the chairs in the dining room.  Damn, looking back, we had a lot of mauve.  But that was in the 80s and it has all been replaced and I suggest that Harrods takes a cue from my mother who is always changing to keep her space fresh.  To go along with the decor was a piano that was playing itself at the reception area.  When I looked over and noticed the keys playing themselves I saw a digital screen with the words “The Godfather” scrolling across.  Wonderful.

When I saw a server walk by with miniature cakes and tarts I thought to myself, “We should have went to Fortnum & Mason.”  Ok, not to myself. I said it out loud and I meant it.  When our server finally graced us with our presence I thought, “Damn, I miss Enrique.”  Our server (who Whitney refused to take a photo of) quickly offered us the Harrods Afternoon Tea.  I should have questioned why she was so quick to offer it but I accepted it and waited patiently for my tea.  Now, if youv’e been to Fortnum & Mason you would be appalled when you saw the tea pot they brought to our table.  It came along with milk (which was so cold it was impossible to keep the tea warm) and sugar cubes.  As I sat drinking my lukewarm tea I thought about the table setting at Fortnum & Mason.  What’s missing?  The tea strainer.  Wait. Where is it?  I kept sipping but then realized why there were no strainers.  “I think this is tea bag tea!” I belted out.  When Whitney peeked into the pot she confirmed my suspicion.  Her face had indignation written all over it.   And I wondered were we served Lipton at Harrods?

I couldn’t even begin to eat the “freshly cut sandwiches” from the descriptions I realized why they say English has bad food.  None it it sounded appealing.  Well, there is always the “home-baked English scones” with clotted cream and the rose petal jelly sounded divine.  But really it was just tolerable and the only thing I could stomach.  After months on Weight Watchers I decided to spare myself from unnecessary points, to not eat for the sake of eating.  As I told Whitney, this is not Eat, Pray, Love.  If it looked delicious I would have gladly partaken in the ritual.  That’s what tea is after all. A ritual that should be preserved but Harrods managed to make a mockery of it.  And for that, shame on you Harrods.

As we sat there no longer even trying to enjoy the meal I started counting the ways Harrods failed us.  And I desperately wanted to tell someone.  I saw a very official man across the room and when I got his attention he sauntered over and said something like, “I know I am handsome but you could have asked your server for help.”  What server? We haven’t seen her since she offered us tea bag tea!  “Look in this pot” I demaded as I motioned him towards the tea pot.  “What do you see? Tea bags!”  Whitney, who was embarrassed at my outburst said, “we are just curious why Harrods would chose to serve tea bags rather than loose tea” and he answered by explaining that they had been suggesting that Harrods do away with the tea bags for quite some time but the battle has not yet been won.

Knowing that I (because Whitney hid her disgust well) was disappointd he offered us some champagne.  When he walked away Whitney said, “almost everything could be solved with a complimentary glass of champagne.  But not this.”

How dare they call this proper tea?  But what is proper tea?  I think its worth investigating.  Because what we were served this afternoon certainly was not proper.

See you on Friday, Enrique.  We shouldn’t have strayed.  As I told Whitney, this is what happens when you cheat.

  1. Lola and Whitney,
    Did you not know that Harrod’s was owned by Dodi ( certainly not a proper English gentleman)- what woudld you expect?

    Love Linda/Dennis

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