Afternoon Tea Review // Crosby Street Hotel

It's been a while since my last afternoon tea at The Crosby Bar at the Crosby Street Hotel so it was time for a return visit. In the last review I sat outside, but this time, it was too warm, so inside it was. 

I met up with Kathy, and we shared one order of afternoon tea for the two of us. 

SETTING: ★★★★☆
I like to sit in the booth seating in the front part of the restaurant instead of the middle section with the low tables so we requested to be seated there. I find it's usually emptier and there's more room, which I prefer. It's a full service restaurant, but I like how quiet it is in the middle of the afternoon so the place feels like yours.

SERVICE: ★★★★☆
Service was very good. The staff was friendly and accommodating.

TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★☆☆☆
They have three basic teas available with your afternoon tea (an English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Chamomile) but if you want any of their 11 speciality teas, there is a $2.50 supplement. Uh, really? These "speciality teas" are what you would see at most afternoon tea menus -- without a supplement. I have no idea why they are nickel and diming. The only guess is that since the Traditional Tea is $38 per person, it was a way to keep the cost below $40 by taking out the "speciality teas." I ordered the Earl Grey (HELLZ NO was I going to pay the supplement) and I did like it.

The teaware and three-tiered tray were the same as last time with tea sandwiches and scones at the bottom, sweets in the middle, and small pots of preserves and clotted cream at the top.

SAVORIES: ★★★☆☆
Savories are better looking, and better tasting that the last time. Uniformly cut and neatly arranged, these basic tea sandwiches were good, but not memorable.

SCONES: ★★★★☆
I enjoyed the scones since they were served warm (!) and they were pretty tasty. Since two are served per person, it would have been nicer if the portion size was brought down a bit. But I do love that they come wrapped in a napkin to keep them warm. 

SWEETS: ★★★☆☆
Just eh, but I do appreciate the variety.

OVERALL: ★★★☆☆
At $38, the afternoon tea is the same cost as the one served at Bergdorf Goodman so if I were to compare the two. the one at the Crosby Street Hotel falls short.

INFO: The Crosby Bar at the Crosby Street Hotel | 79 Crosby Street | New York, NY 10012 | 212.226.6400
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: All day
COST: Traditional Tea,  $38 | Menu

9 Favorites in September

1/ Cha No Ka Matcha Green Tea Cookies They're the matcha version of a Milano cookie but so much better. Sold at Dean & DeLuca, they're flown in from Japan every week.

1/ Cha No Ka Matcha Green Tea Cookies
They're the matcha version of a Milano cookie but so much better. Sold at Dean & DeLuca, they're flown in from Japan every week.

3/ Rimowa Salsa - 22" Cabin Multiwheel My first Rimowa and I'm not looking back. Perfect for a 3-4 day trip and I use it as my carry-on. It's light and the wheels just glide beautifully.

3/ Rimowa Salsa - 22" Cabin Multiwheel
My first Rimowa and I'm not looking back. Perfect for a 3-4 day trip and I use it as my carry-on. It's light and the wheels just glide beautifully.

2/ Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloths
I packed these on my last trip and they are perfect for travel. No need to pack a liquid facial wash, I used these cloths to take off my makeup and clean my face. So easy.

4/ Gaiwan Starter Set from Tea Drunk Who knew finding a basic gaiwan set for Chinese tea would be so hard to find? Love this one I got from Tea Drunk.

4/ Gaiwan Starter Set from Tea Drunk
Who knew finding a basic gaiwan set for Chinese tea would be so hard to find? Love this one I got from Tea Drunk.

 

5/ Silk Road Teas The owners travel to China every spring to source their teas. Perfect for purists as they don't do blends and are known for rare and artisan teas.

5/ Silk Road Teas
The owners travel to China every spring to source their teas. Perfect for purists as they don't do blends and are known for rare and artisan teas.

6/ Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle  Perfect for keeping the water hot to just the right temperature between each pour.

6/ Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle 
Perfect for keeping the water hot to just the right temperature between each pour.

8/ Travel Kabuki Makeup Brush and Foundation Brushes  My makeup brushes never fit into my cosmetics bag so I got a set of these Hourglass Travel Brushes. I use the Kabuki for my foundation and I have two Foundation Brushes that I use for powder and blush.

8/ Travel Kabuki Makeup Brush and Foundation Brushes 
My makeup brushes never fit into my cosmetics bag so I got a set of these Hourglass Travel Brushes. I use the Kabuki for my foundation and I have two Foundation Brushes that I use for powder and blush.

7/ Teapot from CB2 Bright and cheery, this teapot will light up any afternoon tea breaks.

7/ Teapot from CB2
Bright and cheery, this teapot will light up any afternoon tea breaks.

9/ Fitbit One Been using it every single day to keep track of how many steps I take.

9/ Fitbit One
Been using it every single day to keep track of how many steps I take.

Posted on September 29, 2014 .

Five Course Seafood Tasting Menu at Marea

I still can't stop thinking about this five course seafood tasting menu lunch at Marea, a two star Michelin restaurant. So memorable, with every bite leaving me wanting more. Marea specializes in Italian and seafood and the lunch tasting menu is $80.

Here is everything I ate:

1/ From the bread tray I started with this pumpkin seed focaccia. Then proceeded to have 2 more pieces of bread during the course of the meal to get the last bits of sauce.

2/ Assaggio di Tre, a tasting of three crudo of sliced raw fish and shellfish. The Sgombro, a jack mackerel, tomato, fennel, potato chip, and trout roe was especially amazing. 

3/ Astice: a Nova Scotia lobster with burrata, eggplant, and basil. Oh My God. I wanted to lick the plate.

4/ Strozzapreti: crab, sea urchin, and basil. So creamy and the pasta was perfect.

5/ Capesante was the final savory dish. Seared scallops, napa cabbage, chanterelles, lentils, and greens. I didn't know scallops could taste so good. 

6/ I'm not a huge fan of panna cotta, and think it's a cheap way for restaurants to cop out of a real dessert, but THIS changed my mind about that. Caramelized goat milk panna cotta with almonds, anise hyssop, and melon granita. Lovely and light.

7/ Not a part of the tasting menu, but I ordered a green tea to end the meal. Loose leaf tea from Harney & Sons. Tea was served with thin, square cookies.

8/ And the last bites were these colorful, fruity, and nutty nougats. One for me, one for my friend Queenie.

INFO: Marea | 240 Central Park South | New York, NY 10019 | 212.582.5100
COST: $80 Five Course Seafood Tasting Menu Lunch

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Afternoon Tea Review // New Museum

Ok, so the New Museum is not my favorite museum, but Georgia gave me a heads up about the afternoon tea there so we met up to give it a try. (See her post.)

SETTING: ★☆☆☆☆
The afternoon tea is served in the museum cafe on the main floor and is run by the Hester Street Café. If you're visiting the museum just for the cafe, no need to pay the museum admission. The space seats 40 people with a mix of tables for two to four to communal benches. I opted for the table for two since I prefer chairs with backs to bench seating. 

SERVICE: ★★
There isn't table service so orders must be placed at the cafe counter. The staff was friendly and brought our afternoon tea set over to us once it was ready. 

TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★★☆☆
Not a bad tea selection of seven loose leaf teas from McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co. considering the afternoon tea is just $20/per person. I got the Pan Fired Green Tea which was good.

Since there were two of us, we got the Afternoon Tea for Two for $35. Teas arrived first, then a little while later, a three-tiered tray with food for two.

SAVORIES: ★★★☆☆
The menu showed a selection of four tea sandwiches, but only two were available -- the Cucumber and Chives on White and Tarragon Chicken Salad on Wheat. You can pick three of the four tea sandwiches (or two in our case) per person. We got two of the Cucumbers. I thought the chicken was a tad dry, but the cucumber tea sandwich was very good. Everything tasted freshly made; no stale or cold bread which is always good. I had wished all four tea sandwiches were available though.

SCONES: ★★☆☆☆
Didn't love the scone (we got one each) since they were on the dry side and very small portions of butter (not clotted cream) and jam were served. Plus, it was odd only one knife was given for the both of us.

SWEETS: ★★★☆☆
The macarons were definitely a miss but the tea cake, mini bundt cake, and shortbread tea cookies were good, although forgettable.

OVERALL: ★★★☆☆
The afternoon tea is priced just right for what you're getting. If you're visiting the New Museum or just downtown and looking for an afternoon tea break, the New Museum Café is a good casual option.

LOCATION: New Museum Café | 235 Bowery | New York, NY 10002 | 212.219.1222
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Served all day during cafe hours
COST: Afternoon Tea for One, $20 | Afternoon Tea for Two, $35

Posted on September 23, 2014 .

Tea at Three // Bar Pleiades at The Surrey

Instead of crowded and noisy cafes with tables that are too close to each other, I much prefer the quiet and luxurious setting of hotel bars for tea breaks in the middle of the afternoon, around 3PM. 

A reader of the blog, JoAnn, told me she loves to go to Bar Pleiades, Chef Daniel Boulud's bar within the The Surrey hotel for warm madeleines. WARM MADELEINES. 

So I'm kind of obsessed with these madeleines. And this obsession goes back to the time I had dinner at Daniel years ago and they were served as part of the dessert course. Freshly baked and warm, fluffy, and miniature in size, the madeleines were so good that I couldn't stop talking about them for months. I was so happy when Dominque Ansel (who was the executive pastry chef at Daniel) opened up his bakery and started serving them. (See my post on the best madeleines.) But the presentation of the madeleines is completely different (and way better) at Bar Pleiades and Daniel. Instead of a dinky little paper tray, they're served like this...

Nestled in a floral origami napkin, they're best when they're eaten as soon as they land on the table. With tea, of course.

Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, tea isn't on the bar menu but they do serve a small selection of teas from In Pursuit of Tea. I got an oolong, which was very good.

But really, go there for the heavenly madeleines in a gorgeous setting with fantastic service.

INFO: Bar Pleiades at The Surrey | 20 East 76th Street | New York, NY 10021 | 212.288.3700

Posted on September 11, 2014 .