Afternoon Tea Tower
Here is tea for two in all its glory. The bottom three plates of the tower represent a traditional British tea, with scones, petit fours and finger sandwiches. The top three platters are a little more whimsical, with modern bites from sous chef Jason White and pastry chef Scott Gerken.
I love this menu design. It's fun and such a great visual, like the chocolate key in a box of assorted truffles. It really helps you keep track of what you're eating, particularly with some of the more modern components that you might not be able to identify right away. BLT push pop, we mean you.
One of the modern savory bites served with afternoon tea is a Vermilion River blue cheese panna cotta with bison tartare. Chef White adds crispy shallots to finish it off.
Scones and Tea Cookies
Starting at the base of the tower, we have currant and orange scones with Devonshire cream and housemade strawberry jam.These are accompanied by cranberry and white chocolate tea cookies. We'd have liked a little more tart cranberry to balance the sweetness of the white chocolate, but the scones were fabulous. Nice subtle flavors and a crumbly texture.
Finger Sandwiches and Deviled Eggs
Two of the most traditional of finger sandwich flavors, cucumber watercress and smoked salmon, are presented here, along with tea soaked deviled eggs. The salmon is smoked in-house and has a bright flavor. The eggs are very pretty, with a delicate crackling of earl grey staining. Oh, they taste good too, with more muted flavors than the miso deviled eggs served at the bar.
Petit Fours and Berry Tarts
The petit fours here are pistachio with a white chocolate glaze (yes, they used food coloring, but just for a stronger red and white contrast for the Christmas spirit!) and the tarts are filled with vanilla cream and topped with raspberries and powdered sugar.
Lobster Cannoli and Blue Cheese Panna Cotta
Cannoli shells are filled with lobster mousse and sprinkled with candied onion and white truffle powder. They were fun bites, but we liked the blue cheese panna cotta even more. The blue cheese was surprisingly light and tangy, restrained enough so that it didn't overwhelm the raw bison. Crispy shallots were the perfect contrast with the creamy panna cotta base.
BLT Push Pops and Pimento Cheese Corn Fritters
The pimento cheese corn fritters are the one hot element on the savory side of tea. Corn dog batter covers an oozing mixture of aged cheddar and garlic boursin cheese with roasted pepper.
The BLT push pop was our favorite savory bite. Layers of pancetta crumble, tomato jam and arugula chimichurri are each really boldly flavored, but complement each other so well. Plus, it's really fun to eat a savory push pop. My how we've grown since our elementary school days....
Cake Pops and Pop Tarts
Who can resist these gooey bite-sized chocolate cake pops?
"It seems like things on a stick are kind of in right now," says pastry chef Scott Gerken. Um yes, we noticed that on the savory side too.
The apple pop tarts are made with housemade apple butter and topped with a layer of fondant.