Afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian

First of all, congratulations to Bear & my best friend, Honey for tying the knot on August 10, 2013!!! Please click here to read their love story.

Anyway, for their honeymoon, they decided to go to Disney with 8 other people. Okay, I know that may sound weird but that’s because they’re leaving (or rather, they’ve left) for China for two years!

One of the most memorable things we did at Disney World was have afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian. It is one of the resorts they have there but once you step in, it’s not like the other Disney themed resorts.

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BEHOLD.

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It was a girl’s only afternoon tea. Everyone (but me) had some sort of mouse ears. I left mine in my suitcase. Go figure.

We decided to go for the Buckingham Palace tea which includes their traditional tea sandwiches, scones and jam tarts complemented by fresh strawberries and cream, or a selection of freshly baked pastries, along with your choice of tea. $23.00 per guest.

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I cannot remember the name of the tea I had but it’s better that way. You don’t need to try it. πŸ™ Definitely do not need to try it…

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It came with the standard type of sandwiches and an onion tart. They were kind enough to allow me to switch the meat ones for egg salad sandwiches πŸ™‚ My friends tell me that this has been the first time they were able to finish all the sandwiches so they must be good!

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This is their salty scone (yeah it tasted like corn bread) and their uberly sweet strawberry tart.

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Unlike other tea places, you are given a choice of two petit fours OR fresh strawberries & cream OR an English trifle. Upon looking at the choices, I went with the strawberries.

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All in all it was a fun experience. The server we had was very accommodating! Our friend was cold and she brought out a table cloth for her to wear… haha. Definitely a must visit on your trip to Disney World πŸ™‚

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Disney World – Grand Floridian Resort
Menu here

Afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton

This past weekend, I went to afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton. Finally! I’ve been wanting to go for months now but nobody wanted to go. I think I’ve visited most of the afternoon tea places in Toronto so I really should make some sort of comparison chart. Actually, as I’m typing this – I just had the most brilliant idea. Stay tuned for that in the coming… months.

I arrived to the DEQ lounge and was quite disappointed. Yes, I understand it was a lounge but there were people sitting by the bar and it’s not something I want to see while having tea. I think there was sports on the TV. Secondly, seeing as it was a lounge/bar, you had to approach the hostess who was also the bartender. Thirdly, the hostess said that I supposedly “cancelled” my reservation. Just the day prior, someone had called to confirm my reservation in which I said yes, I am coming!

After being seated, they had explained the menu to us. You had three choices of Classic Tea, Posh Tea or the Royal Tea. (Click here for more information) The server also brought us the humidor with their eight tea choices. Unlike at the King Edward or even MoRoCo Chocolat, we were not able to smell the different teas at our leisure. She stood there with the different bottles and asked us if we wanted to smell anything. I just went with the safe – Organic Peppermint while my friend went with the Earl Grey. But to her credit, she did explain everything to us which other places seem to forget to do…

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This the savoury portion of the tea. We have quiche, followed by scones, and sandwiches. Can someone explain to me why the scones were on the second tier? The order makes no sense to me. Or at least, this is not what I’m used to. Upon further examination, I can see why the scones aren’t at the top tier because there wouldn’t have been any room for the cream nor at the bottom. So maybe, they need to reconsider the design of their tiers or serve the cream on the side.

The quiche was good, as was the scone. The sandwiches were okay. There was nothing special to comment on.

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The savoury portion was followed by the sweets which had their own tiers. This also needs a redesign. I am not quite sure what the theme is here… Also, it makes for a bad picture! I wasn’t that interested in moving it at an angle just to take a picture.

They were good – for the most part. However, one item didn’t quite do it for me. It was the sweet and salty cookie. Honestly, the one word to describe it would be dull.

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Here is the uninteresting tea cup. Haha.

All in all, the food was okay. The desserts were better! The service was pretty good! They were very knowledgeable on all the items that were served, as well as familiar with the tea selection. (This is very important to me because a lot of places just drop the food in front of you.) However, they were definitely lacking in the ambiance section. Maybe it would have been nicer if I was able to go during the Teddy Bear tea they were offering two months ago…

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Ritz-Carlton Toronto
Website
181 Wellington Street West, Toronto
(416) 585-2500

Afternoon tea at T-buds (First book club meeting)

I started a book club at the end of November and we had our first meeting this past Sunday. I chose T-Buds, Tea lounge & Creperie. You are able to walk-in and sit downstairs, or for those with reservations (moi), you are seated upstairs in their tea lounge.
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The tea lounge area.

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At the back of the room, there is a display of all their teas for sale.

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Prior to arriving, I had already looked at the menu and had settled on afternoon tea. The tea I selected was the White silver dew buds.

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This was an interesting way to steep the tea but to be quite honest with you, I’m not sure if it’s the most effective way. Either that or their tea was just bland (for all parties at my table…) In fact, towards the end, I tried my friend’s black tea & I had dumped the tea leaves directly into the water while placing the filter over my cup instead. Not much of a difference but by that time I resorted to drinking something else.

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The afternoon tea came with a goat cheese quiche. Sorry but I really hate goat cheese!!! Thankfully, they replaced it with a spa salad.

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Unlike other afternoon tea places where there is a set sandwich menu based on the season (some places don’t even change the menu…), at T-Buds, it’s based on whatever they have that day. They had roast beef, tuna and cucumber. I obviously did not have the roast beef and substituted it with more cucumber. I wasn’t fond of the tuna sandwich to be quite honest but that’s just me.

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This is the first time I had cinnamon scones and I really liked it. It came with creme fraiche, jam, and fresh fruits.

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I’d love to tell you what these are but no one came by to explain anything. πŸ™‚

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Afternoon tea also comes with sparkling jasmine tea! I had to ask about it at the end since someone must have forgotten to give it to me. In her defense, it was her first day. They were nice enough to give one to everyone at our table.

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My friend R had planned a date with her boyfriend after our meeting so she had a grain salad and french pressed coffee. She was the only one at the table to order coffee at a tea place…

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My other friend ordered from the dessert crepes section of the menu seeing as she had eaten lunch not too long ago. She had picked the Irish Strawberry which consisted of fresh strawberries, our signature chantilly and Bailey’s Irish Cream. I remember her saying “Mmm…Bailey’s”.

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Lastly, Yuk‘s sister ordered from the Sandwiches & wraps section of the menu. She ordered the The gladiator (glad-I-ate-here) savoury crepe. (I would like to point out that I let her take the picture and she had focused on everything but the wrap) It consisted of hand-rolled beef meatballs in a basil tomato sauce with provalone and parmesean cheeses wrapped in a savoury crepe. Seeing as I’m a vegetarian, I can’t tell you how it tasted like but I can say it smelled really good! She actually really liked it as well and would’ve ordered another but was deterred by the price.

I would definitely return here to try their brunch menu! I am now off to figure out where to go for my next book club meeting. Maybe somewhere haunted? (I know it may seem random but it related to one of our discussion topics at our meeting)

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T-Buds, Tea Lounge & Creperie
Website
647 352-3622 | 647 352-3624
3343 Yonge St., Toronto, M4N 2M4

Afternoon tea at the Shangri-La Toronto

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! I will be posting more frequently in the coming year, I hope. I have yet to post about afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms which happened in June! December just flew by, there was always something to do. I look at my January calendar and it’s quite empty – not that I’m complaining.

On January 1st, a friend and I went to the Shangri-La Toronto. It was my other friend’s birthday the other day and I had intended to take her out to get our hair done. She was feeling under the weather so I went to Blo blow dry bar alone (will post about it later). Anyway, upon entering the lobby, I had witnessed people having afternoon tea so I decided that I needed to try it!

Before I proceed, I just wanted to clarify the difference between afternoon tea & high tea. The two terms are used interchangeably but they really shouldn’t be!! Afternoon tea or low tea is more of a snack from 3-5PM (I do go earlier than that as more of a late lunch type of thing) but high tea is more of a light dinner between 5-7PM. There’s always a hot dish that is served with it as opposed to just finger sandwiches, scones and petit fours. Anyway, a lot of places that offer tea are usually offering afternoon tea not high tea. From the looks of it, the only place in Toronto that offers high tea is MoRoCo Chocolat. Many places offer different types of afternoon tea – of course – that range from basically just tea, or tea with scones, or a full afternoon tea. Even then, there’s afternoon tea that comes with champagne or other extras but at the end of the day, it’s not to be referred to as high tea. Thank you.

The lobby lounge at the Shangri-La was quite beautiful. Probably one of the better lobbies I’ve seen. There was a fish pond and a bird cage by the door with real fish & a bird. (I can’t personally vouch for this as I did not see the bird nor the fishes but my friend said he did see a bird in the cage)


For afternoon tea, you have a menu of tea to choose from which is a separate cost to the tier of finger sandwiches, scones & petit fours. The tea ranges from $15 – $80 a pot. $80 for tea alone. I opted for the Snow Maple (white tea), while my friend got the Dark Assam black tea for the discerning palate. (If you ask me, that just about describes him)


I was a bit surprised at the order of the tier. Usually it’s dessert, scones, then finger sandwiches at the bottom. This one came as scones, sandwiches then dessert. We quickly switched it around to sandwiches, scones, then dessert which actually makes the most sense, if you ask me.

For the sandwiches, we had egg, cucumber and ham. I did not try the ham sandwich so I can’t really say but the other two were good. Nothing particularly spectacular about them.

The scones were good as well. After going to afternoon tea several times, one learns not to a) eat more than one scone (which wasn’t a problem here since there was the only one scone), or not to eat the whole thing.

Which was a good idea since there was a bunch of desserts to choose from! This is the first time I’ve eaten them all, minus the chocolate mousse. I cannot give you the actual names of the dessert but they were pretty much mini banana bread, carrot cake, blueberry muffin, and pumpkin pie! We were waiting for quite sometime for the server to come around to tell us what they were – so while waiting, we just guessed. The pumpkin pie was actually really good, and I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie! The carrot cake was missing nuts and there was something different about the icing. My friend would say, it was missing that “Christmas-y” feel. It was ok. The blueberry “muffin” was also quite good, crunchy but soft. And finally the banana bread was also good.

The reason why I like afternoon tea is the whole experience. Food can be great, and the atmosphere/venue could also be great but if the servers are inattentive or if they’re not knowledgeable in what they’re serving then it detracts from the whole afternoon tea package.

I need to revisit the Park Hyatt, Four Seasons, and Fairmont Royal York to get better pictures!

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Hotel information below:

Shangri-La Toronto
188 University Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, M5H 0A3, Canada
647-788-8888
Website