Saturday, February 18, 2012

Royal tea time: from the Brown Palace to the White Castle in less than a week

In less than a week's time, I had tea in two regally named establishments: The Brown Palace in Denver and a White Castle in Detroit. Although the menu, ambiance and, final bill were on extreme ends of the dining experience, we were treated royally and had a lot of fun at both establishments.

Last week, my husband, Chris, and I were able to combine business and pleasure with a quick trip to Colorado. Chris had work that brought him to Boulder and it gave us the opportunity to visit with my sister-in-law and her family who live in nearby Denver. Aside from spending time with our nephews, top on my list was a visit to Celestial Seasonings tea tour (future blog) and a stop at The Brown Palace for afternoon tea. After reading about the latter a few year's back in Bruce Richardson's, The Great Tea Rooms of America, it became a fantasy destination for me.

Last week, my sister-in-law made those dreams a reality. On Thursday afternoon, we sat across from each other at an intimately-sized round table in The Brown Palace's impressive eight story atrium lobby while background music played from the grand piano in a corner of the room. Built in 1892, the hotel's rich interior drips with elegance and grandeur. It takes little prodding to relax and assimilate to the environs.

Silver tea pots and a three-tiered tray were soon placed on our table and we were enjoying the ambiance while nibbling on delicious scones and egg-salad sandwiches. We sampled the hotel's signature brew, "Brown Palace Crown Jewel", a rich black tea blend of Assam and Ceylon. I liked it so much, I bought two tins of it from the gift shop to take home to keep the memories steeping a little while longer.

Good times, good tea, good day!

And, although one would find it hard to top such an elegant affair, especially within only a few days, we found a majestic venue in our own backyard upon our return home - and for Valentine's Day, to boot! We paid a visit to a White Castle restaurant complete with wait staff, tablecloths, candlelight and flowers. But, I'll save that story for the next blog.

For more information on the history and location of the Brown Palace, see The Detroit Examiner's recent article featuring this delightful tea room.

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