There’s nothing like taking time in the middle of your day to push pause and have tea. Done thoughtfully, it’s like a reset button that gets the mind ready for the rest of the day.
This is the realization I came to when I recently took part in a tea service at Alice Blue, 250 W. 19th St. It involves much more than simply steeping tea, including delicious snacks, and I appreciated how peaceful it was to take that time to sip tea.
What I loved more than anything is that it was the perfect setting to catch up with someone. Lunch and dinner meetings tend to be quicker and there’s more time with food stuffed in my mouth.
I was joined at the tea service by my sister-in-law, who has young children, including an infant. I see her at least twice a week, yet that time at tea allowed us to have a much more in-depth conversation than when we had lunch together.
Aside from good conversation, the experience of the tea service was all around a fun time.
We each chose one of six teas, all of which are curated from Tea Sip, 321 W. 19th St. The server gave us insight into each tea selection and even played along when my sister-in-law jokingly asked him to tell us “snobby” facts about the teas. The server explained how the spiced peaches blend was made with peaches that were dried on the trees in South America.
He said this so seriously that I wanted to believe him before I realized how ridiculous it sounded. Point is, I think it’s great when servers aren’t afraid to be humorous.
I ended up choosing the spiced peaches blended black tea, which was described as a southern classic with hints of ginger, cinnamon, clove and allspice. My sister-in-law chose the chai masala blended black tea, which featured cinnamon, ginger, aromatic clove and cardamom.
A cute little glass bottle of honey was set on the table along with glasses of creamer. I usually drink tea with nothing added, but decided to pour some honey in with a splash of creamer. The honey gave it a sweet tinge, while the creamer gave it a milky layer that didn’t dilute the peach.
The various tea snacks were small, but with so many, I was glad that I arrived hungry.
The snacks included tomato butter sandwiches, shrimp sandwiches, beef and horseradish sandwiches, chicken salad, deviled eggs, assorted breads with butter, French onion dip and a type of lemon jelly. The dessert portion included blueberry muffins, lemon madeleines and chocolate cake, all sprinkled with powdered sugar.
My favorite options were the beef and horseradish sandwich and the chocolate cake.
The atmosphere inside Alice Blue also made the time taking tea a comfortable one. It’s not exactly high tea, but it’s a nice introduction to having a specific time set aside to enjoy the popular drink.
Tea service at Alice Blue is available only on weekdays from 2–5 p.m., and you must make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance.