Wednesday, February 06, 2008
First off, I have a question.
Does anyone actually drink tea at afternoon tea? When there's lovely, sparkly, prosecco to be had?
Not me, that's for sure. Tea is ok with cookies - but when you're offered rich, delicious food - a glass of bubbly is not only the more indulgent option, it's the most appropriate accompaniment. Or at least that's my justification.
I'd been been wanting to try Cafe Chloe's afternoon tea service for a long time - since I spied the silver trays heaped with treats on a visit about a year ago. Advance reservations are required, so we couldn't do it that day, but Susan and I vowed to return. Her birthday late last month provided the perfect opportunity.
The first tray we were presented was the savory spread - pictured above - with mini tureens of tomato soup, a luscious, buttery blue cheese tart, open faced prosciutto sandwiches with roasted-but-still-juicy-tomatoes and butter lettuce, open faced baby ham and melted cheese sandwiches, and last but not least - the obligatory cucumber and watercress. Everything was delicious, and the soup was an especially nice touch -I'd never seen that before. As we were finishing that up, we flagged down our server and asked for an order of their frites - Susan's favorite - and a second glass of prosecco.
The frites at Cafe Chloe are super skinny, served in one of those tall, paper lined silver cones with three dipping sauces, a harissa ketchup, saffron aioli and watercress aioli. They're also tossed with some fried shallots - a nice touch that brings in a little of that "onion ring" flavor. An order of these and a glass of sparkling wine is my favorite way to begin a meal here.
The savories and frites were followed by the sweets - pictured above. There were two scones with cranberries and walnuts, small pots of chocolate pot de creme topped with whipped cream and brandied cherries, mini apple galettes, shortbread cookies - and get this - two tiny dishes of ice cream. Strawberry ice cream, at tea. I don't know why, but this totally did me in.
I ordered a nice strong cup of coffee to go with all of this. The scones were crisp and buttery, the pot de creme lush and chocolatey, and the ice cream just as delicious as it was adorable. Neither of us could finish, so we packed up Susan's scone and my cookies and galette - and a couple of croissants they were nice enough to give us when we asked for an extra scone (James' favorite breakfast pastry) - and out we toddled, thoroughly sated.
It's a good thing I didn't have to eat much for dinner that night. That would have been a challenge.
9th and G Streets
Tea served daily, 3-5 PM
Call ahead for reservations - 619-232-3242
Tea - $25.00, including one glass of prosecco or a pot of gourmet tea.
Frites and each additional glass of bubbly, around $7.00.