Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Haute Tea" at Cafe Chloe

Tea at Cafe Chloe 004

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.
Tea at Cafe Chloe 012

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.
Tea at Cafe Chloe 005

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.
Tea at Cafe Chloe 007

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.

Cafe Chloe
9th and G Streets
(619) 232-3242
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.


  1. That looks just lovely. I really love a strong cup of tea in the afternoon, particularly on the weekend or on a trip. Very fortifying. I wouldn't be very british if I didnt would I! We always like to say that there isnt much that cant be fixed by a good cup of tea, and whenever I go home I have about 8 cups a day as I'm off visiting.

    That all looks positively divine, I need to think of an excuse to go there in the afternoon now!

  2. I know what I'm doing for my birthday this year. : ) Great post! I didn't even KNOW they had had afternoon tea!

  3. I think you both will love it. Honestly, it was the best afternoon tea service I've ever experienced, and I've been to quite a few of those hotel teas. We're already talking about going back for my birthday in a couple of months.

  4. Alice,
    So I have tea my gal-pals quite often (at fancy hotels in LA i.e. the Penninsula etc...) but never, ever have I seen a service like this. I would actually enjoy it. Please let me know if want to go again as I am game!

    Jen (jturtle)

  5. Is it champagne or italian sparkling wine?
    This looks fun though either way =) Fries look super good!

  6. You're right - Prosecco is quite distinct from Champagne - I changed that last erroneous reference. It has less alcohol and is a little lighter and more fruity, generally speaking. It's also the sparkling wine that bellinis are made from.

  7. Jen! So sorry, I missed your comment earlier. Yes, a meet up at Cafe Chloe sometime would be lovely! Let's talk more about it.

  8. Looks fabulous - and, yes, people do drink tea with it! But they also take much more time with it than you'd think, as well, plus it's cold over here! You need the warmth!

    Lovely. Always enjoy your pictures!

  9. Wow, what a spread! I've never been to an afternoon tea service but it sounds like a life I could get used to ;-)

  10. Thanks for the sharing the nice pics of tea time At Cafe Chloe. Like many, I've been wanting to try it for awhile too! I've been to Savory and Hotel Del Coronado (it seems like they moved this one to the Westgate). I think there was at Shakesphere's Pub and somewhere in Old Town. Do you know of any others that you might recommend?

  11. davimack - thank you! I guess if it were cold, it would have been a different story!

    Nicole - yes, it is nice for a little change of pace. Drinking in the afternoon always feels luxurious to me!

    Jenn - I think you hit all the ones I know about in your post. I have always thought that the Little Italy Extraordinary Desserts should offer a tea service, but thus far they don't. It's still a good place for that sort of thing, they have some similar savory items and sweets - though not in the small sizes that we had at Cafe Chloe.