Our 12th Spot:
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz
600 Stockton Street San Francisco, CA 94108
I didn’t get a pic of the building, ’cause it was huge and we were right next to it… But I did however, take a shot of the spectacular view!
[Taken with a Canon DSLR, not filtered. Pretty proud of myself, actually!]
I didn’t take many photos during this visit (Sorry!!), as I was taking it all in. It was all just so regal + fancy and our server showed us a wonderful time, I was really living in the moment! This trip also just included me and my 2 sister-in-laws, so it was intimate + special. Take a look at our surroundings…
Our table was small + cozy. I thought the chairs resembled something you would see in the Despicable Me movies! We had a good laugh about that. The table was small and although our chairs reached ergonomically, I still felt a little hunched over while I was having my meal. It came equipped with sealed personal serving jars of honey + strawberry preserves (I loooove personal servings of stuff!!), and a neat half lemon wrapped in cheesecloth (thought that was so cool). The hostess was especially welcoming. She was patient + understanding with me picture needs! Hehe. She offered to place your napkin on your lap, and asked if we wanted flat, Evian, or sparkling water. (We chose sparkling, then later found out we were charged $3.00 each for it!? Ha!)
Ordering was easy. There were a selection of a dozen teas on one side of the menu, then a description of the tea sandwiches + pastries and for tea service options on the other side. Be prepared for the investment, because this is a luxury afternoon tea. All 3 of us ordered their Traditional Tea, which came with an assortment of tea sandwiches and pastries.
Being that there weren’t that many teas to choose from, my decision at this spot wasn’t hard. I went with what I love, and chose the Vanilla Bean black tea. Menu says ‘A full bodied black tea infused with the rich and smooth flavor of the vanilla bean.’ Once again, I chose right!! Ughhh, at first pour (which they do for you) I already knew I loved it. It resembled the same black vanilla tea I fell in love with at a previous tour spot, and nostalgia just came throughout me! I was very happy. As a matter of fact, I loved mine so much I didn’t taste the others… (Sorry again!!) I did have a sniff, and asked my sisters for their thoughts. I can tell you this- each of the teas we ordered were extremely rich + high quality. What was nice was when I asked what teas our server liked, he offered for us to try his favorites next. Next!? We asked if we could switch out flavors during our meal, and he replied “You’re here to have tea, and I will make sure you get as much tea as you want!” (LOVED HIM, btw. I’ll tell you more in a minute…) My SIL that always orders something chocolate ordered their Chocolat tea [‘A tea blended exclusively for chocolate lovers. This tea is a black tea blend with cocoa nibs.’] She says “The Chocolat tea was undeniably chocolate, from the aroma to the very first sip. I always like to add milk and sweeten my tea before I drink it, but it was pleasantly sweet by itself.” (I asked if I could quote her, so she wouldn’t sue me for plagiarism!!) Her next tea selection was the Imperial Green tea [‘Exceptional Dragonwell possesses a mild taste and pale celadon liquor notes.’] She says “The Imperial Green tea had a bold and earthy flavor. It was the perfect compliment to delectable desserts we enjoyed after our “savored” savories.” My other SIL (who says she’d like to be known as ‘the English Breakfast girl’) ordered their English Breakfast [‘Blended true to the origin of “English Breakfast”, our connoisseur-grade is mostly Keemun with just a hint of Ceylon to sweeten.’] She says it was very comforting to her + smooth as she sipped it. She ordered the Eros tea next [‘In this sensory delight, sweet Mandarin orange and warm vanilla embrace medium bodied Ceylon tea leaves.] She loved that one too. I appreciated that the teapots were small enough to keep hot + not be wasteful if/when you wanted to try another flavor. The wait staff was very courteous and would come around and fill your teacup when they saw that it was low.
Ahh, the food. Interesting flavors and lots of fun. I think the table favorite was the Cucumber Melon + Mint tea sandwich. It was more than just refreshing, it really offered a well complimented flavor in your mouth. There was one with cheese in a tart topped with fig. That one was good also, but I felt the tart lacked seasoning. There was a puff pastry that was filled with what we thought was some sort of pesto cream. (Sorry guys, our server did give us details to each, but I didn’t remember all of them and I thought they were all written out on the menu but didn’t seem to match…) The pesto one was good, but I couldn’t have much of it (allergic to pesto) so I had a bite or 2 to tell you my thoughts. ( I know!? I out my health on the line for yall!! That’s dedicated! Hehe.) One had green beans, a cucumber + SQUASH CUSTARD on top of brioche. That custard tasted like blended Chinese food made into a flan!? (I’m making the sour face right now just thinking about it.) The last one you have to taste to understand. It was like a Mediterranean hummus on a cheese crisp with a green olive and crunchy garbanzo beans. I didn’t think the tea sandwiches was worth what we paid for, but I’m still glad I got to experience it. The website did mention things like lobster mousse + caviar, so that’s the kind of cuisine we were expecting. Of course, I’m sure the menu changes. But, I don’t think they should have such specific foods listed if they’re not going to serve those.
The pastries were a better experience for me. I started with their Cherry Scone. Cute + small! But they give 2 person, so that was nice. They were very crumbly + crispy. I’m not a big fan of cherry-flavored things, but these didn’t have an overwhelming cherry taste. My other SIL brought out that she liked the occasional bite of tart cherry. I think the scones were my favorite part of the meal. There was cream + lemon curd that was one the table upon being seated, but no utensils for them. I don’t know if they were forgotten, or purposely like that. It was a good thing we were family, and neither of us minded putting our own knives in them each time we wanted some. My next favorites were the Chocolate Cream Puff and the Strawberry Tart. Decadent flavors, but not too sweet. Luscious, for sure! They also had a Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake, Brown Sugar Shortbread, and Almond Financier (small French cake). I only took a bite each of those, so I can make my mentions of them. Good, but forgettable. My SIL loved the lemon blueberry, and my other SIL did really like the almond cake. They also didn’t appreciate that we weren’t brought a clean plate for our sweets.
We didn’t think we’d be so full!? There was a harpist. You think harpist, you think- eh. But this one was great!! She played music that you knew!! We’d get to reminiscing when we heard which songs, it was great! I also found out whay they had the chairs they did. They were PERFECT for lounging in after your meal!!?! I was sooo comfortable!
The service…oh, the service. I specifically leave out names in my blogs, for various reasons. But this time, I have to tell you: RAMESH was above accommodating. I loved his service so much, I teased that he was my new boyfriend!! (Yes, I’m happily married and no, this is in no disrespect to my husband. My husband actually thought that was funny!) He thoroughly took care of us…and some! We were definitely shown a good time at this Spot. When we couldn’t finish our sweets, he came back with to-go boxes filled with new pastries- 1 for each of us!!?! And because I loved those personal serving condiments, I kindly asked if he could give me one to take home. He came back with 3 of them for me + my sisters and said he didn’t want us to fight! Loved that guy.
I’m glad I saved this place for our last Spot on the 1st Leg of our California Tea House Tour! It was the perfect ending!