Our 20th Spot:
Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont
950 Mason Street San Francisco, CA 94108
[FYI- most of my photos for this post, will be smartphone photos from me or my girlfriend. The lighting in there wasn’t favorable for my DSLR setting, and I wasn’t in the mood to fiddle with it. I wanted to eat!]
Making reservations here was painless, and ordering was easy-breezy! They have a set menu for one level of tea service, so all you really have to think about is your tea selection. We love it when tea houses make it stress-free for us!
There were 4 of us at today’s tea party (the same 4 that attended the Spot in Hayward). We were excited at the chance of a re-do, since the last place we were all together at was NOT a good experience. We decided to order different teas for each of us, so we can sample 4 from their offerings. And yay, I tried all of em!
Jasmine Butterfly #1 (green tea with floral) – My choice. I had this amazing jasmine green from a hole-in-the-wall dumpling house, and have been trying to find it’s twin. So of course, this tea appealed to me. At first pour, it’s as if the aroma filled the entire restaurant!? It was verrrry fragrant…to say the least. Although it smelled wonderful, I admit I got terrified as I (and my allergies) am ultra sensitive to scents. I thought I was gonna hate it, but it was sooo good! The floral bouquet wasn’t heavily translated in the tea itself. However, the longer it steeped, the stronger it became.
Kyoto Cherry Rose (green tea, cherry, rose) – This was my 2nd choice, so I was very happy that my girlfriend decided to try this one. My favorite at the table! It smelled like a gift shop candle. A light tea, but so flavorful! It carried an equal amount of rose + cherry, and the aftertaste was remarkable. Not only that, but it was a GORGEOUS looking tea!! Here’s a shot of it with some cream…
Willow Stream Spa Blend – My SIL was deciding between this one + another, and I encouraged her to choose this as she is a CMT! Hehe. Good thing she did, because it was lovely. At first sniff + sip, I’d say it was a red. Since the menu doesn’t quite specify what kind of flavors to expect but says that it’s “unique” and “decaffeinated”- I believe it is, as rooibos is the only really caffeine free tea. It smelled citrusy and creamy. Wasn’t sure how else to describe this one (which is maybe why the menu doesn’t say much about it!?), but it was a good tea.
Egyptian Chamomile (apple-like + soothing aroma) – When I think of chamomile, I think of flat tea and rest. So, it’s not necessarily something I look for on tea house menus. However, my girlfriend said she was on a chamomile-kick, and I’m so glad she was because this one is a must-try! NOT your everyday chamomile. It had so much depth to it, and was very comforting. I was pleased to have tried it.
The tiers pack so much food on such petite presentation! However, it didn’t look cluttered. Each piece was small, but had diverse ingredients. I took my photos quickly, so I could dive in!
English Cucumber, Local Chevre, Lychee, Raspberries, Taro bread – Quite a mouthful of goat cheese! The lychee is weird but fun. The taro bread was delicious!! You know I love me a crunchy cucumber. The raspberry I thought, was unnecessary.
Deviled Egg Salad, Watermelon Radish, Pickled Cucumber, White Bread – I thought there was nothing fantastic about the egg sandwich. But I think THAT’S what was profound about it. It wasn’t an egg sandwich with bells + whistles…it was just an egg sandwich. BUT- a really good, done well, egg sandwich. And that white bread was ridiculously perfect.
Smoked Salmon Pinwheel, Caper Boursin Cheese, Shaved Coconut, Pumpernickel – Salmon and coconut, really?? These flavors complimented each other so well, though! Nice saltiness. Coulda had more.
Dungeness Crab & Mango Salad, Chives, San Francisco Sourdough – That craaaaab was sooooo good. It was so juicy and lemony and chewy, and there was so much of it!! They did this one so right. I’d come back for that crab alone.
Chicken & Black Bean Salad, Spiced Plum Coulis, Micro Greens, Green Tea & Red Bean Bread – That chicken was so smooth! The complexity of those flavors together definitely resembled something from an Asian Deli, which is not a bad thing. The mixture tasted like it had a bit of curry in it, always a winner. Oh that bread! Green tea & red bean anything = yes!
We were offered 2 types of scones today: Aged Cheddar & Chive and Cinnamon & Raisin. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll already know I can’t have certain dairy. Uuuusually when I hear “cheddar”, I steer clear away. BUT- I love me some chive. Sooo, I had to taste that one. And of course, hearing my girls rave about them just made me want to have some even more. No one wants FOMO! (fear of missing out) These scones were so fluffy inside!! Very unique texture than what I’m used to, and I liked it! My girlfriend said, “They said ‘cheddar and chive’, but all I taste was delicious!” The cinnamon & raisin didn’t have strong flavors at all. And, I enjoyed them that way. They used golden rasisins, which just made them look prettier. What do they say- half of how you eat is with your eyes!? (thumbs up) I almost forgot to mention, they offer a Spiced Pear Compote as opposed to strawberry preserves. Waaay different, but okay. I’m always down to try new things! All I got to say is “TRY IT.”
The desserts for today were Peach Panna Cotta, Apple Date Fruitcake, Vanilla & Chocolate French Macarons, Caramel Coconut Banana Tart, and a Passion Fruit Merengue Tart. To tell you the truth, I barely had a bite of each I was so stuffed!! I went for the panna cotta first, becaaaause that’s my all-time favorite dessert! I know my panna cottas, and…that one was just okay for me. I thought it was much to melty or runny. The other desserts weren’t bad at all. Maybe I’ll leave that as an element of surprise for yall!? 😉
All-in-all, it was a wonderful visit. The hotel alone is a classic building to step foot into. I didn’t include photos from inside, as I’d want you to see for yourselves. I wouldn’t do it justice in trying to explain the luxuriousness of it, and plus, my camera didn’t like me that day (remember?). The staff was pleasant. They got their job done, and with smiles on their faces. But, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Which, I didn’t necessarily expect from this place. In your family-owned tea houses, we get so much love! In these big-o hotels, to them- it’s business. HOWEVER, that wont stop me from coming back!! I want to do it again already tomorrow!
Thank you my followers, for continuing to read about our journey. I see your daily hits by the hundreds, and can’t express enough how much it means to me/us that you appreciate what we’re doing. To think- it started with a story almost 2 years ago…and now we’re a full-fledged business with a TEA LINE!!?! Whaaaa?? I know you’ve taken a look at our teas right?! What, not yet?! www.parTEAwithme.com You’re welcome!! It started with you all, and we’ll continue to share what we can. 🙂