Local Food and Seasonal Ingredients

The Plaza Hotel – Palm Court – Midtown East – 768 5th Ave.

By Melissa Limberg

Ever since I was a little girl reading Eloise, I’ve dreamed of The Plaza.  As I grew older I realized it was even cooler because Kevin Bannister stayed there in Home Alone. It would be a while before I knew that it was a symbol of wealth and luxury.  It’s reputation precedes it as a wedding venue, and to have tea at the Plaza would make you a shoo-in for one of the ladies who lunch.

As a friend came into town she had few requests, one of them being high tea.  I happily acquiesced to this request as I adore any and all things Plaza related, and I really wanted to feel like Eloise for a day.  High tea at the Plaza is held in the beautiful Palm Court.  Make no mistake, this is another event in which you’ll need to wear your Sunday best and not skip the lipstick.  Ladies, if you adore pearls you’ll be in good company at The Palm Court. Gentlemen, I’d suggest a collared shirt and if you must wear jeans, be sure they’re crisp.

We had a reservation, but to our immediate dismay we were taken back late.  This was rectified, however, by a bottle of bubbly.  If only all apologies were followed with champagne, the world would be a much happier place.

There are four menu options you can choose from with three priced at $50 and one at $60 – they charge for you to share a tower, so the best option is for each person to have his or her own.  The price jumps to $70 if you want to make it a boozy brunch situation.  They offer my favorite champagne, Veuve Cliquot Rose, so it was an obvious choice to order it.

Naturally, each person is given their own pot of tea as well – there are over 10 teas to choose from.  So even the most particular of tea enthusiasts will be delighted at the selection.  All food towers are given three levels: sandwiches/ savories, scones, and pastries/sweets.  “The Classic” and “The New Yorker” are the two favorite options for a more refined palate, The Classic boasts quail egg salad and Maine lobster with sturgeon caviar for example. Simple eaters and dessert lovers will opt for “The Eloise Tea” complete with grilled cheese, and PB & J just to name two. Finally there is the “Chocolate Tea” which is basically like a sugar rush even to read about offering marshmallows and pineapples to dip in chocolate fondue.  (I fon-didn’t order that one.)

Since I think it’s basically wrong to ever pass up anything featuring lobster and caviar, I had The Classic.  I paired my Classic with the Montebello Apple Spice tea.  As there were four of us, almost each tower was represented at our table save for the Chocolate Tea as none of us really wanted to acquire diabetes that day.  (I joke, I joke!) The finger foods before me were quite deceiving, at first I wondered if it could be enough to fill me – however added together as a whole, I felt stuffed by the end.  I couldn’t even eat all of my sweets – if you ask me, there was too much sweet and not enough savory.  We did a lot of passing around of our aperitifs, and all in all everyone was pleased with her choice.  Even the Eloise Tea was created to perfection despite my immediate judgement at the grilled cheese.

Though one could argue the atmosphere was a bit more rigid than relaxed, I think that’s a bit of a given when you’re making a reservation for tea at the Plaza.  I enjoyed the novelty of the event and it was a good excuse to get dressed up with my girlfriends for an afternoon.  I’ll happily do this again, but I am torn of the cloth that thoroughly enjoys situations like this.  If you’re more of a laid back Bloody Mary and greasy eggs type, you’re not going to find that here… or anywhere in Midtown East, really.

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