Before we could enter the Tea Room, one of the two teenagers in our foursome took us on a detour. Teen No. 1 lured her friend under a canopy and declared that this exact spot was where Brennan proposed to Booth, to which Teen No. 2 screeched in delight and all were giddy (as witnessed in the photos below).
Note: “Dr. Temperance Brennan” and “Seeley Booth” are the lead characters in Fox’s popular Bones television series.
Finally, as order was restored we proceeded to the Tea Room. We chose to sit in the back room, which—though right off the kitchen and not possessing the same charm and ambience as the front room—has a lovely view and is marvelously quieter. Also, to the amazement of Teen 1, signified by widened eyes and dropped open mouth, none other than “Daisy” from Bones was sitting at the next table, partaking in the very same said High Tea. Once order was again (somewhat) restored, our tea truly commenced (though with a dose of frenetic energy). We drank pots of blackberry and rose petal tea while testing, tasting, and refilling our plates for a good hour and change.
Some of us declared the rose petal tea a favorite while others could hardly swallow it. The blackberry tea was only mildly fruity, which we enjoyed, followed by a hefty black tea punch. For those at the table who were not used to excessive caffeine (like some in our party), slightly manic high-spirits led to hands over mouths to hold in raucous laughter. Added to the lingering amount of frenetic energy as a result of the proximity of “Daisy,” and we elders considered ourselves lucky that no heads turned in our direction. A true English blue blood may have shivered and been appalled, but at our table, fun was had by all.
After repeated trips to the buffet for more cucumber mint, carrot ginger, chicken tarragon sandwiches, and our favorite, the smoked salmon and cream cheese on marble bread with a thin slice of cucumber, we progressed to dessert. We sampled delicious short bread cookies, a bland fruit tartlet, a too-sweet and not tart-enough lemon bar, pecan bars, brownies, and scrumptious and thick sweet cream with fresh strawberries. Actually, “sampled” is too delicate of a word to describe our actions; we consumed. With closed mouths and napkins dabbing—mais bien sûr—but, we must confess, we were voracious.
Then Ms. Carla Gallo (“Daisy”) made her move and our two teens were suddenly unsure how to conduct themselves. We elders provided our sound and mature advice, only later hearing that a “proper” level of decorum was impossible to achieve considering the circumstances. Thankfully, and wonderfully, Ms. Gallo welcomed their overtures, embraced our giddy girls, and kindly posed…
Once overlapping and animated descriptions of said 60-second incident were repeated several times and successfully acknowledged and appreciated by the elders, we finally proceeded to the Chinese Gardens. We didn’t have many moments to dawdle as closing time was fast approaching, but the afternoon light was dramatic, the sky blue, the clouds in puffs, and the setting, details, views, and craftsmanship of all that we saw were the consummation of a very nearly perfect afternoon.