Afternoon tea–a thing of the past?

May 24, 2009

There’s nothing more civilized than the British custom of afternoon tea. I love the ritual of it: the tea pot. The tiny, crustless sandwiches. Petite pastries. Clotted cream.

Last week FLH and I sat for a while in the old St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, now a Westin. Until a few years ago, it had a wonderful lounge and tea room called the Compass Rose. I loved the huge oriental kimonos on the walls and the anachronistic feeling of sitting at a table in an elegant, old setting, drinking tea with my girlfriends.

Was this the way our mothers’ generation felt in the 1940s when they dressed to the nines in suits with shoulder pads and nipped in waists, hats and clunky heals, with perfect makeup and hair?

Today, the Compass Rose is gone, replaced by a generic, ultra-modern, hip restaurant. And with it went the character of the St. Francis.

About a year ago I gave a tea for a girlfriend who was getting married. That tea house has now closed.

I’m sad to see the ritual of afternoon tea disappear. I like the thought of taking dressed-up little girls to tea in one of the last purely femine activities left.

And now, even that’s going away, it seems.

One comment on “Afternoon tea–a thing of the past?
  1. Alan says:

    Afternoon teas aren’t dead, they are just a little harder to find. A short time back, the hubby and I went to a local tea shop here in Fremont.

    There are others in the area you may want to check out.

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