Friday, May 13, 2011

Alice's Teacup

I actively try to avoid any restaurants/cafés/dessert venues that have overly-pink décors, sickly-romantic themes, or that seem to be designed for couples consisting of girlie-girl females (who dream in pastel colors, began planning their wedding days at the ripe old age of 5, and dot their i's with hearts) and their whipped boyfriends. So when my friend Nicole suggested a group lunch at a place called Alice's Teacup in the upper east side, I cringed inside. At the time I had no idea what this place was. Hearing the words "Alice" and "Teacup" in the same name were enough to make me assume the worst. Each one alone = not so bad. Put them together, and it sounds like the makings of a fluffy pink disaster. It ends up that Alice's Teacup is a pretty famous restaurant (apparently it's frequented by Tom Cruise and wife Holmes, but don't let that put you off) that -you may have guessed by the name- has an Alice in Wonderland theme for it's interior and a menu which consists of all the items you would expect to be offered at high tea. This includes a huge variety of teas, scones, cookies, cakes, and a decent selection of small sandwiches.

The menu offers a package called The Mad Hatter which feeds two people and consists of 3 types of scones (you get to choose which 3), two pots of tea (also flavors of your choice), two types of sandwiches, and a dessert that comes with cookies: a deal that my friend Daniella and I couldn't pass up.

We chose the chocolate chai and regular afternoon teas, the curried chicken and smoked salmon sandwiches:

the pumpkin scone, chocolate chip strawberry scone, and cheddar bacon scone:

For dessert we had the mocha chocolate chip cake with various cookies (most of which also had chocolate chips):

The salmon sandwich was underwhelming and was merely a slice of smoked salmon served on top of half a slice of bread. The curried chicken salad sandwich was yummy - it had yellow curry with a hint of sweet, but my absolute favorite was the pumpkin scone. Because of the pumpkin it was much more moist than most scones I've had - with a texture more similar to cake, and was still nice and warm when served to us. The cheddar and bacon scone had a texture more similar to a biscuit, but since almost everything else we ate was sweet, it was nice to have something else savory.

By the time we got to the chocolate chip strawberry scone, I was getting pretty full and skipped it in favor of the dessert. Sadly, it was a bit of a disappointment. The mocha chocolate chip cake was too sweet - with the problem being the frosting rather than the cake itself. In fact, the pastry chef was not satisfied with just putting mocha frosting on this cake. He went crazy on top of it with squiggly lines of dark chocolate piping. I was in desperate need of some cold milk but instead all I had was my chocolate chai tea (which did not taste of chocolate at all. The menu tells you that: "with honey and milk, this tea is sheer bliss." I beg to differ, but probably because I made the mistake of overdoing it with the honey).

Overall it was a pretty good lunch, and my friends seemed pretty pleased by both the food and the atmosphere but I also felt that in the end everything combined was a little bit toooooo sweet, even for me. We were so sugar-buzzed afterwards that we ended up going to Central Park to do some rowing. I realized then that I might have missed my calling in life. I think I could have made a great crew coxswain.

Overall rating: 6/10

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