Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Birthday Afternoon Tea at Podunk, New York, NY

Since I last wrote on Podunk in the fall, I have fallen more and more madly in love with this rustic, country American/Scandinavian tea room that is the most perfect respite from city life. I couldn't imagine a better place than the quiet fifth street nestled between the Bowery and 2nd Ave for my favorite city tea room. Every visit I have is a beautiful rest from my regularly hectic life, partnered with glorious tea and delicious sweets and savouries.

And let me mention the wonderful proprietor, Elspeth. What a kindred spirit! Each time I go, we end up talking at length about our passion for tea and culture and life in general. She is so wonderful and kind. A genuinely kind soul, who does what she loves and does it exceptionally well! Not to mention that every single thing she makes is out of this world delicious!

My 20th birthday was this past March 9th and my friend Lulu from Vancouver was in town to celebrate and to enjoy her spring break. I knew I wanted to enjoy afternoon tea at Podunk, so off we went at four o'clock for a spectacular birthday afternoon. Upon walking in, Elspeth emerged behind the counter with a bright and cheery "Hello Ethan!" Any place where the owner knows and remembers my name is a place I will go to again and again. She isn't just the owner, but a friend! We chatted and I introduced Lulu and we settled on my favorite tea set on the menu, the "Old Friends Tea". Seeing as Lulu and I are old friends, it was perfect.

Lulu at Tea

I ordered a rooibos tea which Elspeth gladly infused with vanilla for me. How delicious. As you may know, I am a huge fan of rooibos, and vanilla is a favorite flavor of mine in teas, so it was perfect for me! Lulu ordered a vanilla chai, which she raved about as we sipped and waited for our food, reading the cute children's books on Podunk's shelves and chatting about life.

The presentation is always spectacular at Podunk. My birthday tray was no exception. The sandwiches area always splendid, in my opinion. So delicately cut and beautifully presented, we had a plate of half cucumber, half assorted meat and spreads. Each sandwich was superb. As I mentioned in my initial post on Podunk, I think Podunk does the best cucumber sandwich I have ever had. A dark and light side of bread, delicate rectangles, extremely thin cucumbers and a delicious, light taste! Also, the mini cheddar biscuits that top each sandwich set are to die for! Scrumptious!
Tea Sandwiches!

The scones at Podunk are baked fresh daily, and they are always delicious. Light, crumbly, and fresh, they pair so spectacularly with Elspeth's fresh cream, strawberry preserves and orange marmalade. AND, you get one large scone and one mini scone in each order so you can enjoy your scone course with your tea for just a little bit longer than usual! This I like...very much!

Great Presentation!

The sweets usually have some standards that are always on the tray, such as Elspeth's fantastic chocolate chip cookies and her mini cupcakes with pink royal frosting. Both of these are favorites of mine, so I'm not surprised they are standards. For my birthday tea though, we also received a blackberry purse and sweet cinnamon apple purse, both delicious and light with a fresh flavour. A mixed bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries sits at the center of the tray with almond cookies marking the final small bits of the sweets course.

Delectable Sweets

I can't praise Podunk enough. It's always spectacular, and I am so thrilled I got to spend my 20th taking in this age-old tradition with both an old friend and a new one. Tea brings people together though, so I'm not surprised that smiles line all faces of the lucky people who pass through the doors into this safe haven of peace, tranquility, and tea!

Lovely Teaware

East 5th Street btw Bowery and 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003