Monday, October 27, 2008

Dry Your Tears, Tea And Sympathy Is Here

After attending the gorgeous (and I might add, the fun and delicious) wedding of Rob and the beautiful Lisa in Toronto this weekend, I have come back feeling rather cosmopolitan.  Both of the newlyweds' families have quite recent roots in Europe, so the vast majority of the wedding guests seemed to be from across the Atlantic.  From the Austrian contingent who got up to sing Edelweiss to the happy couple, to the Welsh woman from Cardiff who complimented me on my "lovely frock" in the ladies' room, I felt like I was on some grand European tour.

And the most exotic aspect of the whole weekend?  Real porcelain teacups and saucers at the brunch hosted by Lisa's parents the following day.  That is about as non-American/non-Canadian as you can get.  As I was standing by the disassembled wedding cake daintily stirring my sugar cube into my tea, it occurred to me that although I have a cup of PG Tips every single morning, the only time I drink it out of anything other than a giant mug is when I treat myself to a pot of tea and some victuals at Tea and Sympathy in the West Village.

Now I realize that this tiny haven for all things British has been written up in virtually every publication, both here in the United States and in Britain, so by mentioning it here I am not introducing anyone to New York's best kept secret.  They even have a cookbook for god's sake (it is by the way totally charming and reads like a memoir, you simply must go and get it out of the library).  But for those who have never made it down, or who haven't made it down in quite some time, I implore you to make the trip.

First of all, the name does not lie.  Yes they serve tea, and if you are in need of sympathy, whether or not you receive it directly, you leave feeling ten times better than when you walked in.  Years ago when Zenia and I first moved to New York, this was our go-to spot for the mornings after those nights that left us feeling shattered (either emotionally or physically...or often both).  

Something about the miniature size of the shop, the lovely young ex-pat waitresses, the tough-with-a-heart-of-gold owner, or perhaps the common sense but delicious food (the shepherd's pie will impress even the most avid connoisseur of this type of cuisine...ahem, Rob), always makes you feel like someone is taking care of you. 

Now that things have settled down a bit and my life is somewhat less traumatic, I suppose I go here less, but I still do occasionally rely on a pot of Rosie Lee and their famous scones with clotted cream to remind me that I have more love and affection in my life than really is fair.   

The scones are light, the cream is heavy (but delicious, for the love of god do not skimp on this heavenly creation), and I swear the jam is the best that I've had anywhere.  It's like your old British grandmother has just sat you down by a roaring fire in her cottage with a warm blanket and a devoted old dog at your feet.  Pure comfort and bliss.

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