November 17, 2009

Holiday Tea at The St. Regis Atlanta

On Saturday my mom and I enjoyed Holiday Tea at The St. Regis Atlanta.

The über-luxurious St. Regis Atlanta impresses with its elegant space, gorgeous design, relaxing color scheme in soft ocean hues and cream, and attentive yet confidently-relaxed service. (At one point during the quick tour that I gave her, my mom suggested that if you had a cocktail at the bar you'd feel like you had gone on vacation.)

For Holiday Tea we were seated in the Long Gallery overlooking a lit fireplace, some landscape oil paintings and the impressive lobby chandelier. Our friendly server delivered two flutes of champagne while we reviewed the menu and felt utterly fabulous.

The selection of 11 teas is organized into categories: black, green, oolong, white, herbal infusions and fruit tisane. I opted for the organic vanilla rooibos; Mom chose pear tree green. Both bested any tea I've previously sipped.

Accompanying the tea was a three-tiered assortment of savory and sweet treats:
The top tier's sweet potato biscuits and cranberry scones were flaky and delicious on their own, but even better smeared with rose petal and currant jelly or raspberry preserves. (Honey and orange marmalade were also available.)

The tea sandwiches included: goat cheese, olive tapenade and sundried tomato; mini pancetta and leek quiche; roast beef, truffle five pepper mayo, arugula on sour dough; duck prosciutto with fig jam and blue cheese crumbles on brioche; smoked salmon, caper and dill cream cheese on pumpernickel.

Desserts included: white chocolate coconut snowmen; snowflake shortbread window cookies with raspberry jam; spiced cookies; double chocolate sea salt cookies; gingerbread men; dark chocolate mint cupcakes; and vanilla panna cotta with peppermint gelée: Every bite on each tier was tasty, but highlights included the duck prosciutto tea sandwich and double chocolate sea salt cookies. The vanilla panna cotta with peppermint gelée was the sole disappointment in that it wasn't superb just ho-hum (although when Santa arrives for weekend teas on December 4, he'll likely muster a ho-ho-ho).

Holiday Tea at The St. Regis Atlanta is satisfying fun. My only suggestion for improvement is that in future years the November and December teas differ from one another. There's no need to lump Thanksgiving and Christmas into one massive holiday—especially since some folks/potential customers don't celebrate Christmas! Fall boasts such wonderful flavors that the November holiday tea might offer treats showcasing pumpkin, pomegranate, spice, pear, apple and other fall flavors while the December holiday tea could continue to feature peppermint, chocolate and wintery bites. Such an approach would encourage repeat visits, rather than fostering a "been there, done that" attitude. That said, it's still worth enjoying Holiday Tea at least once this year.

Bottom line: An elegant holiday treat that's value-priced for what's sure to be a valued memory.

The Holiday Tea at The St. Regis Atlanta is offered daily through December 30, 2009 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with two seatings. On Friday, Saturdays and Sundays beginning December 4 enjoy Tea with Santa. The cost is $38 per person or $42 per person with a glass of champagne. Tea with Santa will be $22 per person. Reservations recommended: 404-563-7910.

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