Sunday, December 11

Tea for Two

One brisk Saturday afternoon landed my friend Reba and me at the lovely Sofitel Hotel near Chicago's Magnificent Mile. We had arrived at the French hotel's restaurant, Cafe des Architectes for their new afternoon tea offering.

After being seated in a separate dining room for afternoon tea, our extremely French waiter delivered a box of eight varieties of Harney & Sons tea to choose from. After sniffing each one, I decided on a black darjeeling, while Reba went with the Paris blend, another dark tea.

Selection of Harney & Sons Teas
In addition to receiving your own pot of selected tea, the cafe's tea service includes a selection of eight different homemade French pastries and savory sandwich bites crafted by chef Greg Biggers and pastry chef Patrick Fahy.

While waiting for your tea to brew, you can keep your eye on the handy tea timer on your table which ensures your tea is brewed to your liking!

Tea timer and sugar selections
Prior to receiving our sweet and savory platter, we were also given a few shortbread cookies to tease our appetites! One cookie was a lemon shortbread and the other a butter sage.

Lemon & Sage Shortbread Cookies
Finally, our tea bites arrived on what looked resembled a wooden sled. Moving from savory to sweet (left to right in the below photo) we had a cucumber and kalamata olive tea sandwich, prosciutto sandwich, smoked salmon and caviar atop puff pastry, a pistachio and cherry tart, vanilla tart, violet ganache macaron, and a passion fruit eclair. The smoked salmon and macaron were my favorites as well as the vanilla dome tart. These little bites filled us up very quickly!

Selection of sweet & savory bites
Overall, our experience was an elegant, and of course delicious, one. The French pastries were delicate and full of interesting flavors and the presentation really set the afternoon tea service at Cafe des Architectes apart from others I have experienced. You are event sent home with an additional wrapped pastry (ours was a cranberry turnover of sorts) tucked away in a cute Sofitel Hotel box, and for that I give them 4 stars!

Afternoon tea service is only available on Saturdays from 2-5pm throughout the winter. Be sure to make a reservation in advance to secure a spot at what is sure to be a popular event. For more information on afternoon tea service check out their website.

Cafe des Architectes
(Situated inside the Sofitel Chicago)
 20 East Chestnut Street
Chicago, IL 60611 

(312) 324-4063
Cafe Des Architectes on Urbanspoon

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