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Cream Tea at La Tea Da

Location: 2305 Queen East, near Glen Manor Rd. Toronto.

A modest exterior reveals a comforting interior, blue and white tableclothes, white and blue china, a small but well-equipped tea shop located just east of the heart of the Beaches. As its name implies, La Tea Da specializes in tea. The shop sells tea in bulk... but what it really specialized in is variations on cream teas. Their menu includes three major options: a "cream tea" (scone, toppings, tea); an "afternoon tea" (the same, plus finger sandwiches); and a "high tea" (all of the above, plus pastries). Note: the cream tea comes with two scones; the other combinations come with one each.

cwjat, K.C., and J.K. joined me for an afternoon of delightful conversations and tasty treats. Between us, we ordered at least one of each nibble combination. Four fresh finger sandwiches, served on a variety of breads, were soft and tasty. Their numbers included salmon, cucumber-and-cream-cheese, egg salad, and avocado-tomato. Today's scones were flavored with cherry or raspberry. I so slathered mine in clotted cream and jam that, I admit, I neglected to taste my scone on its own; its texture was good though. I was particularly charmed by the garnishing nibbles. Our sandwich selections were divided up by one of the best slices of pickle I've ever had, with a smooth smokey taste, while the scones were ringed in melon balls and juicy fresh pineapple slices, each skewered on toothpicks and ready to eat.

The two of us who opted for the full affair had six different pastries to split between us. Some of them we split quite literally - we split the lemon cake square, the caramel crunch circle, and the chocolate pecan pielet down the middle, leaving us a full chocolate each, and a little chocolate mouse cake all for me.

Service was intelligent and friendly: pots were poured away from the table by our server to avoid drops - not that I had any problem with a drippy tea pot. Then the pre-brewed tea (good for about three or so full cups) was kept on its own tea lamp brazier to keep warm, a thoughtful touch. Citrus teas arrived with reminders not to add milk.

La Tea Da provides a good balance between quality and price. If you want full linens and silver serving ware, go to the city's top hotels and pay $5-10 more for the elegance and frills. If you want good food in pleasant and less formal circumstances, unrushed and nicely presented, La Tea Da would make an excellent choice.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
saffronjan
Jun. 19th, 2005 01:44 am (UTC)
Food musings
As I was looking over the cheeses I picked out for my cheese board, I noticed that most of them are best paired with non-traditional wines (well, wines that have characteristics some connoisseurs look down on, like fruit notes or sweetness).

I grabbed some Stilton, well-known to you, which goes really well with strong sweet flavors. I might make up some pear gratin, I'm not sure, but I'll be offering honey to drizzle over the cheese for interested folk. It goes best with a Sauternes or an icewine, even, though I'm not likely to stock up on enough wine for all the cheeses : )

Then there's a Straveccio that is actually good with the stereotypical cheese pairings: white crusty bread, full-bodied reds, fruit. But it's even better with vegetables, like tomatoes or even asparagus, and I might just have to pick up some asparagus just to serve with it.

The mystery cheese has been revealed to be a Hereford Hop, and is best with a Zinfandel or other very fruity wine.

There's even a double-aged Gouda that's best paired with a brown ale!

If I wanted to, I could make a big deal to everyone about what a bold and outside-the-box cheese selection I've put together, but you're the only one I know who'd really appreciate it, and I rather think we'll all be too busy actually eating to care anyway : )

Yay, cheese!
square_egg
Jun. 19th, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC)
My aunt is a food nut, a Beacher, and dines out frequently, but the concept of proper tea eludes her. Her reaction after visiting this place was," Don't ever go there - it was awful! I was hoping for a real lunch, but all they had were these tiny sandwiches. Not even a salad!" Ah, bless her little heart.

Anyway, it sounds super, and far too close to home for me to miss.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )