Friday, June 12, 2009

RAVE: A tea party on a rainy day

I should have held my tongue before I posted about how I didn't have the will to post because warm days were wooing me to spend time outside instead of in blogland. But yesterday was not one of those days because it was rainy and very chilly. So what is a mama, her toddler and the mama's best friend (who is currently on hiatus from her fancy Italian life) to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon?

A tea party, of course!

Luckily, my mother in law, A., told me about a wonderfully intriguing place nearby that boasts a trillion (or about 80) different kinds of tea. So we called A., and we invited her to attend a high-noon tea party with us at Infini-tea in downtown Antioch. Here are my dining companions.





Upon arriving, we were greeted by eclectic decorations in a quaint setting; older hats, antique tea pots and fancy tea cups adorned the walls and small glowing white lights were strung across the ceiling and around the interior along the walls. The tables were already set with pretty off-white teacups, floral-designed silverware and cloth napkins atop cloth table coverings. No two chairs around us were alike; each boasted its own design, cloth and character.



The toddler immediately began making himself at home by gathering all of the silverware within his reach and piling it inside a dainty tea cup. The waitress promptly replaced his dainty teacup with one she said would be harder to break; relief set in because I realized that taking the almost two year old to tea and lunch was not going to be a huge mistake as the staff, the menu and the owner all were very child-friendly!



We each ordered tea from the extensive menu. My best friend, J., ordered darjeeling tea, a smooth classic black tea and she liked the taste and the fact that it contained enough caffeine to sustain her energy.





I ordered a peach ginger tea, and I iced it at the table. It had a nice moderately strong peach flavor, which suited me just fine even though I prefer stronger flavor. A., my mother in law, ordered wild blackberry, which was a black tea with a hint of blackberry. She described it as not-too-strong black tea that was satisfying.

The toddler, however, drank what turned out to be my favorite -- Pina Colada, a caffeine-free, herbal tea infused with apple, hibiscus, rosehips, coconut and pineapple. This tea had great natural flavor and it needed absolutely no sweetener, though none of us actually added any sugar to our teas anyway.

Our food was most excellent in presentation and flavor, and each dish was adorned with a beautiful edible orchid. The toddler, as you can see, was especially smitten by the flower.




He loved his dish, donned The Royal Toddler; it was the perfect amount of food for a little guy with a hearty appetite. He immediately snatched the bite-sized brownie snacks on his platter before the waitress even finished placing the platter on the table. Of course, I saved those for later on a different plate, and he became enthralled with eating the ham and cheese rolls that were held together with toothpicks.



He also nibbled the peanut butter and jelly sandwich bites before remembering that brownies were awaiting him for a desert treat. Overall, I was pretty pleased with his meal, though I would have liked if it would have come with a few pieces of fruit in lei on the piece of banana bread that also graced the tray.


I ordered chicken salad sandwich and cream of broccoli soup, and I enjoyed both. The chicken salad was very tasty; it contained grapes, almond slices and the perfect amount of chicken. It was perfectly moist but not drippy, and the marble rye bread was thick enough to contain the sandwich well but was not overwhelming.



J., my b.f.f. Italian jet-setter, ordered the smoked turkey mango wrap, which was properly loaded with sprouts, avocado and lettuce in addition to the two main ingredients. The wrap was spread with a fruit mayonnaise blend. J. said she thought the ingredients looked a little odd, but after she tasted the wrap, she was a believer. She said the flavors were complimentary, and she would fly home from Italy just to have that wrap again.


A. had the triple cheese and herb quiche special of the day with fruit and a salad.

She, too, enjoyed her meal, and it prompted her to want to dig out her quiche pan and have a hand at making some of her own again. She said the quiche had a strong cheese flavor; however, the herb flavor was more than adequate; it was a nice blend of all ingredients. The toddler actually pilfered A.'s entire strawberry and her orange slice, so she couldn't comment on the freshness of the fruit; I can assure you, however, that the toddler thoroughly enjoyed it.


We were all satisfied with the portion sizes as we left full, but no one had any leftovers except the toddler because I banished one of his bite-sized brownie to a to-go box before he had time


Also noteworthy were the delicious tiny muffins served before the meal. The toddler and I ate the cranberry ones while A. and J. enjoyed superbly flavorful cinnamon muffins. The toddler and I couldn't resist trying a cinnamon one, and we each agreed it was, hands down, the winner out of all the little sweet breads served as an appetizer.




J., who is two years my junior and kidless, was a little skeptical, at first glance, about going to tea party at the classy tea house, but after she dined there and enjoyed our company, she said she couldn't wait to return. A., who loves tea and drinks many glasses daily, said, of course, she would return. And, well, the toddler and I would love to go back, though we would only go occasionally because it's a little pricier than what we typically would spend on a lunch out during the week. Most cold entrees run around $10, while the hot entrees and special platters that include a smattering of wonderful finger foods, desert and your choice of tea are upward of about $20. A pot of your choice of tea will costs only $3.50, and you then will enjoy about two hot cups or more if it's iced.


All in all, we would highly recommend checking out Infini-tea for a lunch or dinner date with your girlfriends and a (somewhat well-behaved) toddler, preschooler or older child.



I bet little girls, especially, would love to get dolled up and have a lunch date with mommy or grandma here. But we certainly enjoyed our talking time and were entertained by a pretty well-mannered toddler who really likes to drink tea and stir empty tea cups with the assortment of spoons found at the table.



We, however, do not see this as one of those places where you would want to have a romantic dinner with your spouse or a play date meet-up with your girlfriends along with their clan of little ones. It's child-friendly, but it has its limits.


Where:


902 Main Street

Antioch, IL

847-395-3520


Best for:

Lunch or dinner date with your girlfriends, mother or any other ladies who enjoy good food and good tea

Child-friendly, but limited to kids who are happy to sit in a chair and semi-quietly entertain themselves and their dining guests


Food:

Many choices, very tasty.

Sandwiches, soups, salads, home-made deserts, hot dinner entrees and breakfasts


Speciality:

Teas and the ambiance, charm and experience of the restaurant itself

2 comments:

  1. Mmmmmmm. Tea...... I still struggle at times to get past the idea that tea is served piping hot, with milk and two sugars. All tea is like this.

    But then I read a post like this and I think....

    Mmmmmmmm. I could step out of the comfort zone and try something new!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How fun!!! What a great idea!! I'll have to look for a tea house around here, I'd be willing to try it on a rainy day :)

    ReplyDelete

There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

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Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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