Holiday Tea in Chicago: When You Think Chicago You Think Tea

Holiday Tea in Chicago: When You Think Chicago You Think Tea
Allium at the Four Seasons has added some non-traditional items to their Holiday Tea menu

ahhh! tea...Holiday Tea may not be the first thing you think when you think Chicago. But maybe, just maybe, you should think again. Now that Jon Stewart has totally trashed Chicago's deep dish pizza, and a hot dog at Wrigley Field or the Cell is a distant dream, this may be the perfect time to venture out of your comfort zone with Afternoon Tea.

Believe or not, Chicago can compete with the big boys...or girls when it comes to Afternoon Tea. After all, if it's good enough for the Queen--that would be Queen Elizabeth and for the Empress of Japan then it can be argued, that it's good enough for us.

So, pinkies up (that's tea talk for how to properly hold your tea cup when drinking tea) for Chicago's bustling tea scene. And to all you guys out there who think that tea isn't manly enough for you, don't knock it, until you've tried it.

Or, as Four Seasons says about their Holiday Tea, "It's not your Aunt Sally's Tea...no offense to Aunt Sally."

All this said and done, you might want to reconsider wearing your cutoff T-shirt to the following Chicago Holiday Teas:

The Drake Hotel

Perhaps, the oldest and most prestigious spot for tea in Chicago is The Drake Hotel.  Or as the Drake Hotel website explains, "Afternoon Tea at The Drake Hotel is as Chicago as a hot dog at Wrigley Field or a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. In other words, when you think tea, you should think The Drake Hotel.

The Hotel's Holiday Tea in Palm Court embraces the longstanding tradition of afternoon tea with festive holiday pastries, a harpist, and "The 12 Days of Christmas" Carolers.  Palm Court is decked out in magnificent holiday splendor but you may feel a bit crowded depending on where you are seated.  "Holiday Tea" in Palm Court begins on Friday, November 29 and will run until Sunday, January 5, 2014.

Holiday Tea With a Twist at Chicago's Four Seasons Hotel

Allium, the dining room at Four Season has brewed  up some excitement with this year's holiday tea. How about some pop tarts instead of tea sandwiches? Or maybe some tomato jam or Bison tartar on the tea table?

It's not that Allium at Four Seasons has totally trashed the traditional  tea snacks such as cucumber watercress and smoked salmon sandwiches, deviled eggs and scones. What they have done is kept some old favorites, pairing them with the new.  Take, for example,  Allium’s Lobster Cannoli, their BLT Push Ups or Pop Tarts and Cake Pops...all on their newly improvised holiday tea menu.

The dining room is both elegant and traditional offering a welcoming setting with a roaring fireplace.

The Holiday Tea is $39 per person and is being offered every day beginning at 3 p.m. now through December 29 (excluding holidays). Reservations can be made by calling Allium at 312 799 4900. For additional information click here.

The Peninsula Hotel – The Lobby

What we love about The Lobby is the atmosphere featuring 20-foot windows overlooking Chicago. The traditional menu features goodies including: peppermint chocolate tarts, scones, gingerbread macarons, smoked salmon BLTs on mini brioche, warm butternut squash gougére and sandwiches or you can enjoy their champagne afternoon tea, which is the traditional afternoon tea, but with a glass of champagne.

American Girl Place

American Girl Place in Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile offers Afternoon Tea in their American Girl Café. As with everything at AGP it's all about the dolls, so even if your little one forgets their doll, the Cafe will loan you one.  The tea which is relatively inexpensive at $18 per person (compared to the other teas listed above) offers a menu including cinnamon buns, sandwiches, scones, tea bread along with some nice finishing touches like chocolate mousse, fruit tartlets or a chocolate teacup with vanilla pudding.

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    Carole Kuhrt Brewer

    Arts and Entertainment Reporter for media since 1997.

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