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i’m a westcoaster by situation, preference, and nature. and while i idealize and develop little longings for and jealousy of the big, established cities of the other coast–i don’t go there that often. on a recent trip east to visit my husband’s family, we decided to take a weekend train trip to boston, to visit a dear high school friend, who was my maid of honor, and who has lived in boston for many years. this was my first trip to boston–long overdue. the train ride was relaxing and scenic–and painful. we spent enough time stopped under manhatten that my feet started to itch to jump off the train and run through the streets of the big city. i didn’t, though. we were heading to boston–the seattle of the east coast.

my lovely friend met us at the station and took us to tea at the taj hotel which was, as fate would have it, across the street from one of the only burberry flagship stores in the nation. so i drooled over bags, trenches and umbrellas. we took tea in the french room, at a giant table, each with our own pot of tea. the taj has a lovely china pattern–eastern feel to the shape of the pot and a golden bird pattern on the delicate rosenthal porcelain. i had the house tea–a black blend with rose.

because there was much gastronomic pleasure to come (my friend had planned a trip to saus, a shop that specializes in belgian frites, cannelloni at modern pastry  and chicken coq-au-vin with buttered noodles or beef bourguignon at petite robert) we were conservative with our order. we decided to split a tiered dessert tray and a cheese platter. the dessert tray brought home-made scones, chocolate covered strawberries (embossed with gold-leaf) and house made lemon curd to our table. other french-inspired delights–like lady fingers, and macaroons appeared as we made our way down the tray.

the assortment of delicious cheese was a good move–caffeine and sugar threatened to leave us sloshing full of tea and bouncing off the walls. a bit of savory protein was welcome and delicious.

i have pretty high standards for afternoon tea. after tea at the empress hotel in victoria, bc almost anywhere will fall flat. the setting in the french room was beautiful. the china was lovey, and the tea was delicious. our server brought us a complimentary plate of english tea sandwiches, which were welcome. but i have to say over all, while it was lovely, not one of my most favorite afternoon tea services. but that was more than made up for by the amazing company of wonderful (if far-flug) friends. it could have just been gastronomic anticipatory overload–or maybe my mind was just still in the burberry flagship store across the street. it was a lovely experience and a great way to kick off a romp in boston. thankfully we spent a lot of time walking that day–we wouldn’t have made it otherwise.

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