High Tea at Betty’s, York, England
We arrived in York and pursued adventures anon…Cricket, Apache Rose, Gypsy, and Billy painted the town the first night at the Guy Fawkes pub and raised pints to the bugger who almost succeeded in bringing down the whole charade. The following day the ladies insisted that we have afternoon tea at Betty’s, which filled me with dread as I am more comfortable nipping snake bite beside a bonfire than mixing with my betters. Do I extend my pinky all dainty-like when lifting the tea cup?
As the hostess led us through a quite elegant and beautiful dining room, I caught the eye of a rough- hewed bloke sitting beside his misses. He nodded as if to say, “Yes, I too must fulfill promises for pleasures rendered.” We were brought to our table, set with exquisite china, serious silver ware, and tiny tea cups. Gypsy instructed me to place the starched white napkin in my lap. “You’re a barbarian,” she giggled. I scanned the room for others of my kind and noted a few awkward looking chaps. I smiled, but their faces were frozen with dour impassivity. “Billy,” I reasoned with myself, “You are in the company of three gorgeous women. All is well.” We were first served a pea, cucumber, and diced tomato cocktail (that’s how the menu described it), but it was nevertheless served in a tall shot glass. “To cleanse the palate, “Cricket noted. The concoction was fresh, Spring-like, and tasty. This was followed by a smoked salmon, cream cheese, and dill roulade perched on a whole meal croute. Quite the savory morsel. Next to arrive was a miniature pork and bramley apple pie with a hint of rosemary and thyme. Again, lip-smacking. Things really began to look up when the hostess brought me a spot of Blue Ceylon tea. It was quite good- I guess I never really had fine tea. Subtle textures, it had, with a bit of a kick. “Not bad at all,” I exclaimed. The girls were oblivious to my declaration, and continued raving about the stunning beauty of Kate whoever. The hostess next brought a spiraling three-plate serving tray. Cookies- the ladies called them “cakes”- jostled one another on the top plate: gooseberry macaroons, pistachio and chocolate dacquoise slices (yum!), Grand Cru chocolate mousse and passion fruit cakes with a caramel center, miniature Battenbergs, and fresh berry meringues. Scones, to marry with marmalade and sweet clotted butter, were arranged on the second plate. The bottom plate was reserved for little toy sandwiches, each a sensual delight: ham and pate with mixed greens on sun-blushed tomato bread, chicken with tarragon mayonnaise on black bread (indescribably savory), a simple egg and mayonnaise sarnie, but with some mojo laid on it because I’ve never tasted one so good. The ladies were deep into discussing the latest British gossip or exposing a cabal, not sure which, but it was to my advantage. I had two of everything and tried three more amazing teas. I am now a “tea granny” and proud of it. As our afternoon tea wound down, Cricket turned to me and asked, “Well, Billy how did you like it?” “It would behoove us, dear lady, to make reservations for the morrow.”