Sunday, June 13, 2010

fit for a queen

Last year when Mom & Dad were out here looking at houses Mom suggested that we go to the Empress for high tea for my birthday. Well who says no to that? So this year, when the end of May rolled around I took the day off work and off we went. Let me say this up front - if anyone ever says "Wanna go for high tea at the Empress?" the answer is YES. Always yes.

As you can see, the morning of my birthday I was pretty excited about the prospect of a mini break holiday with my Mom. Boats, water, tea, conversation - I knew it was going to be a great day.

Imagine my surprise when Mom arrived and in addition to the birthday treat I knew about she had a HUGE bouquet of flowers in her hands! I am such a sucker for flowers and these were gorgeous. I got them in some water and we were ready to head off for the day.

After a great ride over on the ferry, and a short ride on the coach we arrived in Victoria. The coach dropped us off just a block or two from the Empress. Just a short walk and we were there.
The signs says it all, tea this way! Ok let's go!

The tearoom itself is gorgeous! I could see right away why Dad opted to stay home. It is a very feminine room. The walls are pink. There's an incredible view of the harbor, columns and comfy chairs. It is a room that invites you in. I was so glad we had lots of time to stay.

The host settled Mom and I into a pair of cozy wingback chairs in a corner of our own. The room itself is huge but it's full of little nooks to snuggle into with conversations just waiting to happen. Our waiter Joseph came by with the menus and asked if we'd like a glass of champagne to go with the berry course. Mom and I looked at each and giggled and said "why not?" So we started our tea in style with a toast.

Not long after out strawberries and champagne the tea arrived and WOW. Everything you've heard about tea at the Empress is true. I can see why the Queen comes here when she's in town.

On the bottom level were sandwiches - mushroom pate, carrot & cream cheese, curried chicken, smoked salmon pinwheels & egg salad. Delish. On the next level up were scones, a classic, with Devon cream and little individual pots of Empress strawberry jam. Sooo good. On the top layer were the desserts. Goodness, a person could do some serious damage. Shortbread, chocolate cherry tulips, key lime cheesecake, strawberry tarts and to wash it all down the Empress' house blend black tea. There was two of absolutely everything so we could try it all. And we did.

Everything was so delicious we spent almost two hours enjoying it. We talked about life and love and dreams and boats and things we want to do more of and things we want to do less. It was a delicious afternoon in every possible sense of the word. After a wonderful tea we took a stroll around the harbor, stopping to take a picture of the beautiful facade of the hotel.

While we were walking we found a great idea for Dad's next birthday. You can rent this little beauty to drive around. I took a photo of the contact info for next time.

At the end of a wonderful day, we took the ferry home. I kept thinking of the end of the children's song Teddy Bear's Picnic "At 6 o'clock their Mommies and Daddies will take them home to bed extremely tired but contented bears." I know just how they feel :) Thanks Mom & Dad for a magnificent birthday! It's a day I will never forget.


Darcy and Sharon said...

Sounds like you had fun!

ramblin'andie said...

Claire, I KNOW you've been up to all sorts of adventures. I miss reading about them here. Hope you're having a wonderful summer!

Claire Colvin said...

I need to do a massive THE WHOLE FAMILY WAS HERE post with pictures and such (but I'm leaving on Wed for a Boston adventure so maybe I'll do both posts when I get back :)

ramblin'andie said...

Boston! I hope you're having a FANTASTIC time! I will look forward (with great anticipation, I might add!) to you massive posting.