I think the best, most Gourmet experience of the weekend was afternoon tea at the Willard. Please note that this is NOT on my usual "graduate" budget. A normal afternoon tea at the Willard is $40, but since this was Valentine's Day weekend, it was a bit more for a special tea. However, it is well worth the price.
When we arrived, we were greeted with red roses and shown to our table. The tea is held in Peacock Alley, which is basically a hallway between the F & G street entrances of the hotel. The walkway is named for the ladies who would sit in this hall to "see and be seen". Let me tell you that this location has some of the best people watching in the city...We actually witnessed a wedding party taking their pictures with 13 groomsmen! Wow, that's a wedding.
I digress... While sitting there, sipping our tea, harp music played classic love songs (because of Valentine's day) and my mom and I took turns guessing the songs.
You are allowed one selection of loose leaf tea from a list of about 10 different teas. I first tried the Willard Blend and did not like the mint in it, so I sent it back for my usual English Breakfast tea. My mom had the Wild Blackberry tea, which was so good that I was only allowed one tasting before she drank it all up!
You also receive a carrousel with tea sandwiches, scones, jams, and desserts. After we ate our first plate of sandwiches, we were not sure if we could ask for more. However, soon our waitress came by our table with a plate of sandwiches and hot water to refresh our tea, asking if we would like more! My mom and I simply indulged ourselves for 2 hours, nibbling on the great food, people watching, and having great conversations.
Overall, it is an experience I will always remember. Yes, this is a bit pricey; however, if you are looking for a great traditional afternoon tea to enjoy with someone special, I would highly suggest the Willard's afternoon tea.
For further information on days and times for Afternoon Tea, please see the Willard's website.