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Tea invites a totally different conversation and frame of mind than any other beverage. Afternoon tea has the best aspects of every meal, a sense of formality and ceremony, delicate flavor, and it can be as proper or as decadent as you choose: pastries, cookies, finger sandwiches.

For this timeless tradition I had a most modern look. I was wearing a three quarter length dress with capped sleeves and an asymmetrical hemline, the skirt ending in a V-shape. The dress pattern was anything but traditional. From the moment I saw it, it reminded me of crayon design, pink gray and yellow lines all fused with black.

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I looked around. I had arrived early at the Courtyard Restaurant. Of all people, I hoped Casey would appreciate my selection. The Courtyard Restaurant is located in the Boston Public Library in a barrel-vaulted room lit by palladium windows. The effect is elegant, airy and serene and in my opinion, the perfect refuge for an academic. Speaking of the literary devil, I saw Casey in the doorway dressed perfectly scholarly in a black and white, plaid knee length skirt on top of a stark white ribbed sweater.  I got a text from Mel that she was just parking and so we took the liberty of ordering a selection of tea sandwiches, scones and sweets and petit fours. We ordered two types of teas, CTC Assam (a brisk full bodied “espresso style” tea) and the Bangkok Mel (a combination of green tea, lemon grass, vanilla, ginger and coconut).

As I took a bite of my sandwich, filled with wild mushroom butter and watercress, I saw Melanie enter the room. She was wearing a wool Godot dress with short sleeves and flared skirt in an intense vermeer red, her honey blond mane worn loose.  Seeing us she sat down at the table as the tea arrived. She took a chocolate Sinclair of the table and chewed slowly and sumptuously.

“I adore these pastries,” said Mel indulging in a Devonshire double cream scone.

That was my cue to dig in. I took a sip of tea and let the sweet rich tone wash over me. I took a bit out of a glazed lemon poppy seed cake…scrumptious. Then I closed my eyes and let the world stop. That’s what good food lets you do. When I opened them Mel (who was a fashion editor)  was describing a new line that was to appear in her magazine.

“Every year the models seem to be getting younger and thinner,” said Mel, who had a body anyone would die for.”

“They don’t know what they’re missing,” said Casey nibbling on a fruit tartlet with vanilla crème patisserie.

I had to agree. How long would I last if I couldn’t nibble on pastries every now and then? Fortunately, I would never have to find out.  I looked at my phone; sure enough there was a message from Rukhsana auntie.  I almost canceled this tea when I realized that auntie Rukhsana would be out sick. It just wouldn’t be the same without her, but now I was glad I hadn’t.  I would grab a box of assorted French Macaroons for her on my way out.

Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There was another text from Domnick, my pulse quickened, what are you doing…see you later? I grabbed a chocolate Sinclair took a luscious bite… thinking how divine it is to not have to do without chocolate.

Next Post: Sept. 15

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