Today's New Activity: Afternoon Tea at the Crown & Crumpet
It's pretty unlikely that either of us should have found ourselves here, as *neither* of us consider ourselves the kind of ultra-fem gals who would dig on something as pink and prettified as all this, but it would seem that the spirit of trying new things is in the air, and we actually both admitted to having experienced a shift toward the girlie girl lately. In Colleen's case, I might credit all the recent wedding planning she's been doing. In my case, well I've got nothing to account for it.
The Crown & Crumpet is in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, which a great, great place to hang out, if you can manage to make it all the way to the end of the Embarcadero on a Sunday, and if, after surviving that 45 minutes of madness, you can manage to find a parking spot. Thankfully, we did both and ended up finding parking almost as close as you could possibly get to the little shop (shoppe?). The only downside was that the meters maxed out at 1 hour, so we had to watch the clock and refill when the meter got hungry.
During the drive, we had the chance to catch up on things. Colleen is another former coworker with whom I've been out of touch for some time. In fact, I never really spent any time hanging out with her outside of work, except for during the great parties she used to so hospitably throw, inviting all her coworkers. Those were really the best days I've had at any workplace, ever. I've never worked--before or since--in such a fun-filled environment where people got along well with very little gossip or negativity, and they liked each other so much they were happy to party together even after seeing each other at work 40 hours a week.
Anyway, though I've always thought her very cool, this was actually the first time I'd spent with Colleen one-on-one, and I'm so happy I did. Not only is she a great conversationalist, very open and easy to find common ground with, she is one of the most good-natured and friendly, warm, joy-loving people I've ever met. Just driving into the city and passing under the Bay Bridge (another beautiful day in The City, I might add), she expressed such unbridled joy and wonder at the (truly wonder-filled) sight, I thought she may just weep with sheer delight. I LOVE to be around people like that. I love full-bodied expressions of awe, of pleasure, of curiosity and engagement.
Colleen was one of the very first people to respond to my e-mail seeking GGA participants, and she's the one who had the great idea to check out a tea room together. It's one of those (almost guilty) pleasures that's perfect for a Sunday afternoon when you've managed to put all your obligations behind you and are free to just soak in the aroma of really, really, really good tea.
Though you can order individual lunch meals, we opted for the Tea for Two menu option, in which we chose two from the dizzying selection of loose-leaf teas (this is just one of two full-page spreads of tea options alone):
which came served with this beautiful and tasty selection of petite sandwiches, scones, and sweets:
Ever wondered what a crumpet was? That's one on the right. It tastes like the best English muffin you've ever eaten, especially when topped with one of the below (super rich strawberry jam, a light butter, and lemon curd).
Talk about dainty!
And this sort of thing is truly meant to be an event rather than just a meal or a run-of-the-mill little treat. The reservations get you the table for 2 hours, a good amount of time to relax and give the flavors their due. All the sweets were served in tiny portions, but that was fine because they were so rich, to eat more than what was served was to risk some kind of bodily harm...I'm sure of it.
It was a real treat to spend half a day with this wonderful woman. We talked about all the things you'd expect two women to talk about over afternoon tea. The coming hunting party, problems with the help, how dreadful the crumpets at all the *other* tea spots are. Hehe. Nah. We talked about family, and relationships, and Colleen's coming nuptials, and my pending divorce, coworkers, friends, the S-E-X word...you know, just all of everything worth discussing. Girltalk is so much more fun over good food and drink.
And though it feels incredibly decadent and indulgent, I'm fairly certain we *both* could, and probably should, make a habit of this.
Thank you Colleen, for a great idea and a splendid (read it in a British accent for full effect) day!