Dear Caroline on Crack: Afternoon Tea Under $20?

— by Caroline on Crack

Shot of Afternoon Tea at the Biltmore (not under $20)

I love it when my friends ask me for advice. This one came via IM.

New Mama: Advice, Ms. Crack? (Yes, my friends still refer to me as “Ms. Crack.”)

Me: k

New Mama: My sister is throwing me a baby shower. I wanted something tea-like. small hotel garden or some shit like that. But my sister just moved here and knows of zero, so i’m trying to help her out (although technically i’m not supposed to, but who cares). About 15-20 people.

Me: Well there’s Huntington Library ($24.95), Biltmore ($28 Victorian Tea; $32 with sherry, Kir or sparkling wine; $48 with Laurent Perrier champagne). But let me dig around.

New Mama: Nothing tooo expensive. Jin Patisserie on Abbot is about $25/pp.

Me: Ah. Chado Tea Room is $15 a person (review).

Their afternoon tea is served all day and comes with four quarter sandwiches, scone with cream, fruit and jelly, a cookie and slice of cake and a pot of tea of your choice.

New Mama: Yeah, this is the kind of shit I’m looking for!

Me: lol

New Mama: If you can think of any more, keep it coming. This is one of those times where I wish I had rich friends with pools.

Me: I’m looking. Tea Rose Garden is $16.95 a person (review).

The Tea Rose Afternoon Tea comes with up to three choices of finger sandwiches, a scone, “tea time bites,” rose sugar cookie, fresh fruit and your choice of tea. There are also a variety of other afternoon tea choices like English Tea which is $12.95 and is the same as above except comes with just one finger sandwich choice. The French Tea ($12.95) offers a ham and cheese or turkey and cheese croissant sandwich, pastry, fresh fruit and tea of your choice. The Chinese Tea ($12.95) is unusual with its bbq pork bun, meat dumpling, Chinese pastry, fresh fruit and choice of tea. The deluxe Garden Tea ($19.95) has a cucumber mint sandwich, finger sandwich, pastry, lemon custard tartlets, rose sugar cookies, fresh fruits and tea. And the desserty Cream Tea ($12.95) has all sweets with a fruity scone cake, fruit tart, rose sugar cookie, fresh fruits and tea.

New Mama: Looks awesome. But my friends would never go to Pasadena, even if Brad Pitt invited them.

Me: King’s Head in Santa Monica is $15.95 a person. That’s all I got for cheap afternoon tea.

They serve afternoon tea on weekends or “by special appointment.” And what you get are assorted finger sandwiches and savories, scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, assorted desserts and a pot of tea.

New Mama: This is PLENTY. Thanks so much. Again, as always…you rock the cazbah.

Me: Kewl!

And I didn’t mention this to New Mama because Clementine in Century City only serves afternoon tea on Thursdays from 3 to 5pm, but they do have a lovely-sounding one for $18.95 a person. You get your choice of Fonte full leaf teas; tea sandwiches like cucumber with cream cheese on pain de mie and egg salad with watercress on pain de mie; traditional currant scones served warm with clotted cream and lemon curd; and “dainty sweets” like homemade truffles and raspberry jewel cookies. (review)