The last time I ventured down the stairs to Wonderland was years ago for my sister, Amanda’s 11th birthday. At Alice’s Tea Cup, her friends played dress up with the numerous wings, crowns and boas hanging from the walls and ate little scones, cucumber sandwiches, cookies and tea. An elegant meal for ladies in England transformed into a whimsical, playroom for children and adults of all ages. I sat at a table across from the girls, with an old boyfriend in tow, wishing I could truly enjoy the same pleasures as the young-care free birthday girl.
This morning, on a beautiful Friday, after readingComfort Me with Apples, Ruth Reichl’s book, on the balcony, I had a craving for something playful and delicious. I knew just the spot.
Located right off Columbus on 73rd Street, I entered Alice’s Tea Cup for the first time in years.
The awning outside had lost is shine over the years, but the playful chalkboard full of hearts and delicious sounding dishes reminded me of the beauty inside.
I entered to the sweet smell of fresh baked goods, lining the counter top. Scones, Cookies and Cupcakes of all shapes and sizes made me drool with excitement. Behind the counter, endless metal tins of tea leaves made your taste buds dream of all the endless possibilities and pairings. I walked past all the young women, with their children in tow, and groups of friends hoping to escape to Wonderland for the afternoon.
The adorable friendly gentleman behind the counter caught my eye staring at all of the wonderful treats. I asked for his opinion, and he gave the answer I had hoped for “Raspberry Chocolate, because what’s better then raspberries and chocolate together?” I couldn’t agree more.
I am usually a coffee addict through and through, but it seemed sacrilegious to inquire about iced coffee when I doubt a bean had even entered the store. I asked for an iced tea, without even realizing the possibilities. Silly me. He asked what flavor I would like and began to list off the complex, delicious sounding combinations. I ultimately decided upon the Coconut Vanilla Rooibos Tea.
Upon checking out, I asked for some coddled cream for my scone. The waiter flashed a big, white smile at me, saying that the cream and homemade jam was already included in the bag. Pure delight.
The hostess handed me the iced tea, I placed the straw inside and a wide smile crossed my face.
The sweet subtly of the coconut allowed for me to drink the tea without any added sweetness. The hint of vanilla was light and the tea, flavorful. It was so refreshing, in the hustle of my morning commute, I uncharacteristically sat down in the park outside the 72nd street station, read my book, sipped my tea and enjoyed the lovely Friday morning.
I arrived at work, excited to indulge in my scone.
The scone was delicious, with each bite inviting different flavors to the party. The outside had that nice crisp exterior and the inside was creamy and fluffy. The bites of chocolate gave off a dessert sweetness which was in turn mellowed by the buttery, decadent dough. Then the tangy, sweet flavor of the raspberry and the little crunch of the seeds inside rounded out the entire scone. The addition of the jam and butter added more elements to this wonderful breakfast.
I find myself cutting off the rest of the world, smiling with glee at my little desk enjoying every bite of Alice’s Tea Cup. This will definitely happen more often.
Alice’s Tea Cup – 102 West 73rd Street – New York, NY
Alice’s Tea Cup
Location: Upper West Side, NY
Type: American (Traditional), Tea House
Perfect For: Kid Friendly, Sweet Tooth
Reservations: Accepted for Big Groups
Favorite Dishes: Salted-Caramel Scone, Raspberry-Chocolate Scone, Mad Hatter (Tea, Scones, Dessert Tower)