Friday, December 11, 2009


My friend and co-worker, Nicole, treated me to afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel today for my birthday. One of my very favorite things in the whole world is having afternoon tea at fancy hotels, and this was the third time I've been able to par-teake.

Here's our delicious tea service...tea sandwiches (bottom plate) included salmon with mascarpone cheese and caviar (yep, I tried caviar--not bad!), English cucumber with dill cream; cherry tomato; and radish, egg salad with roasted red pepper mousse on toasted white bread, and balsamic portobello mushroom with goat cheese on a focaccia crouton. The strawberries were stuffed with blue cheese mousse and sprinkled with pistachio dust. Pistachio dust...I know, it's ridiculous.
Here's my tea. I forgot the name but it was rose-flavored. It tasted like...well, it tasted like I was drinking the prettiest, softest pink roses I could ever imagine. Nicole got a spicy chai from India. The servers were constantly pouring our tea for us, using the strainers each time. The pots of tea were kept warm from the tea lights placed underneath that where the name for those little candles came from?

I tried really hard to stick my pinky out and pose properly, but the cup was full (and heavy!) and I nearly spilled when this picture was taken. To ensure a clean dress, I had to take a quick, unladylike gulp!

Another delicious drink, besides our teas, were these yummy alcohol-free Mimosas, or as I like to call them, Mi-faux-sas, made with Sprite and a delicious passion fruit syrup. Very tasty. And you bet I felt pretty hoity-toity drinking from a champagne flute!

After the sandwiches, we enjoyed scones with cream, lemon curd, and wild berry compote, and then dug into the desserts--cranberry pistachio florentines, gingerbread cookies, kirsch cream puffs, orange chocolate cups, lemon raspberry cheesecakes, and spiced chocolate macaroons. And yes, we ate it what?

The hotel was decorated beautifully with lots of fresh flowers and Christmas decorations. The flower arrangements in the lobby reminded me of Jeff Leatham's designs. (Watch his show, Flowers Uncut, on TLC. So good. The man is an artist.) It was a gray, rainy day but our ocean view was still incredible. I felt like we were in another country on a fancy holiday and very far away from Orange County.

This is a huge sandcastle display in the hotel made out of food! Little kids were fascinated. And by "little kids," I

I spy croissants, Cheerios, rolls, Rice Krispie treats, pretzels, waffles....

Two days shy of twenty-seven. Really, there must be some mistake. I don't feel that old at all...

Or act like it.

Nicole and I pretend to fight all the time. We're constantly poking fun at each other and pushing each other's buttons. There might even be some physical fighting in the office once in a while. On the surface, we are completely different...Nicole hates Disney pop music, "accidentally" broke someone's nose during a karate tournament (ha...just kidding. It was an accident. I think.), and hates wearing dresses. She's got an urban, tough girl coolness about her. I, on the other hand, love the color pink, watch the Disney Channel, and say "ohmigosh!" But we are more alike than it may seem--we love traveling the world, discovering art in unexpected places, loving on college students, and learning about God. We've seen each other make stupid mistakes, encouraged each other through tough times, eaten many bowls of tomato soup at Cinnamon Productions together, and celebrated with each other in victories. I am so blessed to be able to work with one of my best friends.

Thanks, Nicole, for a very memorable birthday treat!


Julie Hibbard said...

When are we going? That is my DREAM beautiful...and it's so tasty too!!
So glad your birthday celebrations are continuing!!
27 is a GREAT age...and I promise, it just gets better!!

Cami said...

I love both of you so much. SO MUCH!

Mama Oasis said...

Sounds like such fun! Our company did the Christmas decor at the Ritz Carlton btw!!!

Erin Michelle Brady said...

This is so cute! :)