This weekend I had the good fortune of being able to attend a birthday tea party at the Pinecone Cottage. I had missed a previous meetup at that locale and very deeply regretted it. I love going to tea, and from what I heard it sounded like the tea service at the Pinecone Cottage was very enjoyable! Now that I’ve attended and experienced it myself, I quite agree. I had a wonderful time and am really looking forward to going back.
We met at the train station, which is right across from the tea house. Once we determined that everyone had arrived, we headed indoors.
The tea house is incredibly charming. ♥ The tables are covered in white cloths and set with mis-matched but complimentary place settings. Everything has a shabby, romantic, antique sort of ambiance. I particularly liked the mis-matched ornate flatware, which I suspected to be old pieces of silverplate. Each table had a small pink candle and a beautiful white and pink rose as the centerpieces. They were a lovely touch, and not so bulky as to get in the way of conversation. The chairs look as though they’re made of branches, and the backs are decorated with a swath of coloured tulle and flowers.
This was the tea pot that we were started out with~ It wound up being too small for us to share without many refills, since the tea we chose was wonderful!
When we were all seated, tea menus were brought out. The tea selection was varied, with something for everyone between the black, green, and herbal options. (I’m sure there was white tea as well, although I don’t remember it distinctly and thus think there was a smaller selection of that type.) I chose a flavoured black tea called “Russian Renaissance,” which the girl sitting next to me also selected. It was delicious and exactly what I was hoping for. I’m sure she felt the same way, as together we drank several teapots of it!
The Pinecone Cottage has a different menu for each month. Our theme for June was “Sun Porch and Roses.” The first course was a refreshing salad topped with a Vidalia corn chowder. The second course of savories consisted of asparagus pinwheels in a flaky crust, tomato-cucumber crostini with mozzarella, and zucchini bread with prosciutto and cream cheese. All were very good, although the crostini was rather hard to eat in a ladylike fashion–perhaps if the bread had been sliced thinner or more toasted it would have been less difficult. The zucchini bread was my favourite; I would have gladly eaten a slice of it sans meat and cream cheese~
I ate most of the courses without taking pictures, as that is the sort of thing I am known to do, but I did manage to take a picture of the savory sandwich course.
After the savories we were brought cherry-lavender scones with raspberry-rhubarb jam and lemon Devon cream. The lemon cream was absolutely heavenly! I would have eaten it with a spoon had I not been seated at a table with other ladies and supposed to be behaving myself. :3 The raspberry-rhubarb jam was made by the tea house itself (they also sell preserves) using Elizabethan methods. I love rhubarb anything–it immediately makes me think of summer! ☆ It was delicious on the scones.
The dessert course consisted of peach Bavarian cream and strawberry-blackberry cobbler. Both were delicious! My only qualm was the way it had been plated–the Bavarian cream was in a cool glass dish standing on a plate, with the cobbler heaped beside it. This led to cobbler sneaking under the glass dish or wandering elsewhere; it would have been better on its own plate. The peach Bavarian cream was absolutely delicious. Now I have dreams of a creamy pink lemonade gelatin dessert…
I tried to get a picture of the beautiful decorations inside of the tea house; it was very woodsy and romantic.
Inside, we were seated at tables of three or four. Although that did prevent a lot of mingling, it made for easier conversation. I really enjoyed talking with everyone at my table! I hope the other tables were having as much fun as we were. (Although hopefully with less mishap… I got a bit overexcited at one point and broadsided a new, larger teapot all over the girl to my left. ;___; I still feel so stupid about it even though she was so gracious and assured me that everything was okay. I can’t even imagine how mortified and guilty I’d have been if she had been injured–thankfully the tea was not scathingly hot! I’ll have to find a way to make it up to her.)
I rather suspect that the other tables did have as much fun, or at least that’s what my husband reported. He sat at a different table–we don’t need to be glued at the hip, and he doesn’t attend meetups as my accessory or pack-horse. Despite the fact that he doesn’t dress in an aristocratic style, he likes the socializing aspect and comes for the conversation. It’s quite amusing, because he seems very shy–but he was the one insisting that we would go! (I’m very thankful he did–I would have missed out on a lovely time and it wasn’t at all as terribly expensive as I initially feared.)
The birthday girl’s boyfriend was kind enough to take a picture of our table, although it was rather difficult.
One of the most exciting things for me about this meetup was that I had the opportunity to meet a few lolita I hadn’t met before! There are lots of girls interested in the fashion around Chicago, but we don’t always wind up together in the same place. Now that the weather is warmer and most people aren’t in classes (myself included), I’m seeing lots of participation from people I’ve never met before~ This always makes me cheerful. ♥ A community cannot continue if it become stagnant. Eventually people will stop wearing the fashion or leave the area, and the numbers of the group would dwindle away. I also like meeting new lolita because I remember being new to the community and what an important role it’s played in my life. I hope other people can grow to feel the same way~
(I suppose that was the little part where I stand on my pedestal and cry sparkling tears from star-filled eyes as I passionately rally the troops of frills and lace. XD It seems very silly and melodramatic, but I truly and sincerely mean it! ☆ My ultimate goal is to meet and spend time with everyone in area. I’m always working on it.)
After tea, we took a picture outside of the tea house~ We had to hold still for a while so that everyone could get a picture.
When tea was over, we paused to take some pictures outside and then wandered around the area a bit. The tea house is in the downtown area of that suburb, so there were some cute little shops to investigate. We enjoyed looking around the local toy store; it made me feel nostalgic to see things like wooden food that velcros together and Playmobil castles and dragons. I almost had a fluffy-flustered-enthusiasm attack when I spotted a wall full of Calico Critters!
My husband was kind enough to buy me a set of bunnies when I bounced over and tried to explain that oh-my-goodness-there-are-tiny-animal-figurines-wearing-clothes-and-doing-human-things-I-need-some-in-my-life. He even helped me figure out which box of critters to choose. We decided on bunnies, and right when I was wishing there were brown bunnies or white bunnies, someone moved a box of gray bunnies and uncovered white bunnies with brown-tipped ears! ♥ They’re wonderful! I thought I was going to purchase said bunnies, but my husband surprised me by sneaking off to the cash register while I was convincing a friend to buy the gray bunnies. (Isn’t that what friends are for?)
These were my “spoils” from the trip–Calico Critters! I’m so excited to own them.
I had an absolutely wonderful time! (I hope the birthday girl did, too!) Everyone was so sweet and friendly, and the tea service was better than most I’ve had at hotels recently. I can’t wait to go back~ I’d love to convince others who couldn’t attend this time to come to a future tea party. There’s something particularly intriguing to think that each month there will be a different menu–I’m sure they’re all delicious~