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I enjoy the idea of taking a little time out for an afternoon break. The next time you and your girlfriends are looking for something to do, take an hour or two at the Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Carlton, 160 E. Pearson St., Chicago.
Served in the Greenhouse from 2:30-5 p.m. every afternoon, "the most important thing to remember is that tea service is a time to relax and have fun," says Nick Panepinto, the manager of food and beverage at The Ritz. Although The Ritz serves tea in a formal setting, that doesn’t mean you have to have your pinkies up—unless you want to.
Twenty-two different loose-leaf teas are available and the staff will be more than happy to help you find the right one. "We try to guide all guests by asking a full series of questions, similar to choosing a wine," says Panepinto.
During my visit, I went with a blend of apricot and vanilla. If you don’t like your selection, feel free to send it back to try something else.
When you go, skip lunch—the assorted open face and finger sandwiches paired with preserves, pastries and scones are enough to completely satisfy an appetite with leftovers to spare. Throughout tea, ask for hot water refills in your tea pot, because loose-leaf tea can become bitter when it cools.
Dress is smart casual (between casual and business casual) and reservations are recommended by calling (312) 266-1000. Traditional Afternoon Tea is $27 and includes tea and an assortment of sandwiches and pastries. Royal Tea includes champagne and ranges from $37 to $45. Whether you prefer one lump or two, Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Carlton will surely prove to be a relaxing experience.
Sweetriot ranges in flavor intensity. For the adventurous and dedicated, flavor 70 is made with 70 percent dark chocolate with a hint of espresso. For you regular chocoholics, flavor 65 has 65 percent dark chocolate and flavor 50 is more milk chocolatey than anything at 50 percent dark chocolate.
The tiny "peaces" are Kosher, GMO-free (non-genetically modified soy lecithin) and gluten-free, which makes this a treat for many allergy-concerned moms. Each tin comes with its own "fortune," giving you a small cacao fact as well as a few lucky numbers. Sweetriot is available on the Web site in multiple packages and bulk and at local Whole Foods markets individually for $3.99.
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