This tea party actually happened because of a beautiful white cat named Atari! Atari was my friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s (got it?) but because of frequent traveling (for work) she made the hard decision of finding him a new home. She felt it was unfair to Atari and wanted him to be in a home where he could get as much attention as he wanted. I really respect her decision and she was very thorough and picky with where/who his new forever would be with (as she should be). My friend’s cousin’s mom, Christine, reached out to me to see if I knew of anyone and I was able to find him a new home with my boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law! It has worked out great for everyone and I love getting all kinds of funny, cute, and mischievous photos and updates of Atari in his new home. Christine and Judy are good friends and she has been telling me about her culinary talents for years so she decided to set up this tea party as a thank you for finding a new home for Atari! I’m just glad that I was able to help and find him a family so quickly. So thanks to Atari, here we are having tea! Animals have seriously brought some of the coolest people and experiences into my life :).
This tea party was such a special treat and I want to introduce you to the talented chef behind this soiree. Judy Sagami is a pastry chef/cook and personal chef who co-created Tea Time at Sherman Gardens and has presented Afternoon Tea at the James Beard Foundation in New York. She began her culinary journey in the world of ultra-fine chocolates, found success there, and in 1997 she became a partner of Cafe Jardin at the Sherman Botanical Gardens where Tea Time was born. This is not your typical afternoon tea–Judy has reinvented it by blending elements from the east and west and serving it Japanese-style with unique tea pairings. I have never experienced anything like it and tried my best to savor every single bite and flavor!
Prior to our tea party, Judy asked about our dietary preferences and even asked about vegetables we liked / disliked when planning the menu. She put together a completely vegan menu for me which I greatly appreciated and so excited to try. I have gone to afternoon tea at other places but there are very limited options for vegans (mostly I can have the tea and that’s about it) so I am always happy when I can partake in an entire event and eat everything!
Even before any food was served, I was already in love with this experience because of the lace tablecloth, greenery, smooth black stones, and embroidered floral cloth napkins carefully set on the table. It’s not everyday I use such pretty napkins to wipe my messy food covered face with!
We were served 4 different courses and they were so pretty and detailed, I didn’t really want to eat it! We had soup (mine was broccolini) followed by savory bites which included so many flavors and textures (there was a wonton, greens with vegan “lamb”, a cracker topped with a creamy vegan spread and trio of tomatoes just to name a few), a plate of scones, and we finished with a plate of amazing chocolates and desserts (which featured a delicious apple pie topped with an apple rose). Each course was paired with a unique tea that complemented the food. Everything was so thoughtful, delicate, creative, and tasty! I felt like everything I put in my mouth was something new–it wasn’t like anything else I had ever had. This meal was so inspiring and makes me look at making food, displaying food, and serving food in a fresh new way! I am going to leave it at that and not go into anymore details so that if you try Judy’s tea you can be surprised and delighted like I was.
If you would like to experience this amazingness for yourself, you can contact Judy to plan your event. Her information is available at www.JudySagami.com. This Tea Time is great for both celebrating special occasions or just something new to do with a group of friends. I hope you enjoy the photos and that I have been able to introduce you to something new and different!
Another thing I really loved–remember the three stones set on the table by the greenery? They are actually a functional piece of decor and provide a base for this marble slab to be set on! And the attention to detail on each of the savory bites served on the marble was truly unique. My favorite (visually) is a tie between the perfectly layered pieces of cucumber that creates a striped affect and how the little package (second from the left) is so neatly tied up with the most perfect edible knot. Everything was so creative and inspiring!