Pinkies At Half-Mast

This week Leslie and I decided to have lunch at a tea room. We’ve both been to a few and wanted to try a new one, so we consulted the Tea Map Tearoom Directory. Two of the tearooms in Alabama are in the ‘Top 100’ of this website, so we tried the very top one, the one with 5 stars and 172 reviews – the Spiced Pear Tearoom in Homewood.

I was *so* looking forward to this. I’m a little estrogen junkie. Girly-girl…lace, embroidered linens, just precious and dainty little things. It’s not at all the style in which I decorate my own home, but I have a love for the delicate in other places. Like tearooms.
I think they’re going for the shabby-chic look here with the discount store furnishings and wallpaper border. Unfortunately the ratio of shabby to chic was shabby: 95, chic: 5.

When we were taken to the room in which we were seated, we passed by their restroom, door swung wide open (and was when we left). The flatware here was the bottom of the bin at the restaurant supply store, and there was a chipped teacup at one of the settings. Even our little teapot had been repaired, poorly.

Well, you can look at all the things that aren’t quite what they should or could be, or you can look for what’s really terrific. I’d rather be positive, so…
Surely with all those great reviews, the food was what was winning people over. We decided to try many things. We decided to split a couple of little a la carte items plus ‘The Queen’s Service’ which was listed as: ‘scone with lemon curd and clotted cream, soup, champagne salad, quiche, savories, fruit, trio of desserts, and a pot of tea.’
Are you envisioning the charming little two- or three-tiered server already? Me too. (I don’t think they have those here, though.)
The scone was *wonderful*. It was white chocolate plus what I think were apricot bits. Next was the Champagne salad (salad with Craisins, almonds, and cheese plus a Champagne dressing) and tomato-basil soup. Pretty nice…

The next course was a big disappointment. The savories – which I wanted dearly to love because fondness of tiny crustless circles of white bread is written into my DNA – held shredded deli ham, another of tasteless pecan and chicken salad, and another of very dry, flavorless pimento cheese. The fruit was…well, fruit, with the apple cut carelessly (you know…tearoom…the little things are the important things). And the worst part of all was that someone in the kitchen had obviously microwaved the quiche because the eggs had that odd just-nuked texture and the crust was sad and soft and limp. Neither of us enjoyed this course.

Last was the trio of desserts. I asked the waiter to please tell us what the plate was composed of, and he didn’t know. Okay. Well, I’m thinking that top left is a cake with chocolate mousse, top right is frozen salad (think fruit plus syrup plus Cool Whip), and bottom is a roulade with lemon curd. At this point we were just ready to go.

We were looking forward to holding our pinkies up high while sipping sweetly on hot fruity tea, but today they were at half-mast since the experience was a bit disappointing.
But! How on earth do they have all those gushing oh-this-was-great reviews on the Tea Map site when we were so unimpressed? We must have gone on a very bad day. Oh well! Next time we will try the place that the other nice ladies in our dining room suggested, Miss Rosemarie’s on Valleydale. The pinkies will rise again!

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