Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Day In the City: Extra Fancy Birthday Tea and An Art Gallery

This past Saturday my ladies and I went to San Francisco for an extra fancy birthday tea at Neiman Marcus and to an art book signing at the Rena Bransten Gallery

The book signing was actually first on the list. The artist, Marci Washington, is an old friend of mine from middle school! I was so excited and happy to hear that she had a book out! I love her style. It's so dark and thick with ambiance and mood! Each of her paintings tells a vivid and layered story. I love how each of her paintings invoke a sense of a Gothic bygone time and yet feature modern elements such as a building with modern architecture or the modern lines of a man's suit... it's as though it's a historic time which perhaps hasn't existed yet.

Marci and I at the Rena Bransten Gallery In Front of Marci's Painting and Wallpaper!

Marci's Book!

Next on the list was tea time at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. I've never been to either Neiman Marcus or to tea at the Rotunda so it was quite a treat to check it out. The Rotunda is up at the 4th level of Neiman Marcus and as you walk through and up the escalators you pass by what looks like little individual shops for each of the major super upscale fashion designers such as Chanel, Oscar de la Renata, Diana Von Furstenberg, and so many more I can't even list them. Super swanky! I have to say though, other than the beautiful stained glass window on the ceiling featured in the Rotunda (and when you first walk into Neiman Marcus), after walking through Neiman Marcus and past all the upscale fashion labels, I was a little disappointed that the Rotunda didn't seem fancier than it did. The seating and the ambience of the restaurant was just.... kind of normal... the wait staff did, on the other hand, definitely infuse an air of elegance to the atmosphere! It's hard to describe exactly. Maybe it's the straight upper lip, the good posture, the soft spokenness, the uniforms? But the wait staff was amazing and exactly what I would expect from such an upscale establishment.

When we were first shown to our tables we were served glasses of iced water right away soon followed by demitasse cups and saucers of chicken consume with a mini cheese pastry. Next we were informed that they had made extra popovers and gave one each to us complimentary with strawberry butter. The popovers were warm and fresh. For tea I ordered the Royal Tea with Jardin Bleu Black tea. The tea was excellent with definite notes of fruity rhubarb and strawberry without being at all tart.

Oddly enough, for tea here you are presented with small paper packets of the usual sugar, raw sugar, and sugar substitutes rather than a proper sugar bowl. The cream we got for our tea on the other hand seemed to be real cream rather than just milk.

For our tea, each of the teas came with a selection of five tea sandwiches: lobster salad on puff pastry, smoked salmon with cream cheese, chicken salad, turkey, cucumber and cream cheese, and deviled egg salad. While more or less it was the usual fare for tea, the sandwiches were excellent and so flavorful. Very delicious! The deserts on the other hand were a little subpar. Nothing really stood out as being especially delicious, or especially decadent.

The scones were the saving grace for the sweets selection. The cranberry scones were extra flaky and very good. These were served with an extra wide selection of accompaniments: honey, lemon curd, fresh strawberry jam, whipped cream, and a lemon. The lemon was wrapped in mesh material to keep the seeds from going on your plate.

For as much food as we were served, we all finished everything on our plates. I kind of had the impression that it wasn't as much food as I am usually served for tea though it may have been that we were all especially hungry too... In any cast, we were all definitely and pleasantly full by the end of tea.

In parting, we were served single packets of chocolate mints packaged exclusively for Neiman Marcus.

Overall, it was a fine tea and an excellent day out with the ladies in the city.

Stained Glass Window At the Rotunda, Neiman Marcus, San Francisco

Tea Menu at the Rotunda, Neiman Marcus

Chicken Consume

Enjoying My Chicken Consume

Schramsberg "Mirabelle" Brut Rose, California NV

Warm Popover and Strawberry Butter

Tea For Three at the Rotunda, Neiman Marcus

Jardin Bleu Black Tea, Dammann Freres
Assortment Of Accompaniments For The Scones
The Ladies At The Rotunda, Neiman Marcus

Outfit of the Day:

For this day's outing I wore the Eiffel Tower dress by Tatyana (formally Bettie Page). This is one of my most favorite dresses in my closet! I picked this dress because it is both lovely and comfortable and also I picked it in homage to Bastille Day which was just that past Monday! I paired this with my trusty and comfy black flats from the Gap Outlet because I knew there was going to be a whole lot of walking going on! I also took along a black angora vintage style cardigan for good measure in case it got cold. You never know what the weather's going to do in San Francisco... or Northern California for that fact!!

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Front View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Front View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Side View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Front View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Side View

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