A Most Fabulous Afternoon Tea “and Tinis” – A New Tradition Is Born

Except that we didn’t do “tinis” (martinis)…we opted for Champagne this time.

The back story to this year’s “tea and tinis” gathering at the St. Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach, California:

Several friends and I have participated in a celebratory holiday cookie exchange for the past decade.  We’d gather on a Sunday prior to Christmas at our good buddy “S’s” home…we’d arrive with six dozen just baked cookies (for sharing later), brought a bottle of champagne (for sharing now), enjoyed a delightful lunch prepared by several able hands — chatter, laughter, sharing of woes, dreams and ideas filled the day.  We concluded by committing to keep this annual tradition going.  Once back home, our families literally “plowed” through the enormous cookie tray,  gobbling up their favorites while also trying new varieties. Then they’d swear off cookies for the the rest of the season, as they’ve usually over-consumed at this point.  Whew.  It was fun and a lot of work.

This year, some of the group have big changes going on in their lives, leaving them with no time for baking dozens of cookies or hosting a party. It didn’t seem that the 2012 party was feasible.  So, when my manicurist, Victoria, told me about the nearby St. Regis Hotel’s “Tea and Tini” holiday activity, I got this idea…but  first off, I asked,  what is a “tini?”… she said, “Martini’s, silly :-),”  then I thought,…why not reinvent our cookie party, turning it into the “non-cookie party” by going for “Tea and Tinis” at the St. Regis Hotel?  Almost everyone jumped on board with resounding “yes’s” to the rsvp…we booked it, and twelve of us enjoyed the most spectacular spread of finger sandwiches, petite savory bites, salads and petite sweets, along with some bubbly and a few martinis too.  This afternoon tea rivaled the tea time D. and I experienced at London’s Savoy Hotel…it truly was an awesome experience.  All were relaxed and thrilled.  We started with Champagne…which paired perfectly with the savory bites, in particular the luscious smoked salmon open-faced sandwich.  A broad selection of Mighty Leaf whole leaf teas were offered.  Each guest chose their preferred tea, which was served individually in gorgeously designed Fortessa tea pots.

During the holidays, the St. Regis lays out an extensive array of tea time foods. Service is buffet style.  The room is beautifully appointed. Table settings are stunningly styled; clean, sleek, and functional.  Service was impeccable and readily available.  On a sad note, my daughter, unfortunately, came down with a cold and couldn’t make; therefore, I am forced to go another day this season so she can experience this enormous “perfection” of tea time display.  “Shucks, what tough duty, right? :-)”

Enjoy gawking over these photos of the food displays…and believe me, my photos do the displays no justice at all.

A plethora of beautiful tea sandwiches at the St. Regis...most are open faced, thus lower in carbs...yay for me

A plethora of beautiful tea sandwiches at the St. Regis…most are open faced, thus lower in carbs…yay for me

IMG_4806 IMG_4808 IMG_4815 IMG_4826 IMG_4834 IMG_4835



And then there were sweets….they were petite enough to reduce all sense of guilt in trying one or two or five or six ….


Trays and trays of beautifully prepared miniature sweets...from petite cream brûlées to British financiers...and mango tarts, all fresh, tasty and perfectly sized to have three or four

Trays and trays of beautifully prepared miniature sweets…from petite cream brûlées to British financiers…and mango tarts, all fresh, tasty and perfectly sized to have three or four

IMG_4843 IMG_4844 IMG_4847

There were delicious, beautiful varieties of foods for almost every dietary requirement…whether gluten intolerant, diabetic, vegetarian, or carnivore – the selection was extensive.  I will say, it was a day where if you could, throw the restrictive diet out the window…it was worth it, as the bites were small.  Hat’s off to the chefs and the St. Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach, California.  We all vowed to come back next year.  Some of us can’t wait that long.

12 week challenge update:  week 5

Well, you’d think with the tea buffet I’d have blown it; but I planned for it and actually am down almost another pound.  I’m continuing with my exercise and yoga. Additionally, I “planned” to celebrate so ate lighter for breakfast and dinner; adding more seafood to my diet this week too.  Am down almost 5 lbs….now the tougher pounds are next but I continue to be motivated and feel in control – a nice feeling I must admit.  Thanks for all your support.


  1. Next year the Guys are going to hang out in the bar and have our own special Tea Time.

    • What an excellent idea….book it!

  2. Love it Reverend!!
    Gorgeous pics, Linda! Makes me want to go back sooner than later!!

    • You know it !

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Looks delicious!

    • Oh it was! Wish you were there. Maybe next year.

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. What a lovely time it was and no clean up after. I am in for next year. They make a really good tini too.

    • So true so true… no clean up might just be one of the best benefits of not hosting at home. Looks like all are in for next year….including the guys, who might want to hang in the bar…we might just have lost our drivers 🙂 Hello taxi 🙂

  5. Wow, that is a lot of tiny food! I feel a bit overwhelmed by your pictures, I might well have cried if I’d been there in person. All those sandwiches, and those delectable cakes….I loved the tea selection, too, what a wonderful event. I really thought you were going to say you’d chucked the diet for this thing, so I was amazed to find that despite all this you still lost a pound. Superb job!

    • Yes, it was spectacular…and I did splurge…had the little cheesecake topped with fruit and the creme brûlée (I can never resist a creme brûlée)…but they had such an array that there were truly satisfying healthy selections too and as you note, the food was tiny so as to indulge was not “too much” of any one thing. We spend 3 hours luxuriously laughing, talking and running up to fill our plates. It also seems that the pound I thought I lost might have crept up on me yesterday as a delayed reaction 🙂 because now it is back. No matter…it was worth it.