Afternoon high tea is about as Mother's Day-appropriate as it gets. Little pinkie extended. One lump or two, Mother dear? Care for a watercress sandwich, crusts delicately excised? The Tampa Bay area has a number of places to take the lovely lady for an afternoon of crumpets and such.
John and Aimee Gans opened the Tilted Teacup Tea Room & Boutique (200 W Fort Dade Ave., Brooksville; (352) 593-4111; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; $21.95) at the end of last year. They are doing a Mother's Day tea party from May 8 to 11, with a first course teacup of soup, an assortment of tea sandwiches, quiche, fresh baked scones with cream and a selection of desserts served on a festive three-tier platter. And for tea? Mom's got 29 flavors from which to choose. (And listen up, cheapskates: Bring your mom in and get $5 off.)
The Milk n' Honey Tea Room, (2092 W Busch Blvd., Tampa; (813) 931-1462; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, Saturday until 3 p.m.; $16.95 and $18.95) honors moms on May 11, with recognition going to the oldest and youngest moms in the room, the moms with the most children, and other special honors. The comfortable tearoom is especially appropriate for kids, with a dress-up corner of hats and feather boas to put on in the high-tea spirit.
Moving from Victorian Village to a bigger location on Dale Mabry last year, Empress Tea Room (12924 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa; (813) 988-9027; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday; $16.95) has always been the grand dame, its delicate bone china pots of tea accompanied by sandwiches, pastries and scones served in either a formal indoor space or the "garden room." Set your sights on the sinful Devonshire cream or the Regency chicken salad sandwich with almonds. For Mother's Day, there is a brunch ($14.95) in addition to high tea, and all moms are treated to a glass of champagne.
A Corner of England (6297 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 345-5353; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday; $17.99), a long-timer that changed hands a couple of years ago, is a go-to place for baby showers and Red Hat rumbles, with 20 blends of imported organic loose tea from Assam, India. For Mother's Day they offer a high tea that reads like lunch: a pot of tea, a cup of soup, finger sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls, pastries, fruit and a choice of scones or cake for dessert. It's by reservation only.
TeBella at the Oxford Exchange (420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa; (813) 253-0222), serves tea from 3 to 5 p.m. daily in a beautiful glass conservatory. You can go traditional (assortment of sweet and savory items, scones with clotted cream and house preserves and your choice of tea; $22 per person) or a tea with scones and preserves ($18), or a straight-up a la carte approach with finger sandwiches and pastries. And if Mum isn't a fan of the leaves, she can go for a great cup of Buddy Brew coffee.
Laura Reiley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.