Over the years I've picked up on the names of a few tea rooms across the country that seem to be getting lots of buzz, such as Crown and Crumpet in San Francisco, which I'd dearly love to visit one day. Thanks to a welcome Christmas gift from a friend, I now have another destination tea room I'd like to visit, Alice's Tea Cup in New York City. In the meantime, I can experience some of that tea room's delightful offerings through the pages of my new cookbook bearing the same name as the tea room, "Alice's Tea Cup" by Haley Fox and Lauren Fox. The Fox sisters' paths to tea room ownership are not the usual ones -- Haley is a film school grad and worked in film development before opening the restaurant. Lauren is an actress and writer in addition to operating the tea room (or tea rooms, I should say; there are now three locations) with her sister.
This book is quite a departure from the usual tea room cookbook: the recipes are new and different, the tone is friendly and chatty, the photography is outstanding, and quite a few of the recipes use tea as an ingredient. How can you even read the name "Lavender Earl Grey Scones" and not want to try those? There are 19 different scone recipes to try, and one tip they included sounded especially appealing: if you have leftover scones sometime, slice them up, place slices on their sides, bake and turn into biscotti. I think "scone biscotti" is a terrific idea!
One of the many things I love about "Alice's Tea Cup" is that it features what you might call younger, hipper teatime recipes. Some of the sandwich flavors, for instance, are Grilled Veggie, Black Forest Ham and Gruyère, Curried Chicken, and Hummus. One idea aimed at children but which I fully intend to try myself: PB&J sandwiches made with banana bread. Brilliant idea! And in a chapter on "Other Sweets and Treats" I was quite smitten with the idea of an Indian-Spiced Chai Tea-Infused Crème brûlée. If this book isn't on your wish list, friends, it certainly deserves to be!