As I rode shotgun through Charleston in the day, I couldn’t help but notice the quaint houses and curious architecture. One of the most outstanding characteristics of all of these beautiful homes were undeniably the porches. Beautiful porches are admired here in the tri-state area and are quite a rarity on our suburban homes outside of NYC, unless of course your home is gigantic. PeanutPimpMama was particularly puzzled by all of the porches that had doors at the end while the porch itself remained wide open and vulnerable. What is the point of a full sized door at the end of your porch? Could this possibly deter passersby that would trespass in the first place?
So, I decided to do a little research because I knew there had to be some logical and historical explanation. As it turns out these houses with porches that run the length of the home with a door at the end are known as “The Charleston Single House“. The door at the end of these porches merely serve as a privacy screen between the house and the sidewalk. That’s a whole lotta details for a little privacy.
There really is something special about the style of these homes. Many a good times can be had basking in the warm Charleston sun. I was excited to see my friend’s porch after many a tantalizing facebook photo on my feed. I’ve always secretly wanted a porch swing. Le sigh*
This one had a particularly charming view.
After a nice stroll through historical downtown we finally reached King St. and approached Charleston Place Hotel. It was time for some much anticipated afternoon tea. PeanutPimpMama has always had a bit of an obsession with the art of it all. I think this dates back to my studies abroad when my fascination with the old-world began. You can find many-a fancy tea salon in old hotels of London and Paris. I drank a lot of tea while living in Europe, although sadly not in salons. They were not very student budget friendly. I had one friend that joined me on the hunt for Paris’s most indulging chocolat chaud which led us to some fancy shmancy cafés however. Those were the days! To think this whole tradition started in England in the early 19th century by the 7th Duchess called Anna of Bedford (not BK) who used to complain of “that sinking feeling” in the afternoon. Anna darlin’, you are my idol. PeanutPimpMama tends to sink in the afternoon too!
Afternoon Tea was held at The Thoroughbred Club located inside The Charleston Place Hotel. Here you can either perch on the bar and enjoy a fine cocktail or dine on one of their luxurious banquettes for assorted tapas and small plates.
We were seated towards the back of the dining area where we had a nice and quiet corner in the section for “Ladies Who Lunch”.
They passed us the tea list which had a nice array starting with a wintry seasonal variety, English classics along with a small selection from the Orient. Lastly, there were a couple of herbal and fruit teas listed for the jittery-fearing folk.
The First Course:
The first course served were some open face tea sandwiches. I thought that was a unique spin on the typical tea sandwich which is often stingy with the filling however more convenient for handling. Clockwise: The locally favored pimento cheese in a wheel, tuna salad on white bread, lobster salad with bacon and “to-mah-toe”, smoked salmon with a cream cheese layer and capers on rye and last but not least they placed a chicken salad filled canapé in the center.
The Second Course:
For the second course, we enjoyed the freshly baked blueberry scones and some traditional crumpets with fresh cut strawberries. Whipped cream, lemon curd and preserves for “schmearing” were served alongside our carbo-packed companions. (PPM left no savoury bite un-schmeared.) Whipped cream is just NOT the same as clotted cream but we’re a far cry from Devonshire, England.
The Final Course:
Last but not least, the homemade cakes, tarts and tea cookies were served. Let’s face it, the whole tradition is more than a delicate “pick me up”. By the time the final course arrives one is “busting” with carbo-bloat and sausage fingers.
Luckily we had some different textures going on to prevent that brick-laid stomach an overly-indulgent afternoon tea can leave. For $42.00 pp (including gratuity) it was on the more affordable side of the many teas I’ve had. Not too shabby!
But seriously, where was this when I was living in London? C’est la vie de PeanutPimpMama!
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