“…bringing many different generations of women together in one room to share stories and memories, reminisce over old photographs, and enjoy the bonding ritual of afternoon tea.” – Melissa Placzek, Teatime magazine (March/April 2013: 55)
And bond we did as my best friend and I enjoyed a girls day out sipping mimosas and cups of tea, enjoying scones, biscuits, cookies, petit fours and savoury pastries and finger sandwiches at Desserts Trends & Bistro (DT Bistro) on Harbord Street one sunny, beautiful Saturday afternoon. Surrounded by flowers, vibrant paintings and cushy seats bathed in creams and cappuccino browns, we laughed,
took too many photos (scratch that, that’s not possible in my world), talked about our friends, our family, and memories.
We argued over who would get the last finger sandwich and the last petit four (“no, YOU take it…no, you take it!”), we ordered mimosas on a whim, we drank so much tea we rolled out the patisserie like watermelons, we rummaged through our wallets and coin purses for those darn extra loonies and quarters to split the bill as evenly as humanly possible (the last time I stole the bill I chased down our server when she wasn’t looking and when she found out she tried to shove monies at me as we were leaving – it was about as aggressive as I’d ever seen her in our 13 going on 14 years of friendship) and we gushed about how much fun it was.
For 3 hours.
Yes, you read right. THREE HOURS. I’m not kidding. By the time we had paid our monies and were grabbing our bags, my best friend checked the time and gasped, “oh my gosh it’s 5!”. “IT’S FIVE?!” She looked at me. I looked back at her. We both wore the same incredulous yet amused expression. We sputtered giggles. “We stayed for the entire duration of afternoon tea!”
And it had truly felt like nothing.
I know a food blog isn’t a food blog without, well, food on it. And stories about food. And photos of food. But every so often, it’s worth it to step away from that – even for just half a post – to reflect. To reflect on why we food bloggers do what we do. I know we all have our own motivations, reasons and intentions, all of which make us who we are. But I can truly say, from the happiest corners of my heart, that blogging has transformed so many of my relationships for the better and created lasting new ones. And I continue to blog because it strengthens them.
It brings joy to my life when someone’s face lights up after I mention a great place I’ve been to that they love too and we then proceed to yap our mouths off about it. My heart swells with happiness and pride when a person comes back to me and thanks me for recommending a place. And it makes me so happy knowing I have made memory after memory after memory doing food-related things. And now, afternoon tea has proved no different: a tradition with the bestie has been born.
And really, Dessert Trends & Bistro (DT Bistro) is one of the most beautiful places to create those memories and make those lasting traditions and relationships. Their dining area is just all sorts of gorgeous and while I haven’t explored the 2nd floor, their website has indicated that a beautiful rooftop patio and garden exist, ripe for the lounging, eating, and relaxing. Known for their weekend brunch and of course, they’re desserts and catering, DT Bistro also offers afternoon tea service on the weekends from 2pm-5pm for $28 per person. Along with bubbly like wines and cocktails (bestie ordered a regular mimosa while I took the plunge and went after the lavender passionfruit variety), their afternoon tea offers 9 loose leaf tea options including such flavours as Blood Orange rooibos, Egyptian chamomile, Jasmine green tea, Royal Earl Grey, Genmai Cha (a Japanese fusion nutty puffed rice and green tea), and my pick, the Marrakech Mint, a blend of green tea, Moroccan mint, and bergamot.
Each person receives their own pot of tea with constant hot water refills throughout the meal with a set of savoury tea sandwiches, scones and biscuit cookies with cream, jam, and lemon curd, and sweet desserts a la petit fours. Now, a full afternoon tea follows somewhat of a consistent format that you would likely expect at any establishment, but it’s the execution and style that sets these tea services apart. It’s absolutely fascinating to see how the different presentations and interpretations play out on the tiered tray of yummies.
Windsor Arms makes their finger sandwiches in spiral, pinwheel style. Le Dolci does the triangles with the crusts cut off. Dessert Trends? A mish-mash of everything in the best way possible! You have the mushroom strudel wrapped in pastry, the sundried tomato and roasted goat cheese crostini, the seafood spring roll with crab and shrimp with mango and lime vinaigrette salsa dipping sauce, and the most adorable crispy, airy mini croissant filled with pickled fennel, sour cream and smoked salmon. What’s an afternoon tea without smoked salmon, yes? It was so very cool seeing such a wide assortment of savoury bites and was it ever delicious eating them!
Scones were accompanied by cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd and my word was the raspberry jam ever amazing! The lemon curd is a giveaway to me; I love everything lemon so it was a love no-brainer. But that jam. We were both taken aback at how yummy it was! Along with those scones sat shortbread cookies, pound cake, chocolate covered seed cookies and thumbprints.
And no afternoon tea is complete without dessert and lots of it! We were given an assortment of petit fours: a raspberry chocolate fudge tart, a creme brulee mini cheesecake, a rhubarb and tropical fruit cream custard, and a green tea eclair. It was all so beautiful, different, vibrant and colourful and aside from the delicious food, what really meant a lot was not feeling uncomfortable or rushed during our tea. Our teapots were refilled with smiles and not once did we feel like we were being shooed out. We left with happy hearts and full tummies, knowing this would be filed away as one of the most special, fun, and delicious afternoons ever.
Dessert Trends & Bistro (DT Bistro) is located at 154 Harbord Street by the corner of Brunswick Ave., between Spadina Ave. and Bathurst Street.