Augusta’s Tea Room makes for delightful afternoon experience
For adults, it’s a place of civility, charm and conversation. Ladies wear hats and are addressed as madam or miss.
For children, it’s a place of sweets, fantasy and, just maybe, manners. The youngsters can dress as a Knight of the Round Table, a fairy princess, a snow maiden or Peter Pan.
We’re talking about Augusta’s Tea Room, Grand Junction’s version of high tea.
Augusta Fix started the business last year in the converted attic of her Victorian home on Orchard Mesa. She also hosts children’s parties.
My friends and I — one had been to high tea at Herrod’s in London and the other, tea at the Brown Palace in Denver — didn’t know what to expect at Augusta’s.
We walked into a lovely room with damask-covered chairs and tabletops, vintage tea settings and murals of an enchanted forest. On the tables sat hand-scrolled place cards.
We immediately spied the collection of vintage hats and plopped them on our heads like girls playing dress-up.
It was something of a Pygmalion experience, as if we had been transported to a proper English country house.
Fix, with her crisp white apron, immediately offered to serve us a choice of three teas from a tray of fine china pots: Earl Grey, breakfast tea or some sort of berry tea.
Next came a three-tiered tray of sweet and savory pastries: Scones and muffins on the bottom, quiches and cheese and spinach turnovers on the middle tier and cookies, tarts and cheesecake squares on the top.
We wished for more savory pastries, as the sweet factor became somewhat overwhelming. Little cucumber or watercress sandwiches would have been great additions.
Fix appeared whenever a teacup was in want of a fill.
A woman sitting next to us brought two little girls, finely dressed already, who put on the array of hand-sewn children’s storybook costumes Fix has created for this purpose.
Topping off the afternoon — and the two hours went fast — were petit fours. Chocolate for the ladies and white chocolate for the children (a matter of potential stains, Fix said).
When the afternoon came to an end, we were presented with cachets, hand-lettered checks and a tissue paper rose. As we longingly gazed at the sweets we couldn’t consume in one visit, our hostess wrapped them up for each of us, plus a few tangerines, grapes and lemon tarts that we hadn’t seen before.
Her whimsy and creative details made the occasion special.
My high tea friends were impressed.
PASSION FISH: Sushitini, newly opened in Montrose, is hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner from 6–9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, to benefit Hilltop’s Tri-County Resources, which helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Tickets, $50 per person, include two drinks, hors d’oeuvres, sushi roll, teriyaki beef or salmon and dessert. Call 252-7445.
2011 ODYSSEY: Snowmass Restaurant Week, from Saturday through Friday, features lunch or dinner at 24 eateries for $20.11 per person or couple.
Some restaurants will offer a prix fixe selection. Go to http://www.snowmasstourism.com for details.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Cowboy & the Rose, a Grand Junction catering company, nearly swept the categories this year at the 9th annual Taste of the Grand Valley, winning best in show, best taste and best theme.
Colorado Legacy Coffee won the best beverage category.
QUOTE: “If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.” — Gladstone, 1865
# # #
Send ideas and tips to Tess.Furey@ gjsentinel.com.