Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Up in Arms

A few times a year, and especially in the miserable, freezing winter, I try to get to afternoon tea at the famed boutique hotel, the Windsor Arms. This chic and elegant bastion of Toronto the Good is a pleasant reminder of my youthful affluence, and a place I can pull out all the anachronistic mannerisms I so rarely have a chance to flaunt.

I lunched, with my great, long time childhood friend Hilary, on delightful spiral sandwiches topped with coral-hued caviar and amazing scones, clotted cream and pastries. It was a veritable festival of carbohydrates (though I did manage to eat my body weight in various permutations of cream).

Hilly, who arrived first, was shown into the fireplace room, to a choice table in the fray. But, with the wisdom that comes from being the mother (of a preschooler and a toddler) liberated from parenting for 3 short hours, she requested instead another table just as far away from a two-year old as we could possibly get! And when that Burberry-dressed little scamp started screaming, well, we were at the best table in the house.

The conversation wandered - as it does with old friends - to family and shared history. But we hit on the high-points of feminist parenting, the things we've managed to accomplish and the ways in which we continue to strive, the challenges and joys of daily life. I am so grateful to have her as my friend. She is a stalwart constant amongst shifting markers and tides and priorities. She is the object of my great affection and love and respect.

But, a propos of great design - this week's theme, here are a couple of photos of the tea salon:

These lovely teapots held aromatic lavender and rose blends.

Turns out, the Dupuis people were having a little diamond auction in the main restaurant next door to the tea salon:

At one point, I considered sneaking my way in, picking up a paddle and bidding 32 grand on a jewel. But then I remember I need to get WendyB that little Brigid Berlin pillow for her bday so I really should maintain a smidge of liquidity. Man, the recession is such a bore! :-)

Here's a shot of the hotel cocktail bar. This photo doesn't do justice but it's a silvery lavender colour.

And finally, here's a shot of Hilly on the street ouside the entrance. Not only does she look lovely, but it's a great shot of a very elegant coat her mother (perhaps the chicest woman in the world) recently bought for her as a gift. It's cashmere, vintage and Italian. Biggen up the picture to see it's gorgeous lines.


  1. That place looks lovely! And I love you for your vocabulary. Is that weird? It's just wonderful to read a blog post with words like 'bastion', 'anachronistic' and 'permutations' - I feel like the English language is such a beautiful thing, and it tends to get dumbed-down across huge swathes of the internet. So it's always a pleasure to visit you! :)

  2. The tea salon looks so elegant and ladylike - lovely (and definitely not for toddlers, and I should know). Your friend and her coat are beautiful!

  3. It looks opulent in the best possible way. Let's go there when I finally visit. Not enough scones and clotted cream in MY diet.

  4. Heaven. And I bet that tea tasted exquisite from those china pots. Tell me, without the slightest hint of racial stereotyping, Can Canadians make tea? (as in scald the pot, pour in loose leaves and let it steep etc) If so then I am thinking your afternoon was stylish heaven itself.
    (I am sOOOOOO with the staying away from Burberry clad toddler, you and your friend EARN your kid free time!!!

  5. Oh, that sounds suspiciously like high tea - i'm so jealous of people who have wonderful places like that to lunch, it looks beautiful and i wouldn't mind spending time in there at all :)

  6. Your friend and her coat are absolutely superb. I love her hair, and the sleeves on that coat.

    What a fun afternoon. I wish there was a decent tea place near me!

  7. I've had my share of toddler melt-downs in restaurants and it is SO, so lovely to be able to turn blind eye and deaf ear away from someone else's annoying child. Your tea time visit sounded lovely.

  8. I love the last shot just to see a bit of Toronto!

  9. Biggen up? I'm stealing that word!

    She is gorgeous. Gee I wish I had a girl friend to go out like that....

  10. Looks so elegante and yet comfortable.
    Great pictures.


  11. I stayed there one year for a literature conference. Doormen in full royal coachmen dress, if I recall?

    The coat on your friend (with gorgeous hair) reminds me of a Lia Baday coat that I coveted a couple of years ago. What's Baday's reputation as a designer in TO these days?

  12. Oops--just clicked on your link and determined that my hotel was definitely not in Yorkville. The King Edward, perhaps??

  13. Yeah, beyotch, where's my pillow?!?

  14. What a lovely day with a chic and fabulous friend. I must remember to do what you and friend do and ask for table far away from children. I haven't done a tea in a long time. There is a great place for tea that I will take you when you come. Checkers hotel has the best tea in L.A. Everything is perfection.

  15. Andrea: Thank you so much for that very meaningful compliment!

    Thanks Skye. It is a very elegant environment.

    Sal: If only they had pumpkin scones! :-)

    Ah, Hammie: We can't really make tea. I mean, we're better than the Americans :-) but not in your league.

    Jen: It is high tea indeed. Very worth going to.

    E: Hilary really is fantastically stylish! Come visit and have tea with us.

    Tessa: The child meltdown is tragic when you need a little space and leisure.

    Esme: Thank you.

    Kate: Come see more soon...

    Songy: I'm glad you like that word. I use it all the time!

    Thanks Seeker.

    Miss C: I think you are imagining the King Eddie or the Royal York, maybe.

    Wendy: It was supposed to be a surprise :-)

    Oooh, Belette: I'd love to go there with you. But we sit as far away from the kids as possible :-)