Ladies Who Lunch

I was six or seven years old the first time I went to New York City. I think it was a birthday present or something -- I went with my mother and my grandmother to see my very first Broadway show. It was my very first bus trip, my very first "grown-up" adventure. We went to Beefsteak Charlie's somewhere in Manhattan for lunch, and on the way home we stopped at a restaurant called Three Sisters where I had eggplant parmagiana for the first time that I remember, and we saw a matinee of "Annie."

Rockefeller Center, ca. 1980

While we were wandering around the city, whether it was on the bus or by foot I cannot say, but at one point we passed the Russian Tea Room, and that was the first time I was introduced to the concept of actual tea time. And I thought to myself: "This is awesome. When I grow up, I am going to do this all the time. I am going to be fancy. I am going to be a fancy Broadway star."


I was in love with New York City for a while, but as I got older and more anxious around large groups of people, my ardor softened. I don't really like big cities now -- I am very much a suburban girl at heart -- and NYC is different than it was when I was a kid. I always thought I would visit all these famous places, but Windows on the World is gone now, since 9/11 happened, and Tavern on the Green has closed. We had a bad experience on a bus trip once, and my husband hates being on the train, surrounded by Yankee fans.

Sweet Memories Mantel

I still love tea, though, and when I have a chance to go to tearooms for brunch or whatever, I jump on the opportunity. Like I did this weekend, when I went to a tearoom in Emmaus with a girlfriend. This is our favorite place to go when we meet up for lunch.

Sweet Memories Dollhouse

It's funny that I would feel so comfortable in a place that is all pink and white and gingham and Victorian when I claim to hate all the trappings of girlishness, but I guess that even to a tomboy such as myself, there are situations in which these things are acceptable -- desirable, even. I don't think it's just because this place has great food and the absolute best Coconut Cream Cake in the world, either.

Girl Cookie

Maybe it's because I remember when I was still a little girl, and I still thought I was going to grow up to be a fancy Broadway star, and anything was still possible. Maybe it's because when you're drinking Earl Grey over Sunday brunch, nobody cares that you're only an average singer at best, and that you're too short and fat and uncoordinated to be a Rockette. Maybe it's because everything else changes, but teatime stays the same. Maybe it's because it's a special girly thing that someday, someday soon, I will share with my own fancy little girl, and thus the circle will be unbroken.

But it could be the cake. I love cake.


  1. i love cake, too.

    and we should talk about new york. at christmastime. the bus isn't that bad, and no yankees fans :-)

  2. ZOMG cake and rockettes would be AWESOMESAUCE.

  3. I love cake too! I would be up for a bus trip at Christmas time

  4. Maybe we'll go next Christmas -- don't want you schlepping all over NYC while you're heavy with child. I don't know where to find any mangers in Manhattan!

  5. we can do whatever i prefer cookies