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>Margaret's Hope Estate Darjeeling at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

A stroll along Half Moon Bay and an afternoon tea in the Ritz-Carlton's cozy library with mom and dad.

<- mom

The menu introduces the general h
istory of tea ("...It has been said that in 2737 BC, Sheng Nung, the Chinese Emperor, was banished to a remote part of Southern China. Poverty forced him to drink only boiled water. One day, when some leaves fell from a nearby tree into the saucepan he was heating, he was pleasantly surprised. The resulting infusion cleared his mind and relaxed him. He often drank it, naming it Tai (peace)...") and describes each tea in detail. (Margaret's Hope Estate Darjeeling, "the Champagne of teas with subtle Muscatel flavor and a wonderful aroma".)

Here's their "Royal Tea" menu.

Champagne, Laurent Perrier, "L-P", Brut, Tours sur Marne

Your choice of tea (see below)

Smoked Salmon with Saffron Cream, Salmon Caviar and Dill on Dark Rye Bread
Cucumber and Crushed
Pink Peppercorns, Dill Cream Cheese on Whole Wheat Bread
Sesame Chicken Salad, Apple and Currant Relish on White Bread

Egg Wedge with Paprika Mayonnaise, Onion Sprouts on White Bread

Caramelized Cashew, Cherry & Coconut Scone

Seasonal Fruit Tart
French Macaroon

Earl Grey & Raspberry Diamant
Olive Oil Cake with Apricot Confiture
Chocolate Fondant, Salted Caramel Ganache

Eclair Praline


California Strawberries served with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Grand Marnier

Fifty-Eight Dollars

The tea choices were: (unrelated links)
Yorkshire Gold

Scottish Breakfast

English Breakfast

Blue Sapphire

Afternoon Darjeeling

"Special Rare" Darjeeling, Margaret's Hope Estate

Earl Grey

China Rose Petal

Japanese Green Tea Whole Leaf "Imperial Gunpowder"


Jasmine Blossom Green Tea
Spiced Orange
Chamomile Flowers



"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."
-The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James


>disposable hot towels / icy cold napkins

Why don't we see this at every restaurant?

The server brings out a teapot and a little nubbin on a plate. What sits on this small plate is a wh
ite cylinder stub resembling a marshmallow, the size of five stacked nickels.

She pours steaming hot water onto this paper nubbin lying on its side, and voila, it expands tenfold lengthwise, the incredible Hulk-like, ready for you to unfold it.

Ooh, a hot napkin... and icy cold versions in summer.


>dragon beard candy

Koi Palace just south of San Francisco often features dragon beard candy demonstrations. Here are some still shots (taken on May 12th) of this fascinating craft. Notice the transformation from doughy-looking sugar paste to silken threads resembling silvery strands of hair.


>live sweet shrimp

Will I eat something on my plate which arrives at the table, um, still wiggling?

I will, and I have.

On our way to Sequoia National Park, we stopped for lunch at a sushi restaurant called MaRoo. (2075 W. Bullard Ave., Fresno, CA)

Apparently, Fresno is no culinary backwater.

amaebi (ama "sweet" + ebi "shrimp") came with a severed, but still moving, head. I imagined the two pieces of sushi topped with orange tobiko to be still throbbing with life.

The unmistakably fresh flavor and texture of the sweet shrimp (often called spot prawn) sushi was almost enough to swear off 'dead seafood'.

Okay, I didn't eat the impressive garnish while it was still kicking - the shrimp head was destined to be returned to the kitchen to become crisp tempura.

And okay, I didn't eat the deep-fried head either. Since I was cautioned not to go around eating shrimp heads, I donated it to my dad, and it was savored with gusto.

>Botan ebi - large sweet shrimp, heads deep-fried, Benkay restaurant, 2 India St. Portland, ME

>Sweet shrimp ceviche - ginger yuzu marinated raw sweet shrimp with avocado mousse and fried taro chips, Japonais, 111 E. 18th Street, New York, NY

So, having no reply to give
To what the old man said,

I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
And thumped him on the head.

--Haddocks' Eyes, Lewis Carroll