The Ten Ingredients Filtered by the Tea Strainer at The Ritz.
One of the questions most oft demanded of me is, Oi! Johnny! Mate! That tea at The Palm Court of The Ritz was bloody amazing, but why’d they have to pour the tea through that strainer. The ladies that used to come around at lobby’s when lobby’s was still lobby’s never had to pour my sweet tea into any kind of strainer. So, what, exactly, they ask of me, did that filter catch to make the tea so delicious when they poured it into my cup.
1) Crushed Ambien. Oh, the good people steeping the tea at The Ritz know all about your sleepless nights steeping in anticipation of this, the most elegant, glamorous time of your life.
2) Lint. Because, look, it’s not the cheapest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s not the most expensive, either. I mean, really. So you have empty pockets for the rest of the day because the day’s budget is blown at tea but come on, you would have just spent that much money throughout the day on mediocre food and drinks and entertainment you would have just forgotten anyway. So instead of rolling all that lint from your empty pockets between your fingers like a western rolls a fading tumbleweed between scenes, the good people at The Ritz have strained out that lint for you as a reminder to balance out the day’s budget with a nice and cheap apple brambly pork sandwich at borough market, or, speaking of living like a royal at tea at The Ritz, a picnic at regency park that you can buy with the quid or two that you have left for the day.
3) Gravel. So you used up your day’s cab fair at tea at The Ritz. Big fu*&kin deal. Hit a little pavement. I’ll tell you something about London. It doesn’t get the strolling credit it deserves. I’ll give you an example: Chinatown. It’s on the way to your play on the west end. Stumble into a random place in Chinatown and be the only English-speaking bloke in the place. The authenticity still exists. For another: the crunchy first bite at the bar along the slightly dirty glass windows of a local chippy. It’s white glove slap across the face level of satisfaction. There were Londoners waiting out the door, and you spent a few quid at tea, so you spent what was left on cheap, local eateries for the rest of your day or two. Don’t worry about the gravel in your walking shoes.
4) Dust. You won’t need any reminder that while at tea at The Ritz, you’ll have left quite a few other travelers in this. They know it. You’ll know it. Strain it out.
5) Loose tea leaves. I prefer jasmine at a place like this. I asked my waiter once what Mr. Darcy would order and he said jasmine so that’s what I get when I go to afternoon tea. There’s something refreshing and pleasant about it. I mean, if we’re all being honest, it’s like what Michael Scott said about selling paper to Jim after telling him what they are really selling is success. The tea, like paper, is kind of secondary.
6) Heart. Your friends will be dining upon their own when the pictures of this day drop, but not you.
7) Wads of crumpled receipts from the forgettable meals and drinks for which you would have otherwise paid.
8) Bits of lead from a mechanical pencil borrowed from the flight attendant as you furiously scratch into the plane napkin everything you did on your trip. You don’t have to ever worry about forgetting this one.
9) Rouge. The opulence flushing your cheeks bright red is au naturel. It might be once in your life, sure, but British pomp and circumstance, it turns out, isn’t just for kids who happened to be born in the right order to the right family who won the right battle because they had the right horses against the right French on the right year under the right king four hundred years ago and so now inherited the right title. That kind of fun is all yours for the day, my lord.
10) Tacks. Commonly used to post up movie or seasonal based gimmicky afternoon tea advertisements to the outside of tiresome hotels with tiresome waiters and tiresome lighting in tiresome dining rooms that last week were hosting bi-annual sales seminars. You’ll find only real and old but timeless and true and tested at The Ritz, my lord