Monday, July 18, 2011

Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel

Oh my, have I been waiting a long time to post about this. Let me start at the beginning:

 In the Feb 2010 issue of VegNews, they did a small feature on must-see veg-friendly places in Chicago. The one that intrigued me the most was the Peninsula Hotel.
 I have been meaning to go there for a year and a half and yesterday my friend Charisse and I finally went!! Yippee!

It was such a nice day, perfect for vegans who want to be fancy!
 We had 4:30 reservations. FYI, Afternoon Tea times are Monday thru Friday 3pm-5pm, Saturdays 2:30-4:30pm, and Sundays from 4-6pm. The hotel is so nice inside, I felt like a celebrity or something (I don't do stuff like this often, can you tell??)! 
There are much better pictures on the Peninsula's website...check it out here! Tea is served in The Lobby. Anyway, so the place was just filled with natural light and we were lucky enough to get a window seat. We could see the Hancock right outside, pretty cool.
View from our table!
 Unfortunately their vegan Afternoon Tea menu isn't available to view online. But that's why I'm here, folks! Got a pic for ya:
Now I'm a coffee lover at heart, but check out their list of teas from the main menu!
I told the waiter that I just couldn't decide between coffee or tea so I'd like some of both. Yeah, I'm that person I guess. The price includes one pot of tea per person, so Charisse went with Mandarin Rose Petal and I went with the Lapsang Souchong after the waiter's suggestion. He said the Lapsang Souchong has a "smoky campfire" kind of smell and taste. It sounds kinda funky but it was really good! I'd recommend it. Charisse didn't care for it much though, for the record. The Mandarin Rose Petal was awesome as well, I really enjoyed that. And here's our lovely vegan treat plate!

I'm so sorry for my less-than-stellar photos! After looking at our plates for a second we realized that the menu differed slightly from the food that we actually got. I'm not complaining, just wanted to note that. On the bottom we had our firm tofu with asparagus, a pumpernickel-arugula wrap and what looked like grilled veggie sandwiches. Here's the sandwich closeup. 
Charisse and I liked this best of all from the bottom plate. Oh and speaking of Charisse, she opted for champagne along with her tea, which is an option...just wanted to let ya know!
On the middle plate there were what looked like lemon-poppyseed scones, but they had more of a bread-like texture, so I'm not sure if they were scones or bread? I really liked them, though! Very light and subtle flavor. And on the top plate we had brownies, "fruit sparklers", mini peanut butter muffins, white chocolate and dark chocolate dipped strawberries (which were divine, by the way), and chocolate chip cookies. Overall, everything was just wonderful. The food, the tea, the coffee, the music (violinist and cellist, how cool!), the weather, the atmosphere...couldn't have been better! Sidenote: We were in there for quite a while though and we both got a bit bring a light sweater if you go in the summertime. 

After we finished our plates, our waiter came up to us and said that The Lobby normally offers its guests a dessert after their afternoon tea (kinda odd, we pretty much had two plates of nothing but dessert!) but it was a non-vegan dessert today. So he went ahead and brought us sorbet instead. How nice of him! Ugh and of course I didn't get a photo! But he brought us a scoop of passion fruit and a scoop of coconut. Both were delicious!! 

This whole experience has definitely made my list of top 10 must-do things in Chicago for any and every vegan, either living or visiting here! I enjoyed it so much, I will without a doubt go back again one day. Please do yourselves a favor and make sure to check this place out! I really think you'll love it. 

Thank you VegNews for writing about this place! I had a great time!

The Peninsula Hotel
108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
312-573-6760 (That's the direct number to The Lobby)


  1. I had no idea there was a vegan afternoon tea anywhere in Chicago. I can't wait to try this! Thanks for reporting :-)

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I'm definitely adding this to my to-do list.

  3. Cadry sent me here :) I was a bit letdown by The Waldorf Astoria Chicago management/customer service despite the positive experience with the Chef. The tea service looked amazing!