Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz Carlton

A Teddy Bear Tea is not a tea where you have to bring your teddy bear. It is not a tea where you make a teddy bear. The San Francisco Ritz-Carlton's Teddy Bear Tea is a holiday extravaganza complete with Binky the Elf singing pop songs and directing an impromptu orchestra of children, a human-size teddy bear walking around to hug boys and girls, a pianist accompanying all the songs and of course, high tea (or hot chocolate depending on your size).

My girls were mesmerized. Actually, first they were starving because the tea started at 1 pm and I didn't want them to snort over their plate of bite-size sandwiches and cookies. Therefore light lunch. Therefore big appetite at the table. They both exclaimed "Oh, vitamins!" when they saw the gummy bears on their plate and devoured them, without even glancing at the teddy bear cookie or miniature cupcakes. My plate was more sophisticated but not quite up to the quality of the Fairmont Hotel where I'd been the previous month.
Say, I could have used some Devon cream with my scones instead of whipped cream. I love Devon cream with my scones. Never mind the cream. The real crime was offering me Breakfast Tea at 1 pm. I'm a die-hard tea fan and I don't understand how a five-star hotel cannot offer better than mint tea, chamomile tea or breakfast tea at 1 pm when the bill comes up to a hefty $75 per head. Now the entertainment part.

This being San Francisco, Binky the Elf was a Tim Curry in green pants and pointy shoes. Honestly, what elf sings "The Age of Aquarius" from the soundtrack of Hair with more gusto? As he changed props for each new song, Binky the Elf donned pink wigs, sunglasses, platinum blonde long hair, curly hair and would have put to shame any good old drag queen show in the Castro. My daughter was a bit confused but I was in tears. He was so funny and talented. His impersonation of Hairspray songs or Dream Girls songs were hilarious. I understand why my 4-year-old was puzzled but I loved it. My 2-year-old on the other hand was throwin a major tantrum and herself on the floor. Tea is not a toddler's favorite past time. Never mind. Now I'd actually like to try out other holiday teas. It's fun!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We attended the teddy bear tea on Sunday 12/14/08 at 1pm. There were 9 of us, 6 children. I can't tell you how appalled we were at the quality of food, or lack there of, and the poor entertainment. For being the Ritz and paying $100+ a head, the music sheets were rumpled, tattered, and copies of a fax probably 17 times over. For being catered to children, besides the gummy treats, the sandwiches were not kid-friendly, and the hot choolate tasted like chocolate flavored water. Moreover, the Elf sang Boy George, Gos-Gos, Wham etc when a multitude of other carols could have been sung. I'm perplexed for the Ritz being known as an elite place to dine and be that this would be acceptable. It wouldn't take much to make this an outstanding event that would compel people to return again, albeit very pricey considering adults got about 6 mouthfuls of food and one scone. I was embarassed to have invited others to be a part of this special occasion and have them walk away in shock over the subject matter and cost.

Laure said...

Thank you for your feedback. While I am not very surprised at what you say on the music part (last year's was in the same vein), the catering is definitely a huge disappointment. I much prefer more traditional events. The Fairmont tea isn't bad actually. On Thursday I'm headed to The Secret Tea Garden in the inner Richmond. I understand the kid sandwiches are poorly executed but the scones are outstanding. Maybe they will teas outside of tea bags? It's $20 per head so if there is any disappointment, I won't be as upset.