I rarely leave the house on a Saturday. While others are hitting the supermarkets and home stores, I am in my pajamas, firmly planted on the couch with the TV remote glued to my hand.
My best friend and housemate, Lynne Firth, approaches her Saturdays like an army general planning a military operation. She maps out the different stores she needs to hit within a certain number of hours, then gathers her reusable bags and walks out the door with a determined look on her face.
She usually visits at least two supermarkets and then moves on to the home stores, happily immersing herself in the world of storage containers for hours on end.
Last Saturday, however, something magical happened. The planets aligned, dog and cats became best friends, Thomas Markle stopped talking to the press and I decided to venture outside.
Lynne couldn’t believe her ears, but she wasn’t going to question me lest I realized what day of the week it was. Part of the reason I’m not keen to go out on the weekend is the money I’ll spend. What I don’t know won’t hurt me, yet once I’m faced with lots of new items I didn’t know were available on the island, my eyes glaze over and I’m suddenly the new owner of everything from sidewalk chalk to designer brand shower gel.
The pair of us headed out in my Ford Expedition, which offered lots of cargo space in case we decided to buy a chair or an elephant. I was quite enthusiastic at the beginning. The whole island looked different on a Saturday and people seemed happier. By the time we had got to the third store, however, my energy was beginning to wane. I was tired of defending my choice of containers to Lynne, who stared at me like I was losing my mind when I suggest we buy the large ones with tops that only had two clips instead of four and weren’t airtight. Were we planning to take them on a sea voyage? Why did she have to be so fussy? Besides, mine were discounted.
I rebelliously bought four of the ones I liked and we headed off to our next stop: Every Bloomin’ Thing. Apparently they were having a sale, so, of course, we had to take a look.
After grabbing a number of things I hadn’t known I couldn’t live without until just then, I suddenly felt my tummy rumble. Nothing had passed my lips since the night before and I was now very aware of an empty stomach.
“Why don’t we see if the tea room is open?” Lynne suggested.
I have known about the Every Bloomin’ Thing tea room for years, but I don’t think I have ever actually indulged. It seemed like a very good idea at that moment – why not?
It was indeed open, and we were led to a lovely little table away from the shop’s temptations, sporting a sugar bowl and a teapot full of flowers, along with two menus.
The sandwiches here are heartier than the usual finger sandwiches you find at fancy teas, which suited me just fine. A sliver of bread and cucumber was not going to assuage my hunger; I needed something more substantial.
All of the sandwiches appealed to me, from the Canterbury Club with roasted chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomato to the Cheese and Pickle, featuring that truly British condiment, Branston Pickle. There were also toasted sandwiches on the list, some salads, quiche and soups.
Serious deliberation ensued, and I finally settled on the Crunchy Egg sandwich. Its moniker suggested the possible presence of some rogue eggshell, but in fact it referred to the red and green peppers and cucumber mixed with hard boiled egg and mayonnaise atop some cheese and all nestled betwixt slices of soft bread.
Lynne went with the toasted Roasted Chicken sandwich and could barely contain her delight at the selection of teas. She went traditional with Earl Grey and I had a pot of the Berry Berry. Naturally, we couldn’t resist ordering scones with cream and jam, as well. Oh yes, and I ordered a fresh lemonade.
Every table has its own little bell, and guests are asked to ring it for service. What with the teapots, the scones and the bell, it all felt very Downton Abbey.
I did wonder if I should have ordered two sandwiches, considering my appetite and the fact that everything looked so delicious, but when the plate arrived before me I knew I’d be just fine. The sandwich was nicely crammed with the egg mixture and was exactly what I wanted. Lynne’s sandwich was also a good helping, and she ended up asking for a takeaway box so she would have room for her scone.
The teas in their individual pots were soothing and delightful; we were both in our glory.
To the scones!
You know when you get a scone and the cream is too light and fluffy – like shaving foam? Or there isn’t enough cream, or there is only a smidgen of jam? Such meagerness can ruin a good tea.
I am happy to report that this is not the case at Every Bloomin’ Thing. The cream was of the thick, heavy Devonshire variety and there was an ample helping of jam. We were enjoying a substantial lunch and it was one of those wonderful unplanned events.
We discovered that you can book the tea room for private events and that it is open seven days a week. By the time we had paid the bill, I was already thinking of who I could take there. My mother would probably love it, and then my friend Carol, my sister…
We could have gone on to further shops after our tea, but it is amazing how a full stomach will talk you out of almost anything. Did I really need groceries? I had a can of SpaghettiOs and an old bagel somewhere in the house. That would do me for the weekend and besides, my pajamas were calling.
The Tea Room at Every Bloomin’ Thing is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 945-1701 to book or for takeout. Visit www.ebt.com.ky/the-tea-room for more information and menus.