I learned to love afternoon tea while taking a gap year last year. While there are many afternoon tea options in downtown Chicago, I wanted to try our Evanston option at Patisserie Coralie on Davis Street.
You have to make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance to book your table. Afternoon tea is available at $29 per person from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Saturday. The menu is fixed, but they can definitely accommodate gluten-free and vegetarian options.
When you walk in at your reservation time, you will see your tables set up with pretty china. There is always French music playing inside, which will get you right in the mood for afternoon tea.
Your server will first bring you the tea options. Patisserie Coralie is partnered with Benjamin Tea Company, a Chicago-based company that specializes in hand-cut gourmet tea.
There are 14 hot tea options and 4 cold tea options available, and each person gets to choose their own flavor.
I chose the "Love" tea, which is a tropical, fruity tea with pieces of pineapple, papaya and mango. Some of the other fun flavors include Temple of Heaven (with apple, strawberry, cinnamon and ginger) and Pearlicious.
After the server brings out the tea, this dessert tower is set at your table. There are sandwiches at the bottom, mini-cakes and madeleines in the middle and macarons at the top. Because the portions are pretty small, you will be able to try everything without feeling bloated.
My favorite was the Café Crème - which is the French twist to a classic tiramisu with an added layer made of homemade caramel and hazelnut topping.
It's so easy to overlook the things we have available here in Evanston while we busy ourselves at school, but sometimes we should indulge ourselves in some classy down-time without having to spend a fortune.