Last year, I noted there were some experiences in Las Vegas I’d missed out on because there was one reason or another that made doing them alone seem less than ideal. While I didn’t mention it in that article, one of those things was afternoon tea—not just a cup of tea in the afternoon, mind you, but the whole “English Tea” experience of tea, sandwiches and pastries. After doing some research, it just seemed like the amount of food that accompanied high tea was overwhelming.
I’m a light eater. There was just no way I’d be able to eat it all. And after having it drummed into my head about a million times during my childhood that there were “children starving in Third World countries,” I hate wasting food.
But as these things often go, once you put a thought like that out there for the world to read, the next thing you know, someone is saying “Hey, I’d like to try that too!” In this case, that someone was my friend Julie from San Francisco, who I had met at a Las Vegas Tweetup in December 2010. She happened to be in Vegas at the same time as me in September, so we made a reservation to check out the afternoon tea at the Petrossian Bar at Bellagio.
We made our appointment for 2pm, so that we could consider it a “late lunch”. (We figured we stood a better chance of eating as much as possible if we hadn’t had lunch beforehand. We were right.) When we arrived at the bar, we were ushered to the far right, an area I’d never really noticed before, even though it’s in full view of the casino. I was a little worried at first that its position right off the casino would make it noisy and distracting, which would spoil the ambience of the tea, but that wasn’t the case at all. I’m sure people were passing by the whole time, but I didn’t really notice them.
If I recall correctly, we were the first to arrive for an appointment for tea (though two other women showed up at a nearby table a while later). Everything felt the way I expected it to: Civilized. The table was covered in a white linen tablecloth (with matching napkins), pretty green-and-white china plates and cups and a silver tea strainer and 3-tiered platter for the pastries and sandwiches. Service was impeccable. I felt like such a grown-up.
There were loose leaf tea selections and bag tea selections. Loose tea selections included Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Jasmine Pearl and Oolong. The bagged tea selection included Monsoon Chai, Chamomile Blossoms, and a peppermint tea called “Relax,” among others.
I was so glad to see the bagged selections. I’m not a regular tea drinker, so loose leaf teas intimidate me a bit. The few times I’ve tried to use a tea strainer, it hasn’t worked out so well. And really, who wants to drink floaters? I ordered the Long Life Green Tea (a bagged tea), in hopes that it was a good omen. It was mellow and delicious, just the way I like my tea. I drank 3-4 cups of it.
For sandwiches, we had a choice of 4 regular and 4 open-faced finger sandwiches, all featuring spectacularly creative ingredients. Each of us was allowed to order 4 sandwiches total. I went with all the regular sandwiches. Julie went with two regular and 2 open-faced sandwich selections (the Watercress, Mint Mousse, and Cucumber on White Bread and the Smoked Salmon topped with Transmontanous Oscietra Caviar on Pumpernickel were the two open-faced sandwiches).
I enjoyed my selection very much. My favorites were the Smoked Chicken Waldorf Salad on Whole Wheat Bread and the Smoked Turkey, Brie and Black Grapes on Cranberry Bread. Fantastic! Next on my list was the Chickpea Panelle (more like hummus), Roasted Red Pepper, and Green Olive Mayo on Spiced Bread. The Bayonne Ham and Gruyere Cheese, and Dijon Butter on Rye Bread was surprisingly tasteless. Still, overall, the food was quite filling and the experience satisfying.
By the time I finished my sandwiches, I had little room for pastries, but they all looked so good, how could I resist trying some? The pastry selection was automatic with the tea (we had no choice over what we got) and included 2 scones and 3 pastries per person. Among the pastry selections were some chocolate selections, a creamy lemon pastry, and lovely fruit tarts. The scones were far better than any I’ve had in Vermont, that’s for sure. They came with butter, clotted cream, and lemon curd (quite tasty, albeit sticky).
Tea lasted a little over an hour. It gave us a chance to chat and catch up on our lives. We were in no rush to leave. No one at the Petrossian seemed inclined to rush us, either. There was another table with two women nearby who were also enjoying tea, but it wasn’t packed with people. What a shame. This really is a relaxing experience, so different from the action-packed, sensory-stimulation one normally has every minute in Las Vegas. I loved it.
We couldn’t finish everything, so I sent Julie home with the leftovers. I was leaving the next day, so I doubted I’d get to them.
Now for the answer to the most important question for you: Would I be comfortable doing this alone?
And the answer is: Yes, absolutely! Now that I’ve seen for myself the quantities of food involved and experienced how serene and relaxing it can be, not only could I do this alone, but I may have to build in “tea time” to every future trip! I think relaxing over afternoon tea while reading a good book on my Kindle sounds like a slice of heaven. But I’d probably want to make sure my hotel room had a refrigerator for leftovers. Because there would be leftovers.
Have you experienced afternoon tea in Las Vegas as a solo traveler? Where did you go? What was your experience like?
What You Need to Know:
Where: The Petrossian Bar, Bellagio (off the lobby)
When: Daily, 1-4pm (*note the time has changed; it used to be 2-5pm)
Call for Reservations: (702) 693-7111 ext. 6163
Cost: minimum $35 per person before tax and tip.
The amount of food was too much for a light eater, but Julie says she thinks it would be just the right amount for someone with a more typical appetite.