How to Holiday High Tea in the Pacific Northwest

Maybe you already high tea annually during the holidays, or maybe you’re eager to try out this tradition. Either way, these spots offer both classic favorites and innovative twists that make for a festive — and filling! — holiday experience. Read on to find out where to enjoy holiday high tea in the Pacific Northwest.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia
Seeking a side of glamour and grandeur with your tea? This is the place. Right smack in the middle of downtown, with a view of Vancouver’s skyline, the Fairmont’s Nutcracker Tea (December 20 + 21; $64 per person, $27 for children) includes delicate honey yogurt panna cotta, curried chicken finger sandwiches, crab cakes, and a live pianist playing favorites from the score of the ballet. And while you enjoy a glass of port, Prosecco, or wine, kids are treated to the Prince or Princess tea service with bubblegum tea, scones, and Black Forest ham and cheddar sandwiches — all in a building that genuinely looks like a castle. Someone cue the sugarplum fairies!

Holiday High Tea in the Pacific Northwest

Neverland Tea Salon, Vancouver, British Columbia
Neverland’s whole vibe is about whimsy, accessibility, and excellence. Accordingly, the High Tea service respects some traditions (the tea tower, small portions) and upends others (servers wear jeans and t-shirts and sport a relaxed attitude). Also central to the Neverland experience: food worth eating. “We’re not a place where the ambiance outshines what’s being served,” co-owner Terri Tatchell says. “Our food is actually worth indulging in.” To that end, the Holiday High Tea (offered through December 31, at $38 per person) features flank steak on focaccia with green peppercorn aioli, an insane macadamia and salted caramel brownie, and gooey sticky toffee bread pudding with brandied caramel sauce. Pots of tea are never-ending, and Neverland takes gluten- and dairy-free options seriously. In fact, the special order towers so closely resemble the standard ones that customers often think their requests haven’t been honored. “We want those with special needs to enjoy the full Neverland experience,” explains Tatchell. So while the ingredients have been tweaked, the taste is just as dreamy.

High Holiday Tea in the Pacific Northwest

The Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia
Here, the setting’s the thing. There are 55 acres of lush gardens, plus the dining room is located in the Butchart family’s Craftsman-style former residence. Admission tickets to the garden are required for tea, but they’re worth it because they grant access to ice skating, strolling carolers, and a proper carousel. The traditional High Tea (served through December 22; $33.75 per person) features classics including egg salad sandwiches with watercress and Cornish pastry. But it’s the Flavours of Christmas High Tea from December 22-27 ($39.50 per person, $18.95 for children) that really screams happy holidays. Heavy on regionally sourced items such as Salt Spring Island goat cheese brioche and a Dungeness crab salad sandwich, the festive high tea can also be paired with wines from three Vancouver Island wineries to make it a hyper-local experience. Pro tip: Make a late afternoon reservation for tea, but arrive early. That way, you get to appreciate the garden during daylight hours and also see it dressed up at night.

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Portland Dining Guide: 4 Delicious Neighborhoods to Get to Know in the PDX

Portland, Oregon, is one of America’s top cities for foodies. It was an early adopter of the trends you now see everywhere: farm to table, food carts, and locally-produced beers and spirits. Travel + Leisure ranked Portland as one of their top 10 food cities – ahead of New York and Chicago. Thrillist puts it in their five best places for great grub.

The sheer volume of amazing restaurants in Portland can make it tough to choose where to go first. To make the food scene less overwhelming, we scouted four neighborhoods that are home to some of the city’s best eateries for a delicious Portland dining guide. Focus your food tourism in these areas and you can’t go wrong.

PEARL DISTRICT

When Portland was making the transition from rough-and-tumble port town to hipster paradise, the Pearl District was one of the first neighborhoods that put it on the map. It remains a must-visit for anyone looking for quality noshes. Irving St. Kitchen combines Southern comfort food and classic French techniques with magnifique results. Peruvian food is still one of the hottest new cuisines to capture Americans’ imaginations in recent years, and Andina is the best place to get it in Portland. For more tips on the Pearl District, visit http://explorethepearl.com/. And click here to find more great restaurants near the Pearl District.

Portland Dining Guide

SE DIVISION

I lived off SE Division when I first moved to Portland in 2001, and it was tough to score a decent meal in the neighborhood. Today it’s known as Restaurant Row and is home to many of Portland’s best eateries. Ava Gene’s was named one of the country’s best new restaurants by Bon Appétit in 2013 and is still winning raves for dishes using the finest Northwest-produced veggies and meats.

If it’s fresh Pacific Northwest seafood you’re craving, B&T Oyster Bar is one of the best bets in town. You can also try to score a seat at Roe, which is located directly behind B&T. Their seven-course, prix-fixe menu is worth the splurge.

Portland Dining Guide

CENTRAL EASTSIDE INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

Another up-and-coming ‘hood in southeast Portland is the Central Eastside Industrial District. Don’t let the often-bland storefronts in this still-gritty area fool you; the food you’ll find inside these restaurants is truly special. Le Pigeon, a French-inspired restaurant with a firm commitment to sourcing from local farms, has been one of the city’s must-visit dinner spots for years. Also, Renata was voted 2015 restaurant of the year by The Oregonian newspaper. Its homey atmosphere and quality cuisine from two former French Laundry chefs are likely to help it remain a favorite. Italian restaurant Nostrana is helmed by Cathy Whims, who’s won more awards than you can shake a smoky rotisserie drumstick at and is absolutely worth a visit.

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2015 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America + 16 Delicious Instagrammable Dishes

The results of our most delicious annual awards are in! Work up an appetite and make a reservation at one of the OpenTable 2015 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Showcasing both new and established restaurants in some of the nation’s most rapidly growing dining destinations, the complete list features winning restaurants in 22 states and the District of Columbia, and includes Al’s Place in San Francisco, La Vara in Brooklyn, and Parachute in Chicago. The honorees show a commitment to local, sustainable sourcing and the creation of craft cocktails, soulful plates, many of which are finished in wood-fired ovens, and warm hospitality. Check out these 16 dishes from the winning restaurants that should be on every foodie’s must-try list.

Newer restaurants proved most popular, with a quarter of the eateries having opened in 2015 alone, and the majority of honorees were founded in the last five years. Restaurants serving American fare dominate the awards; however, the list represents cuisines from every corner of the globe, including Asian, Basque, French, Israeli, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian. Geographically speaking, New York has 12 winning restaurants, followed by California with 11, Texas with nine, and Minnesota and Oregon with eight each. Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania each have six honorees, while Washington boasts five. Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Virginia have three each. Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin all have two eateries. Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska, and Ohio are also represented.Continue Reading

New to the Network: Meet Ksandek Podbielski + Katy Millard of Portland’s Coquine

We’re excited to introduce a new Open for Business series, in which we spotlight inspiring restaurants that are new to the OpenTable network. Here, we talk to Ksandek Podbielski, who opened Coquine in Portland with his wife and business partner, Chef Katy Millard, this summer. 

coquineCoquine may have opened its doors just last month, but the brand has been thriving for the past two years, as Ksandek and Katy held pop-up dinners at farms, wineries and other locations in the Portland area. Owning a brick-and-mortar restaurant was always the ultimate goal, though, and when they finally achieved it they were armed with an already-loyal fan base. The word was out about Katy’s elegant but rustic, super seasonal, technically masterful cuisine, complemented by Ksandek’s wine and hospitality expertise in the front of house.

We talked to Ksandek all about the story behind the restaurant, how they built a brand and following, and everything they learned along the way.

Read more on Open for Business