Minutes before we had to get in the car to make our 2:30 pm reservation for Russian tea at Headwaters restaurant at the Heathman Hotel, my 4-year-old daughter had a profound wardrobe crisis. I’d hyped up the fact that we were going to get dressed up for our mama-daughter tea date and she had her heart set on wearing a pink, sparkly dress her Nana had made. The only problem? She hasn’t fit into that dress for two years and change.

I explained (as patiently as I could) that while I was really looking forward to just the two of us having tea together, I *would* leave without her. Finally, she grudgingly chose a bright pink jacket to wear and we arrived right on time, thanks to the hotel’s valet parking.


As we entered the room and took in the glittering chandelier, place settings with silver tea strainers, and women with feathery fascinators pinned in their hair, Adela said, “Oh, this is fancy.”

Headwaters offers a choice of eight loose-leaf teas including, white, black, green and herbal. I went with the Bungalow black tea and Adela chose the chocolate peppermint tea. (Don’t be like me — do remember to use the strainer.) She loved the big cubes of raw sugar and stirring the optional jam into her tea.

I sampled the adult tea snacks, a three-tiered assortment of 12 sweet and savory small bites that are traditionally part of Russian tea ($38). I especially liked the mushroom piroshki, (a potato bun stuffed with mushrooms); the walnut stuffed eggplant roll; and the streopka, an homage to Chef Vitaly Paley’s grandmother’s sour cream and walnut cake.

And we were both delighted by the children’s plate ($16), which came with eight bites. It mixed the familiar (ants on a logs, cheesecake, carrot sticks) with the new (a fruit gelée, honey cake and a Georgian cheese bread with honey that Adela especially loved). She also relished tastes of the Ukrainian poppyseed roll and hazelnut torte from my assortment.

Pink dress fiasco notwithstanding, Adela was on her best behavior at the tea. I had been a little wary of the sheer amount of breakable items on the table, but she sipped her tea out of the fragile teacup very carefully. And I was eventually able to relax. (There aren’t age restrictions for the tea service, but keep in mind that the table is full of breakables, steaming hot tea pots and it’s not an appropriate setting for kids to be running around — which is why my 2-year-old son stayed home.) After we’d finished eating, Adela climbed next to me, put her arms around my neck and said, “I love when my mama takes me to tea.”


Russian tea service Saturdays at the Headwaters restaurant at the Heathman Hotel at noon and 2:30 pm. 1001 SW Broadway. Reservations required, 503-790-7752.

Tea Break

You’ll find the fixings for an English tea at the Hotel Deluxe, like scones with clotted cream and cucumber sandwiches. Thursday through Sunday. Reservations required, 503 -820-2063. 729 SW 15th Ave.

Pick and choose your tea-time snacks or order one of the platters for afternoon tea at Medley Teahouse. 2pm–5 pm. 7881 SW Capitol Hwy.

The Tao of Tea features more than 100 varieties of tea and a host of a la carte international bites
from samosas to spanakopita and mooncakes to macaroons. 3430 SE Belmont.

Denise Castañon
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