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"Karen's Restaurant Revue" airs on May 27 and June 3, 2 different shows, both at 8:30PM on Time-Warner Cable, Channels 98, 77, or 3. Check your local listings for stations in your area.



I have long been a fan of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, from attending the Golden Globes and all its parties on the same premises here, back to the good old days of airline counters on the lower level.

I recently had a delicious lunch in Circa 55 and while there, asked someone if they ever considered serving afternoon tea. To my surprise, the answer was that they had just started in December! Since I hadn’t read about it anywhere, I rushed right over to be the first reviewer of it. And I’m happy to give it a definite thumbs-up.

It’s served in the Lobby Lounge, which is the perfect location. You get to be classy and nosy at the same time, since you can face the massive, all-glass front doors of the hotel.

The whole experience is absolutely lovely. All the components of the actually table setting are gorgeous, down to the silver holders for the individual jars of jams and marmalades.

And Rex, our server, couldn’t have been more accommodating, including going above and beyond when one of my guests suffered a slight phone trauma away from our line of sight. (This may be news to some of you, but it’s rude to talk on the phone at restaurants, or any time you’re with others, so she had to go elsewhere when her phone rang. After a while, Rex came to let me know she was elsewhere, and seemingly having a somewhat hard time. Very sensitive of him.


They serve the usual three courses (finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and sweets) with individual pots of Harney and Sons teas, which are particular favorites of mine. But they put only the first two courses on the tiered trays, and bring the desserts separately, which is a bit better than the norm. That way, my guests had to eat more slowly, which is the manner in which afternoon tea should be enjoyed.

In the food category, all of us declared the asparagus and boursin cheese mini-sandwich the winner of the first course. There were so many bite-sized desserts that it’s hard to choose among them, but the tuxedo-dressed chocolate-dipped strawberries disappeared the quickest.

None of us were in love the scones, but they could have just been not great on that particular day. I mentioned that to the powers-that-be there, so they may change them up in the future. They certainly didn’t detract from the fabulous experience, though. As a matter of fact, half of my pals hadn’t ever taken tea before, and I’m afraid that the Beverly Hilton may have spoiled them for all others that may come after. (As Mr. X did for me, if ever we break up and I have to get another boyfriend. Bite my tongue.)


We all floated out of there, with just enough pep left to take a gander at the hotel setting-up for a black-tie event, featuring Barbra Streisand, to be held in the ballroom (on the same level as the tea) beginning the next hour. When I saw the goodie bags being rolled in, I knew I had to leave right then, or I would have to stay the night to see what was in them. No matter, cause their contents couldn’t hold a candle to those of my doggie bag from afternoon tea!

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