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I’m Mari.
On Marivelous Me! you’ll find recipes, food gifts, food I’ve traveled for and food solutions. Poke around, maybe you’ll find inspiration for something you’re working on. Enjoy! 

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Friday
Nov302012

British Invasion: Tea & Sympathy

How would I describe Tea & Sympathy? It's cozy? Sure... It feels like home? Maybe... if I were British and visiting me Mum that once ran a pub. I discovered Tea & Sympathy when I lived around the corner from it during college. It's chock-a-block full of teacups, teapots, glazed calico clothed tables, trompe-l'oeil bookshelves, images of British royals and an array of British memorabilia. The tables are so squished together, the place must be grandfathered against some fire code. It's a minimalist's nightmare but it's perfect. It's snug and cozy and as much as Mr. Mari hates cramped spaces, we go to Tea & Sympathy for brunch almost too frequently. Almost.

Today's musical accompaniment is from The Style Council: You're The Best Thing, which I dedicate to my husband, Mr. Mari. 'Nuff said, just come back to read the rest...

The clincher dish for me is the Welsh Rarebit. Oh, tralala - how happy it makes me. If you've never had one, first off, there's no meat at all. It's similar to a open-faced grilled cheese sandwich - but soo much better. Instead of just a slice of cheese that's been grilled (boring!), imagine a Mornay sauce: A béchamel sauce mixed with English farmhouse cheddar and mustard, on top of a slice of white or seven-grain bread. The sauce is heated to the point a thin toasted crust has formed. But the happiness doesn't stop there. Three gorgeous slices of tomato lounge ever so tenderly on this cheese pillow, while a small cherubic tuft of watercress keeps watch from the side. I don't know where Nicki gets her tomatoes but they are good all year 'round. Add a little Branston Pickles to the mix and we are two very happy campers. 

On the rare occasion we venture off our usual path and try something else, there are plenty of traditional British staples like (Heinz) baked beans on toast and scones served with clotted cream and jam. There's even a proper Afternoon Tea served during weekday lunches but for a full-on stuff your face and take a nap kind of brunch, you need to order the Full Monty: Scrambled eggs served with English bacon, a banger, grilled tomato, white or 7-grain toast, fresh orange juice, and your choice of coffee or a pot of tea. Oh yeah. 

This time around, I ordered Bangers and Mash. It comes with a pond of onion gravy so the whole thing looks like two chubby legs sticking out of a crinoline skirt, dancing at night. I believe they get their bangers from Myers of Keswick too, so double yum. 

As wonderful as the food is, due to its size and New Yorkers being New Yorkers, the restaurant can get a little crazy. Rules were made and are enforced: Incomplete parties need to wait outside - even in the rain or snow. You're a party of three seated at a table that can seat four - you might be asked to move, mid bite. They're quite polite when asking but stern and enforce the rules. We've gone umpteen times and soo many people don't think the rules on the door apply to them. Let's be clear: Nicki's been doing this for quite some time. You don't like it? I imagine her response might be something like, "Belt up and sod off." I like her style. 

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