The Women’s Club of Minneapolis. A building I’ve often driven past and wondered what exactly goes on in there. Thoughts of private membership, secret societies and cloaked sisterhoods float through my overactive imagination. A few weeks ago, it was to my surprise and delight that I saw an event posting for an Afternoon Easter Tea at the club. However, it was not that near to Easter or on a Sunday. I immediately shot the link over to a friend and she responded, “I’m in!”
It was the type of event that would allow us to dress up. Goodbye men’s pants and polyester uniform shirts! So long hard hats and steel toed boots! It’s time to break out the spring dresses, the florals and the high-heeled shoes we bought with such high hopes and yet have been gathering dust in the closet. We’re thoroughly filled with glee to act and look like girls for an occasion. (With an added plus that we won’t have to put up with getting hit on. It’s a women’s club, isn’t it?)
On Saturday, the weather is warm. My fears of being too cold fall away as I step out the door. I’ll be able to leave the denim jacket in the car. It’s too casual for tea anyway. The clubhouse is located overlooking Loring park and I was a bit worried about parking. Worried, unnecessarily of course. They have their own parking lot hidden out of the way. We’re early…as usual, we joke about hoping we don’t have to run as I slip my foot back into my wedge sandal.
“Well, if anyone attacks us, this shoe is heavy enough to throw at them,” I say. We climb the front steps and enter into a gorgeous foyer. Woodwork, stone, plush carpets abound. Yes! A front desk! Just what we need to know we’re not completely in the wrong place. We walk through the spacious and grand lounge, past a small bar to the dining room. We are seated at a small round table for two. Did mention we’re early?
“Do you er, maybe want to get a drink?” my friend says tentatively. I’m hesitant. We are here to drink tea after all. We hem and haw. Take a trip to the ladies’ room and consider our options. The stairs separate and we each take a flight. That way, if one of us falls at least there won’t be a double casualty. I feel obligated to also add that women’s clubs know how to do bathrooms. There was a lounge with seating, vanity and mirrors. The stall door had two locks on it. I was tempted to go selfie crazy with the full length mirror. I mean, it’s not often I’m dressed to the nines.
We stop at the bar for a glass of white on the way back. “I mean I just want an excuse to drink in the morning,” my friend says. I have to agree, but it’s almost noon anyway. We end up sipping wine through the first course…oops, but several of the other ladies had wine and cocktails too! We fretted over which fork we were supposed to use. Start from the outside in, isn’t it? There were five courses and only three forks. When are we supposed to keep them? This wasn’t covered in any of the books on English Aristocracy and the Help that I’ve read. Half way through tea a waitress comes out with fistfuls of fresh forks. A bit of a faux pas, but at least we weren’t crazy about there not being enough forks at our place settings.
The food was delicious. The courses swiftly came and went. It consisted of:
– Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta on Grilled Country Bread
– Candied Salmon Deviled Egg
– California Chicken Salad, Pecans, Grapes, Avocado Spread, Wild Rice Cranberry Bread
– Grilled Shrimp, Asparagus Risotto, Pancetta Crisp
– Spring Fruit Tartlet
Each course was light, yet filling and flavorful. Hot tea was delivered promptly and refilled consistently. It was such an enjoyable setting, it’s a bit of downer that we can’t afford the cost of membership. I’ll still be interested in events open to the public and perhaps on one of those occasions I’ll catch a glimpse of the cloaked sisterhood. Also kicking myself for not taking a single photo to remember the occasion.