I've decided not to hold my contempt for Big Brown's investment owners against the horse himself and throw my OMG! There Might Be a Triple Crown Winner Belmont Stakes Tea. Thanks to TiVO, I was able to watch the Preakness after I was sure there were no new mishaps, and I've got to say I was impressed as all get out to watch Big Brown go loping past his competitors without breaking any apparent sweat.
I did the first Belmont Tea back when War Emblem looked like he might make history, then there was Funny Cide, and finally Smarty Jones. All fizzled when faced with the 1.5 miles of the Belmont. Afleet Alex had a great story, but only got two of the three races. Last year, I was knocked out by Rags to Riches and wished I'd had the party just to watch that filly take on the boys. But it is supposed to be a Triple Crown driven tea party, and I've only got so much energy to do the cooking and throw the bash.
I do it as a ladies only event (although Len will sometimes drop in to watch the race itself) and look at it as another of the "never too late to have a happy childhood" things. Wearing hats is encouraged. Dressing for an outing is fine, and a number of people have emulated the look of the Derby dress up in the past.
I encourage people to bring along tea dishes they like and to bring unusual teas to brew, but I'm usually in the kitchen for days in advance making things like lemon curd and faux Devon cream and shaped sandwich breads. I also make scones from a recipe I got from a cookbook published by a wonderful tea shop in Carlsbad, California which disappeared overnight, according to the locals. They are the best ever.
I've got a nice collection of books about taking tea and recipes from tea rooms all over the country and in Great Britain. Every year when we go to San Diego, a group of my women friends slips away from Comicon to try one of the local tea shoppes (current favorite: Tea on Chatsworth.) Locally, The Gilded Rose in Granada Hills is a nice place to go for tea, but I hear the Peninsula Hotel has a great tea room (though very pricey.)
Preparing a tea can be a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it. And I do so enjoy showing off my skills in the kitchen.