Last Saturday the kids and I celebrated the second day of Chinese New Year with friends at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel. We’ve been going there for afternoon tea around Chinese New Year for the last few years, but this is the first year we’ve been there for their lion dance. The Peninsula also has a skating rink outside the Lobby Lounge. Maybe next year we’ll have time to go skating, too.
We all chose the Chinese afternoon tea, a special menu for Chinese New Year. The desserts on the top layer were glasses of mango pudding with tapioca and mango jellies. There were also a couple types of cookie. The second tier had crab wonton, a pork puff pastry, and an egg custard with crab (or another seafood?) in an egg shell. The bottom tier had salmon and cream cheese pies and shredded chicken in pastries used for cream puffs or profiteroles.
The egg dish was one of my favorites. It was so pretty and delicate.
At the bottom of the shell was an egg custard that had been cooked in the shell. My oldest doesn’t eat eggs and was away at school, but the Peninsula is so great about substituting for any food restriction. I don’t eat pork and said I would just give my pork pastry to someone else, but the Pen brought a separate tier of plates for my friend with food allergies.
This crab wonton was also one of our favorites. The flavors were intense even though the wonton was dainty.
We had a bit of a wait for our food, but hardly noticed since we were so busy talking and watching the lion dance. But the waiter still brought us out all these sandwiches from the regular afternoon tea menu.
When the lion appeared, everyone got up to get closer.
But the lion made its way around the Lobby and staff at the Peninsula passed around plates of lettuce for kids to feed the lion. We used this lion dance troupe for my older son’s high school graduation party and they have so many different lion costumes. We chose yellow for that party, but I also love this purple lion.
The Peninsula had other decorations around the hotel for Chinese New Year, like this orange tree.
Sometimes these lions are dressed up for sports teams, but at Chinese New Year they are au naturel.
The Peninsula always has a lion dance the Saturday after Chinese New Year. Their Chinese afternoon tea menu is offered longer than that, for about the first two weeks after the Chinese New Year.