Last night I was drinking my usual cup of tea and thought to myself how I never have tea-time anymore.  When I was abroad in Scotland you would see the cafes flooded with folks who were taking a moment out of their busy schedule to have a proper scone, clotted cream, and a nice cup of tea.

Though if you really want to go all out and get a proper afternoon tea there are a bunch of places in NYC that provide this luxury to those who are willing to set aside a few hours for the consumption and enjoyment of tea.

Casablanca: If you’re looking for a pot of estate Darjeeling and scones this is not your tea spot. If on the other hand you’ve ever wanted to order Moroccan mint tea or peach oolong and nibble on spicy olives while feeding your significant other chicken phyllo triangles you are in luck. Location:  They are at 164 Mercer the back-end of the store.

Danal: With the smells of good cooking, the jazz singer on the stereo, the old French farmhouse tables and chairs to match the French regional food, and a verdant back garden, Danal seems to be very far away from the Big City. There are comfy couches by the fireplace (it’s an artificial blaze, unfortunately) and lots of objets scattered around-photos in frames, candlesticks, pitchers. Choose from more than 20 teas offered with scones, tea sandwiches and desserts. Location: 90 E. 10th St. New York, NY 10003. Tel:(212) 982-6930

Lady Mendel’s Tea Salon: Some people find nothing more romantic than afternoon tea, especially at a place like Lady Mendl’s. Tea is served Wednesdays through Fridays at 3pm and Saturdays and Sundays, with seating at 2 and 4:30 at $30 a person. Location: 56 Irving Place, near 17th Street, New York, NY. Tel:(212) 533-4600

Sarabeth’s: High Tea served Monday thru Friday. “The perfect marriage of American Art and the best of American food. A perfect New York day! Multiple Location: Sarabeth’s (West) 423 Amsterdam Avenue(80th Street) New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212.496.6280. Sarabeth’s(East) 1295 Madison Avenue (92th Street)New York, NY 10128 Tel: 212.410.7335S

Tea & Simpathy: A good spot for a spot of tea on a rainy day if you don’t mind cramped quarters. They not only serve afternoon tea, but also such English basics as Welsh rarebit, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and tweed-kettle pie. In addition to the Stilton-and-walnut salad, there is a salad with chicken, egg, bacon and tomatoes they’ve dubbed “Absolutely Fabulous.” Next door is a shop selling everything English, from tea to videotapes. Location: 108 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Tel: (212) 807-8329

T Salon: This three-story salon in Chelsea offers several ways to quench your thirst. Feeling parched? T Salon sells more than 100 blended teas, plus teapots, tea-flavored condiments and herbal elixirs. If your stomach’s grumbling, seek nourishment in their array of soups and salads. And if you want wine with that, bring your own. Enthusiasts can sign up for tea-making and Japanese tea ceremony classes. Location: 11 E 20th St Broadway New York, NY 10003. Tel: (212) 925-3700

Alice’s Tea Cup: Breakfast menu runs from 8am-11:30am every morning and consists of egg dishes, pancakes, specials, fresh coffee and of course tea and scones. Location: 102 W 73rd St at Columbus Ave (212-799-3006). Second location at 165 East 64th Street (near Lexington Ave).

However, you can just as easily create your own afternoon tea in your own home. Pick out your favorite tea and go down to Whole Foods to get jam and clotted cream and bake your own scones.  This recipe is an ace, I have tested and tasted this recipe over and over:

Cream Scones from The Joy of Baking

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup COLD (very important) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour,sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a small measuring cup combine the whipping cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix.

Kneaddough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round. Then, using a 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream.This helps to brown the tops of the scones during baking.

Bake forabout 15 – 18 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve withDevon creamor softly whipped cream and your favorite jam.

These scones freeze very well.

Makes about 10 – 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) round scones.

This recipe is good for any scone.  Try adding dried fruit, cheese, or even chocolate chips and you will realize this is probably the easiest pastry to bake…ever.