Mouthing Off

The countdown to the millennium has begun in many circles, including the pricey one inhabited by Moët & Chandon, the 255-year-old producer of champagnes (and that old boy Dom Perignon). Moët was in town last week to kick off its 500-day millennium countdown and unveil its special vintage champagne for New Year's 1999; naturally, it held the event at the Brown Palace, which has turned a holiday champagne cascade into a longstanding tradition. The company gave away watches that were preset to start counting down the seconds until 2000 (Paris time), and Ellyngton's did a heck of a job with the food.

Prior to the event, I took my daughters to high tea in the hotel's lobby. This is the stuff of childhood dreams--and parental nightmares. The first thing my four-year-old did was hoist the teacup above her head so that I could clearly see the "Royal Doulton" emblem printed on the bottom. "Mommy, is this plastic?" she asked. We made it all the way through the meal--which, for $33, included three pots of tea and several plates of scones, smoked-salmon-covered tea sandwiches, Devonshire cream, jam and six small wedges of pastry, as well as a Kir royale that I wound up needing very badly--without a mishap. Until the very end, that is, when my other daughter decided to toss her tea over her shoulder onto a loveseat that probably cost more than my house. The staff was quite good-natured about it; later, when I asked if they'd gotten the stain out, they asked, "What stain?"

That's class.


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