Friday, January 9, 2009

Rabbit Food and Fruity Tea

What is it about a Tea Room that makes women flock?

Where else on earth would one pay almost $20 a head for lunch? It's the promise of girl time, good conversation and good food that bring us back. If only those chairs could talk....think of the stories they could tell? Some of your best heart-spillin' is at girlie restaurants where no men dare to enter...unless they are in serious trouble with their woman and are trying to get out of the doghouse. Tea Rooms are to women as barbecue joints are to men. 'Nuff said.

My exposure to Tea Rooms began while in high school. One of my favorite 4th grade teachers left teaching to open The Wonderful World of Cooking. I remember joining all the women in my family there to sip some of the most incredible tomato soup out of a clear glass coffee cup. Unconventional? Yes. But with those spicy cheese wafers....who needs a spoon?

We eventually moved across town to an Antique Mall that had a restaurant tucked in the back. My love affair with flavored iced tea began right there among those faux-finished walls. Strawberry-vanilla-rose petal tea and pumpkin bread sandwiches with strawberry cream cheese became a craving that had to be satisfied when I came in town from Texas A&M. Heck, I'd even get extra tea to take back with me. Sadly, the restaurant closed but I am happy to report that I must might have found a comparable replacement for the tea of my dreams through the miracle of the internet. Keep your fingers crossed.

Luckily, the Houston area has a plethora of Tea Rooms to keep a gal happy and return sanity, if needed. Tea for Two has two locations to serve the women of Northwest Houston and if you haven't discovered Idyl Hours, you are most definitely missing a blessing. Thursday is Tequila Lime Crepe day...the best!

If you are planning to 'leave the reservation' as my friend Michele would say, (aka leave your area of town) Ashland House is worth the drive...even though you may have your doubts on the way there. Trust me...the chicken in a pastry, cheese soup and apricot tea are worth the gas money spent AND the calories.

If you are a local gal, you probably have visited The Whistle Stop Cafe, introduced to me by my friend, Tami, and it would be a shame to not give a shout out to RJ Goodies. They might not be a Tea Room, per say, but they can flat bring it when it comes to desserts. Apparently they are needing some improvements in the customer service area, so have a bit more grace when you visit. Deal?

Game for one more that might be a bit of a drive to visit? This restaurant isn't a traditional Tea Room but still a great girl place, introduced to me by the one and only Nancy Monarch, the Nord Bistro. I swear, they should have a booth marked just for her. Her word-out-mouth advertising pays the light bill at the Nord. You'll want to take a bath in their crab bisque. Yes, I did just say that outloud. I love it so much I'll skip dessert. That should speak volumes.

Make an effort to grab lunch with a friend this week. In an age where texting and email have become the norm, opt for some real face time. You'll leave lunch with a spring in your step, promise.

I'm always game for girl time and the opportunity to try a new eating establishment. Do you have a favorite place for rabbit food and girlie tea?