Friday, June 22, 2007

My Grandma has inspired me to open a Tea Room

I have been inspired.

Yesterday I took my Grandmother out to lunch for her 94th birthday. Elaine, my mother's mother. She is the best. Soon after we moved to the STL she moved her to help raise me. If there is any polish to my character, she is responsible. She is very proper, hard working and very sweet. She still "works" at my mother's house. She gives herself shifts each week to help my folks in their house. Grandma takes care of the dogs, waters the garden and does light chores around the house. She looks forward to this. She lives in the neighborhood in her own apartment and she even drives to my parents house. She is amazingly self sufficient. She does her own food shopping, banking, gets her hair did and pretty much any errand as long as it is during the day and in the neighborhood.

Every week I take her out to lunch. Sometimes it is hard to find a new place to take a discerning woman like my grandmother. I take her to a wide array of spots around town. Yesterday I took her to one of her favorite places. The Saint Louis Tea Room. This place is in the most unlikely of locations- south of TG Park on Roger and Utah in the middle of the neighborhood in an unassuming single story corner building. Joining me at the lunch were some friends that helped celebrate my Grandmother's birthday. Courtney Jackson, Tilnise Scott, Tom Weber and Amy Johnson. Perfect associates for a tea with Grandma.

The place is fantastic. Granted, I have not really been to many tea rooms. I have taken my Grandmother to tea at the Adam's Mark and other hotels. I have been to country food places, but a tea room is different. The food was actually really good. Brandied steak medallions. Fresh fuit salads. Homemade scones, w/ wine jelly, fresh butter and fresh whipped butter cream. Great soup- cream of asparagus, lobster bisque and more. Vegetable sides. I am not much of a food reviewer, but I can say without a doubt that the eats are quality and can work for any appetite, not just Grandmas. And the tea- like my place, they have a special menu for their drinks. They have caffeine infused drinks instead of booze. It was my Grandma's birthday and they brought her a pot of birthday tea.

Everyone looked at the tea pot and started to laugh. It was in a clear glass pot and had a large, er, tea bud, floating at the top of the water. The bud looked rather nefarious for such a proper setting. We couldn't say anything for nearly a minute for it looked so... um.

Tilnise couldn't help herself and commented "Wow, that tea looks quite kind."

Eventually the bud opened up in the water and sunk to the bottom. In the middle of the tea bud was a flower. It was beautiful and delicous. The service was impeccable, the food was paced and the tea pot was always full. Grandma has a splendid time.

What takes the place as a must experience is the atmosphere. The place is not the super fine proper high end tea, instead it is homey proper. It feels like you are in a craft loving, cozy making, tea drinking grandma's house. Tilnise commented that the servers look like her Holly Hobbie doll. And after looking up Holly Hobbie, she is correct. The walls are lined w/ tea pots, knick knacks, figurines of all types, cozy covers, pot holders and such. In the front there is a store with grandma style sundries including chocolates, teas and more cozies.

The high point of the lunch was the story. As we finished up our lunch, the waitress comes by and tells us a story out of a book. They are the old world type of stories that include a moral and included royalty. But it didn't stop there. On our way out I overheard the chef talking to a table. She said "We have a different place here. Our kitchen is different. We don't use wirty dords in the back." I nearly fell over. I need to have a place where that code is in effect.

I want to open a tea room. Maybe not for my next project, but I someday want to be involved in opening a tea room. It is an essential element of a civilized and balanced nieghborhood. Not only should every balanced neighbohood have a corner tavern, a bank and a church but everyone should have tea room they can walk to. So if you live on the southside, you should consider preambulating your way to the Saint Louis Tea Room.

Happy birthday Grandma.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sweet! I am sure she would be happy. I love tea as well but i guess it is not my dream to open a tea room heh! I love lapsang souchung and oolong tea.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Tea Laden said...

I love reading about how other people got their start in the tea business.
Wonderful Story!

8:26 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

TEA! Now that is the one thing Di and I did not do in STL. We love to go to tea and even reserve our Christmas tea outing in JULY to get the best. When you do get around to opening that tea house of yours, we'll plan on coming for the grand opening:-)


8:23 AM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Steve, I rarely have time to read blogs but I read this article and remember your darling grandmother.

I also frequent the STL Tea Room but only because the decor makes me think: Mary Englebrieght on acid...


12:53 AM  

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