Thursday, February 12, 2009

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse Oblige Teahouse
316 Iris St
Lake Charles, LA
Monday - Friday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM $1-$15
With no advertising and just some discrete signs this low-key tearoom opened. I only heard about it from various sources that tell me about such things. Not much has been done to it since it was Wayne Harpers. A fresh coast of paint on the inside with some paintings seems the extent. They start you off with a complementary cup of their house tea, a basic spiced tea with orange notes.
My first visit occurred after a very stressful week. Merely going into this venue gave me a sense of calm. I started with French Onion soup, nice flavor with melted cheese on a piece of rye bread. I next ordered a Fresh Veggie Sandwich. I received sliced red onion, tomato, cucumber and lettuce on sourdough bread. It proved light, refreshing and crunchy. I ended with a teacake and a scone. Their teacakes are more of a shortbread cookie, rich and delicious. The scone was light and fluffy. I washed it all down with a delightful Cardamom flavored Chai (Milk Tea). My stress melted away
Next time in I meet my sister there. She got Potato Soup (creamy with chunks of potato) and Quiche Loraine. It turned out to be an individual one instead of a slice. A nice size and enjoyed by my sister in spite of an uneven distribution of seasoning. I went with Vegetable soup. Nicely spiced broth (black pepper) with chunks of vegetables including okra went down a treat. I then ordered a Downtown Brown. A riff on an open face hot sandwich created in the 1920’s at a Louisville Kentucky hotel called The Brown. That one consists of turkey and bacon on bread covered with a Swiss cheese sauce and broiled. This one has sliced grilled chicken breast and tomatoes on toasted bread topped with a Parmesan cheese sauce. It proved quite tasty. I also got a pot of Kesari (a deep rich Indian black tea).
For the last outing I booked a tea party for the whole group. For a change all nine of us were able to attend. I specified a traditional English Afternoon Tea and they delivered. Walking in the room, the table proved breath taking with a lace tablecloth, print runner, lovely teacups, and plates. We later learned that they were heritage pieces passed down from great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers and aunties. Plates of finger sandwiches (smoked chicken salad, spicy pimento cheese, egg salad, and turkey-cucumber with olive butter) awaited us with scones, teacakes, and brownie bites. To finish off they brought delectable custard tarts filled with fresh berries. Unlike some places where you have to order tea just for yourself, they brought out pots of various teas (black, green, and herbal) so everyone could try what ever they wanted. This does not apply during regular service. The feeling was more like you were invited and honored quests in their home and not just customers.
The experience was wonderful and I highly recommend it for spending a civilized afternoon with your friends. They are willing to accommodate any requests within reason. Also you have to make arrangements a week in advance. I now have a calm oasis to go to in times of stress. Not only for an arranged tea party but also for weekday service.

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