Category - Eat

Four Friends Tea Room – Pearland, TX
Manhattan Steak and Seafood
Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs and The Gemmes Collection

Four Friends Tea Room – Pearland, TX

Four Friends Tea Room

3816 E Broadway St.
Pearland, TX 77581
PH: (281) 485-6484

Once upon a time (about 20 years ago), four friends started a tea room in a charming bungalow in the heart of Pearland’s historic downtown site. Fast forward to 2013, when homemaker Sherrill Kirby and her family went to the tea room to get some pumpkin bread (A.K.A. the “best pumpkin bread in Houston). Learning that the tearoom was up for sale, she realized that running the little tea room would be an outlet for her to help with paying for her children’s college, weddings and cars. This October (2015) will mark her two year anniversary at Four Friends. She kept everything, including the name (as it’s herself, her two sisters and her niece) and the pumpkin bread the same.

Nowadays, the tea room is open Monday thru Saturday from 11-3pm. Their signature dishes include: the spice tea, white chocolate bread pudding (“folks say it’s the best they’ve tasted in 50 years” and it’s featured at least once or twice a week), the tomato basil soup (they’ve had 50-100 people tell them it’s the best they’ve ever tasted. Plus it’s vegetarian and gluten-free) and the cranberry chicken salad. They present each meal on an eclectic mix of china that they’ve collected throughout the years. They scour antique stores, garage sales, thrift shops, estate sales and Craigslist in search of unique pieces. One sister once drove two hours to secure one of their best china sets. Sherrill also has relatives in Michigan that sends tableware in suitcases to her. She credits some of their teapots, which are worth $150-200; along with the ambiance, great service and being in a unique old house as being the top reasons that sets them apart from other tea rooms in the area.

I recently had the chance to visit the cute little tea room, for both a High Tea and a regular lunch. I got there right when they opened at 11am and entered at their main entrance in the back of the house. When you first walk in, you see the gift shop, complete with china sets, miscellaneous gifts and Downton Abbey teas. Then you get whisked away to a seat in one of the three dining rooms. Each room seems to have it’s own distinguishing characteristics; such as wall color, table settings and wall decor. When I was served the High Tea, it was served on their exclusive Royal Albert bone china tableware with the “Old Country Roses” pattern. I was given a choice of soup (broccoli cheese), pasta salad, egg and cucumber finger sandwiches, a scone with clotted cream and homemade jam and a sampling of a few desserts. As for the regular lunch, I had the “tea room sampler”- which included soup (tomato basil), pasta salad, three egg and cucumber finger sandwiches and a piece of pumpkin bread. All that for $10. Every meal includes a complimentary sample of the spice hot tea, which is without a doubt- pretty darn good. I also enjoyed a pot of the Sweet Texas Dreams tea for both meals. Everything is fresh and homemade, so obviously nothing disappointed!

Be sure to check out their Facebook page for featured desserts and soups, as well as other events (such as their Mother-Daughter Tea or Princess Parties). The tea room can also be booked for evening parties, weekday meetings or other events.

Manhattan Steak and Seafood

202 S. Main St.
Orange, CA 92868
PH: (714)978-6162

I would like to thank the power of social media for introducing me to Manhattan OC restaurant. I had the pleasure of having lunch there during a recent weekday and I’m anxious to go back! My dining experience started off with being greeted by the lovely hostess- Rosa. Since my reservation was at 11:30 and I was somewhat early, she showed me to the lounge, where I was offered a table and something to drink while I waited until I got sat in the main room. The lounge was dimly lit, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere for socializing, watching the game or catching the jazz bands that usually play on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. When the time came, Rosa showed me to my table in the bright main room. After I sat in the high-backed plush chair, she set a cloth napkin in my lap and proceeded to hand me their leather-bound menu. The menu featured a nice variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, main entrees, wild game, steak and seafood. The waiter who was taking care of me that afternoon was Steve and ever-so-polite. Need an explanation of any of the dishes on the menu? Done! What if I’m vegetarian? There wasn’t a big selection of veggie-friendly dishes, BUT he said that they could tweak most dishes on the menu for those of those with special dietary needs. Sold! I ended up choosing the Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli ($12) as an appetizer and the Grilled Vegtable Sandwich ($11) with fries as my main course. As I waited for the appetizer, a bread basket was brought out. The bread was served fresh and warm, under the cover of one of the cloth napkins and a separate small plate with two balls of butter. After a while, the butternut squash ravioli was brought out… There were three gigantic raviolis with the squash filling that sat in yummy brown butter sauce. It was garnished with parmesean cheese, honey-roasted pecans and sage. The raviolis were tender and just slid down the throat, bursting with flavor after. This could easily be a meal in itself, with maybe a side salad as well…depending on how hungry you are. But, I HIGHLY recommend this dish! When the main course arrived, I was thoroughly impressed on the portion. The sandwich was massive and the shoestring fries were garnished with basil. There was a side of ketchup in a small dish conveniently on the plate as well. I took a bite out of the sandwich and my tastebuds were overjoyed by the yummy grilled onions, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers and gooey brie that rested in between the grilled ciabatta bread. After boxing up the other half of the sandwich and some of the fries, I was offered the dessert menu. I was indeed full from the last two courses, but I somehow managed to find room for a little (recommended) Bananas Foster ($12). It came out warm…full of sliced bananas swimming in creme de banana and brandy sauce and topped with vanilla bean gelato. This could easily be enjoyed by two people. It. Was. Amazing! Like a party in my mouth. It was sweet, but not overpowering; and full of rich flavor. Even though I had told myself only a couple bites, then take the rest home…I just couldn’t put down my spoon. Each bite left me wanting more and more. So- are you guys anxious to check this place out yet?

Here are some other fun tidbits about the restaurant. Reservations are recommended. Come with a hearty appetite! There are six different themed rooms, I sat in the bright ‘Main Room’. There’s the ‘Lounge’ and ‘Window Room’- ideal for listening to the live entertainment and watching the game. Upstairs is the vibrant ‘Red Room’, with a hidden round plush booth and other table options decorated in red. I got a glimpse of the ‘Wine Cellar’ room, reminiscent to an old stone wine cellar deep in the heart of Tuscany… For all you Vodka fans, ManhattanOC boasts one of the largest selections of vodka in the OC. Interested in having your favorite wines handy when you come to the restaurant? Why not join the Wine Locker Club! In town for an event? ManhattanOC also offers FREE shuttle service anywhere in OC. Definitely check out the website for more information and to make reservations.

I want to thank the co-owners-Armond Khosrovian and Tom Gregory, manager-Michelle Ambrosio, Rosa, Steve and the rest of the staff for your impeccable hospitality!

Please Note: In exchange for reviewing the restaurant, my meal was on the house.

Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs and The Gemmes Collection

Doting Mother and cookie culinarian- those are the words that describe the owner of one of Houston’s latest local bakeries. Meet Cristal Ordonez- founder of Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs, an exclusive gourmet gifts and treats company that specializes in exquisitely delicious butter pressed cookies and now- edible statement necklaces.

Ordonez wasn’t always into baking. She has several years of managing a business under her belt. But let’s backtrack to when she was fourteen years old, she started out by making smoothies and then graduated on to cookies. She has always been a picky eater and found that most were too sweet. Armed with a starter recipe from a friend, she went on to experiment on her own. After numerous trials (one had too much sugar and would harden too fast, another just took too long to bake), she perfected her recipe.

For twenty-two years, she gifted the cookies as gifts. It wasn’t until about five years ago, that a friend of a friend had requested a tray of cookies for a company party. Eventually, she continued to get calls requesting her cookies, thus prompting her to launch Heaven on Earth Gourmet. The company officially launched on September 1, 2013, after the Cottage Food Law passed in Texas.

She recently took on jewelry making, but with a twist. One day, while baking, she had a batch of cookies that had broken. She noticed that they resembled beautiful beads. “To me, every piece of my cookie (including the flavor) is beautiful,” Cristal explained. Then, the idea just sparked. “Oh, I’m going to make me a necklace.” It took her a year to assemble. The concept evolved from cookie, cracker or some other type of dough to shape the base. After trying many different blends, she found that fondant worked best for holding onto the cookie without ruining it; or bleeding it or infusing it with any other flavor, smell or color. She likes to only use natural ingredients, natural flavors (there are 10 so far) and only uses dyes upon request. She puts her heart into baking, hand-carving and cleaning the cookie masterpieces, which she calls- The Gemmes Collection. The collection celebrates women and she wanted to do something that hasn’t been seen. She’s named necklaces after her Mother-Mireya and her bestie- Claudia (of Mio Boutique). The necklaces have a temperature and humidity base and have withstood up to two hours without dripping. The necklaces can also be made to hold up longer, upon request. Prices range from $50-100, just depending on how simple or complex you want the design to be. She can put up to five different flavors in one necklace. At Heaven on Earth Gourmet Affairs, nothing is stocked…EVERYTHING is fresh and made to order. Give Cristal a shout next time you are needing or just in the mood for a “heavenly” cookie…

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