Arrow-right Camera
A&E >  Food

Crossing their teas

Mother, daughter team open Silver Spoon Tea House

If taking tea in a turn-of-the-last-century parlor or enjoying a French pastry on an elegant wraparound porch sounds like a nice respite from real life, there is now The Silver Spoon Tea House.

Mother and daughter team Sylvia Erickson and Lara McHenry opened the new tea shop and patisserie on June 1 in a Queen Anne-style house built in 1903 at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Walnut Street. They offer loose leaf teas, French press coffee and pastries from Petit Chat Village Bakery (complete with the proper French pronunciation of the business) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the front room and on the veranda. Reservation-only afternoon teas are served in the elegantly decorated rooms throughout the two-story house.

The Monroe House is on the Spokane Register of Historic Places. Levi Monroe and his wife, Sara, had the house built and two of the tea rooms on the main floor are named for them. Monroe served as the livestock editor for the Spokane Daily Chronicle and secretary of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce from 1906 until 1920, according to the registry. He helped with the planning and formation of Spokane’s early business community. Later, he became an officer of the Washington Livestock Association, Washington Horticultural Society, and Spokane Horticultural Society. During the Depression, Monroe was the assistant to the secretary of the Columbia Basin Commission, working with federal, state and local government officials to help in the planning of Grand Coulee Dam.

Erickson worked for many years in steakhouse restaurants in Montana and Colorado, but had hopes for something a little different for Spokane. When her daughter, who is also a real estate agent, saw the house come onto the market they began dreaming about turning it into a tea house. It was in beautiful condition when they purchased it in October, so planning, decorating, furnishing, and gathering tea service sets has kept them busy since.

“It just fit Spokane,” Erickson said. “This is more laid back and it is more of a social setting, which we prefer.”

The daily pastries are delivered from Petit Chat, but the teas will feature scones, tarts, tea sandwiches and other formal fare made by pastry chef and chocolatier Kristina Woloson. Woloson also works for the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Reservations for the afternoon teas must be made a week in advance. They can accommodate singles as well as groups of up to 45. Tea prices range from $22 to $28. They offer seating at formal family-style tables, smaller round table settings or even a more relaxed parlor seating.

“Afternoon tea takes a lot of planning based on the number of people,” Erickson said. “It is a very social, very traditional and elegant process.”

Erickson and McHenry have gathered teas from all over the world, including some they brought back from the Middle East themselves. For more information, or to make a reservation for tea, call Silver Spoon Tea House at (509) 981-4491 or (509) 995-0074. The tea house, 1427 W. Sixth Ave., also has a Facebook page and website for more information,

Flavor Café opens in Tapio Center

Chef Jamie Lombardi opened a new café in the northeast corner of the Tapio Office Center, 104 S. Freya St., in early May.

Lombardi has worked at Huckleberry’s 9th Street Bistro, Klink’s at Williams Lake and at Seasons in Liberty Lake on the Meadowwood Tech Campus. Her new café is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. In the morning, organic, fair-trade coffee from Roast House is featured at the espresso bar. Lombardi makes granola from scratch and there are bagels and assorted flavored cream cheeses.

Lunch options range from wraps and sandwiches to salads and soups. The French onion grilled cheese is $3.99 and the Reuben is $6.99. There is a daily lunch combination that includes a half a sandwich, cup of soup or chips and a chocolate chip cookie for $5.99. The breads are made by Spokane’s Alpine Bakery.

The café is in the building with the brown flags.

Lombardi also offers box-lunch catering, sandwich and wrap platters with advance notice. The space also can be rented for gatherings and meetings and can accommodate up to 35 people.

She is posting pictures of the daily specials, sandwiches and salads on the Flavor Café page on Facebook. There is also information at Reach the café at (509) 315-9094

Manito Park Bench Café opens

The Park Bench Café in Manito Park is open.

The café, at 1928 S. Tekoa St. between Mirror Pond (the duck pond) and the Perennial Garden, offers salads, wraps and sandwiches for park visitors. Smoothies, ice cream and espresso are also served.

The seating is outside, so the hours are subject to the whims of the weather, but ideally the café will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Starting June 14, the Park Bench is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Sept. 2. In September, the café returns its hours to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then closes for the season after Sept. 16.

The café hosts music each Friday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A schedule of musical guests is posted on the Park Bench Café Facebook page. A quartet will play during lunch the first three Wednesdays in July.

There is more information on Facebook or reach the café by calling (509) 456-4349.