Dear Foodies,

One of my greatest indulgences in life is Tea Time; it is a graceful event that brings people together for pleasure and refreshment. This is why I decided to dedicate an article to this delightful tradition. My nose and pallet have led me to two little oasis that I’d like to share with you. These special hideaways offer delicious Tea Time goodies as well as delicate savory dishes.

“Just Between Friends” is a true treasure! You walk into a charming shabby chic store filled with antiques, chandeliers, and romantic paintings. Rosie, the owner took care of every detail which reminds me of a bygone era. Lunch is served at a table set with white linen table clothes, vintage hankies, fine china, fresh roses and beautiful silverware. I’m sure you would think only “Ladies of fine Lineage” would go to this lunch parlor. Right? Not at all, gentlemen love taking a break from a busy routine and listen to the soft classical music while enjoying a light but satisfying meal.

Just Between Friends has an excellent chicken salad ($6.99) prepared with mayo, chicken, almonds and grapes served over a bed of greens and drizzled with Rosie’s own raspberry vinaigrette and paired with lovely delicate crackers. This is true favorite of mine because it marries saltiness and sweetness in every delicious bite. I recommend washing this down with the refreshing peach tea ($1.00) which is served in a pastel tierra glass. When I go there I always feel like singing “La Vie on Rose” for she uses such beautiful rose — colored glassware.

Before I leave, I must indulge in a good cup of coffee and biensur a deliciously sinful dessert. Rosie makes the best chocolate raspberry coffee ($1.00) .Her desserts change from day to day because they are baked fresh. I love her New York style cheese cake ($2.75) with a nutty graham cracker crust and topped with seasonal fruit.

Next is “The Rose Cottage” which is located inside an incredible antique shop. This is an ideal place if you are in the mood to relax by yourself or catch up with a friend. This place is not only a great eatery, but also visual therapy where I can indulge in one of life’s simple pleasures, dessert! Dianna, Dolly, and Maria are three retired teachers who found their calling when they opened up this vintage café. These gals really know how to make you feel right at home. They offer a large selection of homemade goodies and sweets, and hot tea, as well as their one of a kind raspberry tea (.75).

Both “Just Between Friends” and “The RoseCottage” serve those dainty chicken/tuna salad sandwiches along with our favorite choice of chips ($5 -6 range).

You know by now what a sweet tooth I have, so I can’t help but admire their glass case stands with those mouth watering cakes like coconut, chocolate fudge cake, and triple chocolate cake and if you love bread pudding this is the place for you!

Dolly Markle’s husband’s grandmother handed down the family recipe from the 1900s. I had to try it. Oh, me, oh, my! This bread pudding ($1.99) is spectacular. They mentioned that it was made with croissants instead of day old bread. Imagine how buttery, moist, decadent and sweet it can be. I could taste the cinnamon and enjoyed the raisons on top. The bread pudding forms its own custard on the bottom when you bake it so there is a contrast between the top crust and the bottom half. All I can say is Paula Deen would have loved Mr. Markle’s Grandmother.

I’m quoting Dolly,” Don’t deny yourself a simple pleasure in life.” Happiness is good for your health. First of the month they offer “Homemade Peach Cobbler” free to its customers (while it lasts). Yum.

Next time you are in Pharr or McAllen, Texas pay a visit to these unique café’s/antique shops. Both host tea parties and small gatherings plus, you can shop for collectibles and home decor. The menus are short but sweet!

Tea makes the heart laugh, who said this?

Madame Gourmand

Just Between Friends - $ - Located: 1037 W. Ferguson, Pharr. 956-781-3338

Open Tuesday — Saturday 1 to 6 p.m.

Rose Garden / New and Again Antique Mall - $ - Located: 1101 Upas Ave. McAllen. 956-630-5650 *Karaoke every Friday (except 1st Friday of the month) 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Open Wednesday —Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m.