Friday, February 5, 2010

Afternoon Tea at Lovejoy's Tea Room

Several years ago, I enjoyed high tea at Brown’s Hotel and The Savoy, both in London, and both were memorable, traditional and enjoyable experiences. I felt like the Queen could walk in at any time, sit down and join us for a scone. Lovejoy’s is on the opposite spectrum, with a very eclectic, quirky and playful setting. Perhaps Alice in Wonderland might stop by for a cup of tea. Walking into Lovejoy’s I did not know what to expect, yet it is a true feast for the eyes the minute you open the door. With mismatched antique furniture, one of a kind tea pots and cups along with packed tables of mostly ladies enjoying the art of taking tea.

Lovejoy’s was born in the early 90’s and is located in Noe Valley on Church Street. The name Lovejoy’s was inspired by Jonathan’s Gash’s series of novel about an antique dealer named Lovejoy. We ventured to Lovejoy’s to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. My sister Cathy, my sister-in-law Therese and I decided that this would be a wonderful present to give to her. In the process, we learned that she had wanted to go there for several years, so that made it even more special.

We had a table right in the front which had a darling sign that read “Reserved for the Queen’s” – I thought it was a very special touch. The menu is extensive, ranging from the wide assortment of teas to the type of tea service. You could select the high tea for two, light tea or Queen’s tea plus many more choices. We opted to swing out and chose the Queen’s Tea for all of us. Per person this included: two sandwiches, served with coleslaw, organic spring greens, a Scone with Preserves and double Devon cream, a crumpet with lemon curd, fresh fruit, a petit four and Shortbread tea biscuit plus bottomless pot of tea.

We selected the following tea sandwiches to enjoy: cucumber and cream cheese, roast beef and horseradish, chicken, apple, walnut salad, chutney and cheese, tomato and cheese, “Lovejoy’s special”, cream cheese and apple, and pear and stilton. The sandwiches sit on top of the organic spring greens with a small pitcher of dressing.

Afternoon tea is such a ritual of sorts, where there a particular protocols but at Lovejoy’s the pretentiousness is taken out of the equation. We had such a lovely time celebrating my Mom’s birthday and enjoying each others company. Conversation was flowing along with the tea. I would highly encourage you to try the blood orange tea – very unique, full of flavor with a vivid orange hue. I highly recommend going to Lovejoy's with friends or family to enjoy a San Francisco treat!

Lovejoy’s Tea Room
1351 Church Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

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