TEA-rrific. Equestrian Tea Shop in San Francisco

I’ll wait for you to stop groaning at the bad pun in my headline before I continue in 3...2...1....

I rarely get time alone with my mom.   Usually I see her during a holiday or at some event where other family members or friends are present. She lives in Iowa and I see her a few times a year at most. So, I was excited that she was able to sneak away during a long weekend to visit me in San Francisco. Ostensibly, she was delivering our cat who lived with her while my husband and I were in Scotland, but we also wanted a little mother-daughter hang time.

The aforementioned time in Scotland was shorter than planned, and Mom never got a chance to visit me there (much to her disappointment). Because of that, it seemed like a nice idea to find a little of the UK in SF. I was already considering taking her out for British-style tea when up popped a group coupon for Tal-Y-Tara Tea and Polo Shoppe. I figured it was worth a shot. Also, my husband seemed reluctant to indulge my girlish love of tea parties. More than three decades ago, I tested my mom’s tolerance for tea parties and I figured that, as long as I didn’t invite my teddy bear, she’d still be cool with it.

First of all, Tal-y-Tara is a bit different than your typical tea-room in that it’s attached to an equestrian supply shop. This creates a sort of country house-horsey vibe to the shop rather than the twee, Victorian grandmother’s living room feel which I’ve seen other places. We started with a pot of delicious vanilla tea and the shop specialty: the “Motorloaf” tea sandwiches. The Motorloaf is hollowed out, the bread is sliced up and filled with a variety of sandwich fixings, and the tiny tea sandwiches are stuffed back into the bread crust. The presentation is clever and lovely. The sandwiches are yummy. We also split an English Trifle for dessert. If you’re not familiar with the popular British treat, trifles usually involve pound cake soaked in sherry or brandy and then layered with cream and fruit. I had plenty of pre-made grocery store trifle while in the UK, but this homemade trifle was the real deal.

Tal-y-Tara is a family run establishment that has been around since 1980. It’s currently located at 26th Avenue and California and it’s definitely worth a trip to the Outer Richmond/Seacliff area. Besides, you can work off the extra calories with a post-tea hike or some golf in nearby Lincoln Park. You might also consider exploring the ruins of the Sutro Baths or visiting the Palace of the Legion of Honor while you’re in the neighborhood. Tal-y-Tara is also a great place for showers and parties. Imagine a little girl’s birthday party in a REAL tea-room!

I enjoyed myself so much that I’m already looking for an excuse to return to Tal-y-Tara. And, no, I will not put a hat on my teddy bear and take him to tea....maybe.