I had the opportunity to meet Raquel's talented mother-in-law, Joy, who owns the cutest tea shop in Point Loma called Tea-Upon-Chatsworth (TUC).
Ever since Raquel told me about TUC, I've been wanting to go but never made it out. I am now kicking myself *ow* for not visiting sooner. I tell you, their Chatsworth scones, radish & lemon herb butter tea sandwiches, and their green & white mango tea are worth the trip to Point Loma no matter where you are in San Diego, Los Angeles, or even Phoenix!
Days after I joined Twitter, Junvi and I set a tea date to discuss business and enjoy "afternoon tea" on a not-so-rainy Sunday afternoon. It was a Sunday where rain was predicted, but never fell in Point Loma.
Once I walked through the door, I was transferred into another place in time. Porcelain tea kettles, tea sets, and of course, tea cups were the main decor as they lined the window sill and were displayed on cupboards in the back of the restaurant. Tables were lined in white tablecloth and had fresh rose petals on it. Wow. Although the place is very small, it is perfect for the atmosphere and environment that Joy intended it to be. Quaint and cute. It was time for some serious female bonding!
I noticed that there was a large baby shower party to the left (they all looked at me as I walked through the door thinking I was one of their guests). The party to the right was celebrating a little girl's birthday. The group in the back were two older couples, just hanging out laughing and chatting. I stood there, observing and taking it all in, as I watched Joy and her team assist the baby shower in re-arranging the table in the middle. Everyone looked busy. It was expected, as Raquel told me that they are busiest during the weekends.
When I had the free chance, I kindly said, "Excuse me, Joy? Hi, I'm Janice and I have a 2pm reservation." She acknowledged me and walked me to the table for two in the corner next to the window. It was a perfect seat. She joked, "You'll be safe here."
After Junvi arrived, our server gave us the menu to look over. She suggested that we start off with a white tea and then select a black tea to enjoy with the food. Because we were very chatty and were pretty late ordering, the Mutan White Tea we selected arrived just before our food did.
Delicious. I love my tea as is - no sugar, no cream. The Mutan White Tea has a touch of vanilla flavor and infused with rose petals. It was absolutely refreshing.
We soon were welcomed by a tower of delicious-ness by Joy, herself. She explained that the hot items were at the bottom of the tower, the second tier consisted of the items to cleanse our palate before the top of the tier, the scrumptious desserts. She even took the time to explain every single item on the tower before letting us loose:
Fresh Radish & Lemon-Herb Butter Tea Sandwich
Smoked Turkey & Apricot Chutney Tea Sandwich
Candied Walnuts, Date & Orange Fruit Pate on Toast
Feta Cheese & Kalamata Olive-Tomato Cup
Black Bean-Caper Hummus Pinwheel
Chatsworth Scone & Cream with Roseberry Preserves
Fresh Fruit of Season
Chocolate Ganache Cupcake
Caramel Pudding Topped with Meringue Cream
Wow, not your usual English tea shop items! Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of every separate item (boo on me), but I can tell you that everything was yummy. My favorite items on the bottom tier were the black bean caper hummus pinwheel and the fresh radish butter tea sandwich.
I love black beans (and they are very healthy for you, too). Put two yummy things together like black beans and hummus and they result in happiness. So good. I don't usually eat radishes, but this sandwich was so fresh-tasting. I absolutely enjoyed the crunch of the radishes and the saltiness of the butter on simple white bread.
The Chatsworth scones were my favorite thing here. Those scones, accompanied by the roseberry preserves and fresh cream, are HEAVENLY. Really. Raquel told me that her hubby makes them -- wow, they are SO good. So light, fluffy, and they are a nice soft shade of pink!
The tea we ordered with the food was the house Chatsworth black tea. Our server said it was an excellent choice with the food. Of course we had to try the signature house tea! It was a perfect compliment to the food. Hot, simple, and good.
The chocolate ganache cupcake was the cutest little thing! I was impressed by the attention to detail they put into one little cupcake. The rim of the liner was lightly dipped in chocolate, each mini cake had a thin layer of ganache on top that was spread perfectly, and confectioners sugar was sprinkled on about half of the cupcake. This cupcake was seriously only about 1.5 inches wide, and was fabulous. The caramel pudding square was equally fabulous.
After we were close to finishing our last bite, Joy came over to ask us how we enjoyed the tea and the meal. This sparked a conversation between the three of us that lasted for about a half an hour.
We were treated to a pot of their green and white mango tea, which was my favorite tea overall, and the perfect way to end our Tea-Upon-Chatsworth experience. Junvi and I literally closed the place down as the baby shower party guests were leaving and we paid our check.
A few of tips:
- Reservations are highly recommended. This little place holds 40 people max, so it doesn't hurt to call ahead for a reservation. Joy, herself, called me to confirm and even called the day before to remind me of my reservation.
- If you are a vegetarian or accompanied by one, state so at the time you reserve the table. I didn't know that we had to specify that at the time and oops, Junvi is a vegetarian. However, they accommodated us by replacing one of the turkey tea sandwiches to a traditional cucumber one. A major plus for them!
- Afternoon tea is... well, afternoon tea. I didn't consider this a meal but a special treat during the day.
- High tea consists of all of the items above, plus two more: Irish Cream of Potato Soup with Bacon and a baked blueberry tartlet -- for just a few dollars more