Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday and Afternoon Tea at Secret Garden

Tea Time update-- The Secret Garden is closed for remodeling. Scheduled to open August 2017. We can't wait to see when the new look is unveiled! 

Welcome to your Secret Garden San Francisco! Hidden just opposite the southern edge of Golden Gate Park on Lincoln Way, this small storefront was a bright bit of Holiday cheer. Angela had been to the Secret Garden Tea Room previously, but J.K. had yet to experience its shabby chic style and homey warmth. We chose to come here for the Holiday tea, which is a special menu. Secret Garden has a wide array of tea choices on it's regular menu which includes a gluten-free option in addition to salads, sandwiches and sweets (although their website suggests to call ahead if you want something specific and make a reservation).

Happy Holiday Tea!
We arrived a few minutes after our reservation (due to typical SF winter weather), but there wasn't a problem. Once we dropped our umbrellas in the bucket by the door we sat down to a classic table setting. We perused the teas and made our selections, finally settling on Chocolate Truffle for addition to the the herbs and spice Holiday blend for Angela. We sat, sipped and chatted for a while until our tiered tray arrived laden with goodies.

Plates and plates of food.
We received two types of scones, which we shared. These scones most closely resemble biscuits. One cinnamon spice and one with dried fruit plus berry jam and cream on the side. Our sandwiches were a new experience, one was like a club sandwich (three slices of bread) but with different fillings. There was a creamy shrimp open-faced sammie where you flipped the second slice of bread on top to eat it. The "club" style was moist and meaty with sprouts as garnish. The other triangle sandwich was egg salad with a sprinkling of caviar on the edges. We also had two more finger sandwiches, one cucumber and one roast beef. Instead of salad or desserts on the top tier, we got more savory treats. This plate featured one crostini with melted brie, apple and a bit of sauce, plus a second toast with salmon, dill and a dab of cream  while the third savory was a mini pastry cup with creamy cheese and a bite of ham with herbs.

Scones with their spreads.

Five types of sandwiches artfully arranged.

Grapes plus more savories!

Desserts came with our choice of eggnog or apple cider as a final digestif. The creamy cheesecake slice and two buttery cookies were a festive end to our Holiday tea. J.K. ended up taking some cookies home so we could waddle out of there. Angela still wants to know how to make those checkered cookies! How is each one a perfect square? Do you know the secrets of the Secret Garden cookie? Please comment below....

Wow, cheesecake  and cookies were a hit.
An eggnog and hot apple cider.
The menu Tea Time chose is a special, available for only a limited time during the Holiday season. However, if you choose to visit the Secret Garden you'll find ample choices on their regular menu, or if you have a special occasion in your life, you can reserve the Garden Room (there was a bridal party enjoying themselves during our visit). Do you have a "secret" garden you enjoy? Is it a personal or public place? (or both?)

Flowers abound in the decor and displays.
Love their tea blends? Take them home year-round.
Afternoon Tea hats!
Knicks and Knacks for purchase.
The Secret Garden Tea House states on their website that:
Its about Love, Romance, Hopes and Sweet memories we are creating everyday. All the things we love to share, and the many little thoughts that are sparked by the tiny splashes in our tea cups.
Tea Time certainly found warmth and sweet memories during this holiday visit to their Tea House. If you want a nice cuppa and cozy, flowery ambiance then check out San Francisco's Secret Garden.


We returned to the Secret Garden on February 18, 2014 to enjoy their everyday tea offerings. We chose to simply drop in so we can share with you readers what they have available on a daily basis. Tea Time picked two  services from the menu including, The Bedford's Delight  (Enjoy Afternoon Tea like the Duchess of Bedford) and the dessert treats featured in the Sweet Surrender. Each service came with a pot of tea. J. K. chose the Afternoon Delight a blend with 20 flowers and herbs, while Angela chose Rooibis Lavender Lane which had a hint of lavender to it.

Ready for afternoon tea.
What a lovely cuppa!

Handy tea pot tags!

The Duchess' afternoon tea service includes: A Scone with Devon Cream, Lemon curd or Strawberry preserves, Eight delicious Seasonal Tea sandwiches, a sumptuous Savory, and a selection of three delectable Mini Tea Pastries, tea cookies and seasonal fresh fruits, and the seasonal sandwiches were Cucumber Hummus, Ham & Apricot Cream, Egg Salad & Sprouts, Sweet Curry Chicken with Raisins, Turkey & Cranberry, Mango Chutney & Cheddar, Apple Cinnamon and Vanilla Cheese plus Tuna Salad. Our scone was delicious, flaky and buttery with fresh fruits baked in it. Delightful. The dessert tray was a preview of the second tea service we ordered, the Sweet Surrender

Fruity, flaky buttery, you can't resist this scone!
Twelve seasonal sandwiches...

Dessert tier with fruits

Our Tea tray fit for a Duchess.
Now here's the Sweet Surrender. If you're in the mood for sweets, check it out!

It's simple to walk in at the Secret Garden when it's not the holiday season, so check out their range of tea services and enjoy.