Spot #5 :: Lovejoy’s Tea Room

Our 5th Spot:

Lovejoy’s Tea Room

1351 Church Street  San Francisco, CA 94114

http://www.lovejoystearoom.com

front

For having a 4.5 stars Yelp rating, I expected a lot from this place.  Off the bat, I NEVER got a live person on the phone when I called in.  I didn’t like that.  From wanting to place my reservation, to wanting to change my headcount, to wanting to ask where the nearest Bart station was, to how parking was out there-  every time I called, no one ever picked up my call.  So, I was stuck having to wait for their call back or get tired of waiting + find the info myself somehow.  Are you that busy that you can’t pick up a phone and say “Thank you for calling Lovejoy’s Tea Room, may I please put you on hold?”, before you get a free minute to answer a simple question??  To me, this already speaks volumes about your customer service…

The ambiance was okay.  I thought it was more “old” than “vintage.”  It didn’t have all the cutesie things I wanted from a Tea Room or Tea House.  Their website says “in a most unique and unpretentious setting.  We believe our tea room reflects the diversity if San Francisco, blending together the traditions of tea service with an eclectic, quirky, and playful spirit.”  I wasn’t impressed.  See for yourself…

decor 1

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decor 3

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decor 5

decor 6

There was a lot to read when you order.  Front and back!?  (If you watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S, you know what I’m referring to there!)  There are 8 tea service selections to choose from.  I like that we got to choose the tea sandwiches that were included.  We weren’t just given the 4 kinds they made that day, like other tea rooms typically do.  Again, a lot though.  There are 17 options of tea sandwiches, including their Special of the day.  They also have a Pub Fare column of foods, like Shepherd’s Pie + Quiche, etc.  They have a good selection of teas, too.  I enjoyed that part.  Not too many, but a good enough amount that you have the excitement of choosing which one you will enjoy for the afternoon…and not feel like you have homework!

table          setting

sign          tier

The food was good!  Nothing spectacular (that’s the phrase I kept saying all afternoon), but good.  For my two tea sandwich selections, I chose the Special which was a turkey with cranberry chardonnay (I THINK?? It was some kind of wine, that made it sound too good to pass up!) mustard and the chicken + asparagus.  I reeeeally liked my asparagus sandwich!!  I’m a sucker for all things asparagus anyway, but I was not expecting how they prepared it!?  At first, it looked like avocado.  Then, I realized the asparagus was sort of smooshed (that’s the best word I could describe it with sorry!) in there!  I loved it.  I was not a fan, however, of how they served it to us.  So-  3 of us at our table ordered the Queen’s Tea.  We had 1 tier for all of our orders.  Top tier was fruit for 3, middle tier were our scones with fixings, then the bottom-  I mean, look at it!  Can YOU make sense of it??  The server was nice enough to explain who’s was who’s, but once he left we wondered again.  It seemed they put each of our two tea sandwich selections on top of each other, cut that in four, then lined em next to each other on the bottom tier!!?!  VERY confusing.  I thought 2 slices were one sandwich…it was hard.  Once we figured it out, we still had to guess again every time we went back for another slice.  We did get a complete 2 sandwiches, which was nice.  So at least nobody was left hungry.  The scones-  eh.  I couldn’t tell if they were blueberry or currant, but whatever they were there were a ton of em!!  I cut mine open, and barely saw any batter?!  It was speckled everywhere.  I took a few bites, but that was all I could handle.  Could not wait for my crumpet though!!  Since my first time having the perfect one at Crown & Crumpet, that’s what I look for on the menu.  Was happy to see em on this one’s.  They came later in our tea service, and were served fresh.  Even better right?!  Um, they got soggy!  I was so disappointed.  It was like eating an eggy piece of bread.  (Insert sad face here.)  At the end of your tea service, they come with a tray of petit fours, tell you what flavors each are, then you are allowed to choose ONE.  I think for the price we pay, we coulda got two more each!  Just sayin…  And there are no other sweets, just those.

My tea choice was F A N T A S T I C !!  I chose the Black Vanilla (vanilla oil and pieces of vanilla pod give this mellow tea its light, sweet taste).  I love me some black tea.  And the vanilla part of it sounded intriguing + comforting.  SO GLAD I chose what I did!  It smelled heavenly!!  I joked to my girls that I just wanted to set my nostrils on the rim of my teacup and stay like that forever!  But-  sometimes teas smell delicious, then taste horrible.  Nope!  Not this one!  I got a two-fer.  I think I was the only one at our table that asked to be topped off (meaning they add hot water to your loose leaf pot of tea) 3 times!  I didn’t even taste anyone else’s, for the simple fact that I felt I would be missing out of more of my precious Black Vanilla tea selection!  Let’s see, the other girls chose their: Passion Fruit (dried passion fruit gives this tea its tropical flavor), Mango (Ceylon tea and pieces of ripe mango merge to create this fruity treat), Strawberry (black tea, flavored with pieces of dried strawberry), Decaf Chocolate Truffle (this rich and creamy decaffeinated tea contains actual bits of chocolate truffle), and Earl Grey (its unique flavor comes from the natural oil of Bergamot).  All my girls were happy with their choices!  They came to top off anytime you wanted, and each pot of tea came with strainers.

*Note: tea descriptions are taken directly from Lovejoy’s menu.

Customer service was good.  Not bad, but not fantastic either.  I mean, they did their job.  But, I didn’t see any extra efforts made for my enjoyment or for a better experience.  Maybe I’ve had better treatment at other tea houses, I don’t know.  But for a 4.5 star place, I thought they could have been a bit warmer.  Our server did take several shots, from each of our cameras (I know, and there were 6 of us!).  But not without making a snarky remark “Maybe you all should exchange phone numbers…”  He. He. He.  #jokingnotjoking  So what, we each asked you to take our group picture?  “Photographer” may not be in your job description, but we asked nicely + thanked you nicely.  Coulda done with out that comment babe.

Overall = nice experience.  Would I come back?  Maybe not.  Would DEFINITELY visit their sister antique shop across the street again though!  And for sure pick up some of that loose leaf Black Vanilla tea!!

The English Rose – part 2

Every month or so, my SIL + I have a date.  After visiting The English Rose Tea Room last month, we couldn’t wait to go back.  Why not for our date!?  I’m SO GLAD we did!!  We got to try more of the teas we were curious about the last time, but didn’t get to have.  And I starved myself, so I had an appetite ready for ALL the tea sandwiches + savories this time!  🙂

[Disclosure:  I wondered if I should bring my professional camera for this visit, even though it was an off-Tour stop.  My husband discouraged me from bringing it, since it was just going to be a casual date with my sister.  So-  SORRY in advance!!  These pics are all taken with just my iPhone 4!]

food

Our server was a sweetheart!  She had just started working there a month ago.  She was very swift with her service, and tended to us so lovingly throughout our visit.  I forgot to mention in my last post about this spot: an OCDers dream!!  They bring you hot towels!!?!  So nice huh?  During the month of November, the tea room was celebrating their 10 year anniversary.  She brought us a complimentary celebratory sparkling cider and offered us the tea of the day.  Today’s was Lisa’s Sweetheart Tea (I think??), it was a chocolate raspberry rose tea.  Smelled delicious, and tasted wonderful.  We ordered the Pumpkin (again OF COURSE, pumpkin-freaks we both are) + Birthday Blend first.  The Pumpkin obviously was just as perfect as it was when we had it first.  In heaven with that one.  We were so happy with our decision in ordering the Birthday Blend.  It was so nice!!  It was what you would expect a ‘birthday cake’ flavor tea to taste like.  It was so creamy + comforting.  I could have had that one exclusively for the rest of the afternoon, and would have been content.  But, we had more teas to try!  The other 2 pots we exchanged for were my sister’s choice, the Almond Joy (I absolutely adore the creamer, so I thought this one would be similar), and my pick the Lavender Lace (I’m fond of lavender, and then “lace” makes it just sound so pretty!?).  The Almond Joy was a fail!  It smelled like playdough!!?!  I mean, it wasn’t BAD.  We just didn’t like it.  I even told my sister to pour the rest of hers back into the teapot, since we knew we wouldn’t be having any more of it.  :/  The Lavender Lace was just delightful!  It smelled like the spa And you were about to get a massage!?  Hehe.  But it tasted incredible.  Perfect for our finishing tea.

Okay, the food…  I was stuffed!!

roll

This was the stuffing roll.  Yes, I said STUFFING!!  It was remarkable!  I’m a stuffing FAN, so when she described this one I knew I was going to have it first.  It was interesting + delicious.  Wrapped with a spinach tortilla (I’m guessing), and -BONUS- the stuffing had cranberry in it!

sweet potato

When our server said “sweet potato tart,” my eyes became big like that one emoji with the huge circle eyes!?  I looove sweet potato.  This was as yummy as it sounds.  A nice mix of sweet potato in there, with a nice flakey tart.

croissant

This was their salad sandwich.  A perfect mix.  Very filling + a wonderful addition to the tier of tea sandwiches.

There was also an egg + black olive on wheat.  Awesome combo right?!  Tried it, but only had a bite.  I thought it was bland.  And the cucumber option had green onion in it.  I don’t do green onion, so I stayed faaar away from that one.  My sister liked both of hers though!

I of course had my scone.  Plain scone with clotted cream, lemon curd + strawberry preserves.  The crispy edges of their scone makes it addicting!  The sweets tier had so many GOOD THINGS!  I liked everything I had.  Ate em so fast, no picture!!  I started with the French macaron that was staring at me the whole time.  I believe it was lavender flavored.  I joked with my sister that it smelled/tasted like shampoo!?  It did!!  But, even so, I ate the whole thing!!  The texture + filling was perfect for a French macaron.  Then, the petit four was calling me!  I have these things once a month, at every tea party.  They’re pretty much all the same, in my book.  But this one, this one was terrific!!  I inhaaaaled it.  Ugh-  so they had this pecan bar.  So chewy + crunchy + gooey!!  I made out with that thing!!?!  I was sad that my sister didn’t have hers, but so happy that I had another opportunity to relive that pecan goodness!  🙂

my cupcake          her cupcake

They sent us home with these lovely lemon curd cupcakes!  (We coulda had em there, but we didn’t have anymore room!?)  Another complimentary celebratory treat!  Oh these were good!  Not too sweet + not too lemony.  The sprinkles on top were nice too!  😉

All-in-all, a SPECTAULAR AFTERNOON!  They got all A+’s from me.  Still maaaaany more teas to try (I mean, they have over a hundred of em), so I’m sure we’ll be back again.  Just 2 more weeks and I get to have Tea again!!  Check back for our thoughts on Spot #5…