Enter a different world where the distractions of modern life are replaced with the sensibilities of the English countryside.Step inside Tal-y-Tara, and it's like entering a whole other world where the distractions of modern life are replaced with the sensibilities of the English countryside. Instead of coffee, cars, and coworkers, Tal-y-Tara is all about tea, horses, and family. Melba and her English husband Hugh Meakin first started the business as a tack shop for equestrian supplies in the Western Addition, but their hospitable tea service soon grew into a side business of its own. Family owned and operated since 1980, you're now just as likely to see their son Philip or daughter Sarah at the store (Sarah's scone recipe is award-winning).
The front of the shop is bonafide equestrian outlet, where you can find anything from bridles and saddles to riding boots and hats. Horses run in this family's blood, and the Meakins are the founders of The James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program, a charity which provides riding lessons to special needs children in the community. Hang out at Tal-y-Tara and you're sure to hear the family planning their next big project or event (Sarah is the Executive Director).
Head to the back of the shop, and you'll find a quaint tea nook where the smell of fresh-baked scones fills the air and fine china and tea cozies abound. Check out the immense oak mantle, benches from an old buggy, and cool wooden secretary, a 100-drawer chest once owned by family relative George Bingham (he used it to store his paintings). Just about every item in here has a story, and the family is happy to talk California history (over a cup of tea, of course).
You'll have plenty to choose from, as the menu includes everything from 22 varieties of black tea to green, white, red and herbal. Don't miss the aforementioned scones (they're to die for), and check out Tal-y-Tara's signature motorloaf sandwiches. An invention of a great great aunt back in England, this treat involves cutting the center out of a loaf of bread, creating mini tea sandwiches in a variety of flavors, then placing them daintily back in the loaf and serving with a garnish of fruit. It's delicious and unusual, which is exactly how we roll here at Scoutmob. Teatime!
Pot of tea for two, $7.50
Classic motorloaf (serves two), $18
Sarah's scone, $5.50
Seasonal fruit medley with honey glaze, $5
Monday to Saturday, 9am to 7pm