Wednesday, November 7, 2012

After The Zoo

It has been a while since I went to Tal-y-Tara for tea and a motor loaf, and quite a while since I reminded you of this little San Francisco pleasure.  My Beloved and I had just been to the Zoo for the "Boo at the Zoo" event and we emerged from that looking for lunch. Costume admiring and steam train riding works up an appetite.  We had thought we'd go somewhere along the Great Beach but the choices were all full on that glorious day, so we hatched a plan to drive over to  Tal-y-Tara.

We found that they now have a little garden out back for the warm and pretty days. And they still offered their signature "motor loaf." The motor loaf starts as a small loaf of what tastes like some kind of quick bread, ever so slightly sweet and dark brown, not firm like pumpernickel, rather soft and cake-y. 

The chef carves the middle out of the loaf and cleverly wraps six little sandwiches from the innards - egg and olive, chutney and cheese, ham and swiss, egg salad, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and turkey - and tucks them back inside the loaf.  These are truly "finger sandwiches," each about 2 inches square. Alongside, they serve fresh sliced fruit and clotted cream and marmalade, which you spread on the outside of the loaf for dessert once the sandwiches have been consumed. Don't go alone - you won't be able to finish it by yourself.

If you haven't been there for the motor loaf, you are truly missing a treat. Go when you have time to be leisurely because it takes a while to construct this delight, but if you have time, it's well worth the wait. We shared all six of the sandwiches to taste all the flavors, and we ordered a pot of Irish Breakfast tea from their extensive list of black, green and herbal teas. They also have the best scones in the entire world - and that is not an exaggeration.

You'd love this quirky little place: you are served at delightfully mismatched tables, some with sofas, others with garden chairs, all with chintz and charm. The walls are adorned with photographs of horses and posters for Polo in the Park. The shop also sells riding gear for the polo set, so you are seated among displays of tall, gleaming leather boots, halters and leads, hacking jackets, English saddles, and riding breeches. The restroom doubles as storage for riding helmets and jodhpur boots. The owners have long been horse people, sponsoring polo and running a therapeutic riding program for people with disabilities in Golden Gate Park, so what might otherwise come across as snobby is really just an outgrowth of their interests. 

I guess you can tell that I relish each visit to Tal-y-Tara. We drove home in sweet repletion, filled with contentment. That's a tall order for a simple little tea shop, but Tal-y-Tara always seems to impart this feeling in us.


Anonymous jann said...

You got me psyched for another visit. A visit to the city may be in order.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Thanks for reminding me that I have wanted to visit that place for years.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I've never even heard of it. Sure is cute.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Jann, okay, what shall we plan to do before lunch?

Kailyn, next time you're over that way, give it a whirl.

Cookiecrumb, perfect for you and Cranky - dainty portions.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012  
Blogger Hungry Dog said...

I actually HAVE been to Tal y Tara --a few times! And I've had the motor loaf! Thanks for reminding me about this great little spot.

Thursday, November 08, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Hungry Dog, just caught up on your blog and drooled over the tonkatsu, the almond cake, and the vacation photos of Italy. I am steeped in envy.

Thursday, November 08, 2012  

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