The Quail & Thistle Tea Room (4 reviews)
A reprieve from life's daily demands, set in the woods in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains, I had the pleasure of sharing in Afternoon Tea with a dear friend. Surrounded with lovely views, seated near a beautiful stone fireplace amidst an extensive teacup collection, my Inner Princess was fully awakened, nurtured, and refreshed! We enjoyed perfectly steeped tea, fragrant piping hot soup, followed by an array of tantalizing sandwiches, and a finale of melt-in-your mouth cookies with perfectly ripened fruit! Owners Cindy and Dan were gracious, attentive and a joy to meet. I look forward to sharing this marvelous experience with friends and as an event destination!
Wow; what a great way to spend May Day! This was my second experience at The Quail and Thistle, and they’re still doing it up right in this lovely country tea room in the gorgeous Santa Cruz Mountains. Owners Cindy and Danny, and their staff, were a pleasure to chat with as I ordered the Omnivore’s Delight and lingered with them over pots of Organic Mountain Copper Oolong. The tea room is dotted with a myriad of teacups, saucers and teapots and I found myself unable to stay seated as I wandered about, inspecting the china and pottery. The organic red pepper and tomato soup, served of course in a teacup and saucer, was truly a tantalizing and visually stimulating preview of things to come. The second, savory course was the heart and soul of my outing. These morsels were sheer heaven compared to many Bay Area tea room offerings. At any number of tea rooms I’ve been to, the sandwiches/savories are simply the boring standards; not so here. The cucumber sandwich with its mint tea compound butter was a delicate and subtle enchantment; a great take on a classic standard. The crostini with warm sun-dried tomato spread was a perfectly dreamy combination of melt-in-your-mouth and crunchy textures and flavors. Even their herb-roasted chicken salad sandwich was vibrant, moist and tasty - far beyond the usual chicken-and-mayo affair of other establishments. Plus the roast beef with horseradish, the kalamata olive tapenade sandwich, topped off with the luscious homemade lemon curd atop the perfectly baked scones made this course satisfyingly memorable. Then, just to crown the meal, there was an exquisite array of sweets for the third course - delicate little anise cookies, lemon tea cookies, carrot cupcakes and chocolate strawberries that satisfied but did not overindulge my sweet tooth. And, while The Quail and Thistle has plenty of “cute and adorable” ambiance that the ladies and children find attractive, the country farm and the solid portions here make it well worth any guys who want to stop on by and get their fill. (The free Wi-Fi doesn’t hurt, either...) This tea room is clearly not just a place for special occasions - it’s for any weekend afternoon!
I love this tea room! The setting is beautiful and serene with goats frolicking in a meadow next to the parking lot. As you enter, you see a roaring fire (weather permitting) in a huge stone fireplace, and the owner's tea cup collection decorates the plate rails and china cabinet. Each china setting is unique so if you love dishes this place will give you a fix! And then there is the food... First, you start with a vegetarian soup. I've been twice. First time - roasted tomato. Second - butternut squash. OMG so good. It comes in a china teacup, making it the perfect portion. Then you have a choice of sandwiches - my favorites include pear and stilton, chicken salad on puff pastry, and the classic cucumber. The chef includes little nibbles like toast points topped with sundried tomato tapenade, as well as house-baked scones with jam and lemon curd. The tea finishes with delicious cookies and chocolate-dipped strawberries. I got the Copper Mountain Oolong tea each time, but they have a carefully curated collection from which to choose, including the classic PG tips. They have as many decaf teas and tisanes as the fully-leaded kinds. EVERYTHING is made from scratch - even the butter. The owners do a lot to support local farmers, and that includes buying cream from grass-fed cows to make the butter for your scones. All in all, if you need a weekend getaway but only have a few hours, treat yourself to a drive in the redwoods followed by a tea in this lovely spot. Bonus points if it is raining...
Quail & Thistle mastered the art of making us feel we were at a fine establishment, yet at home in the archetype of Grandmother's kitchen at the same time. The service was very dignified, friendly and personalized. There was a roaring fire in the large stone fireplace, sweet tea pots, cups and saucers everywhere, and views of nature out every multipane window. Even the parking area has a pastoral view of their orchard and pretty goats. We got an assortment of all kinds of tiny creative and traditional sandwiches, followed by a tree of all kinds of tiny sweets that our whole table shared. The variety gave everyone a different assortment of treats. We all kept sampling, until we felt full and satisfied. The food was very fresh, homemade, and every single thing had a well balanced flavor. We had a dozen of us in our party, and as we moved from our starter pot of tea, to our main meal pot of tea, to our dessert tea, we got quite chatty, and by the time we left I couldn't believe how much time had gone by in conversation. It all felt rather European not to be rushed, even as other visitors came and went. One relative commented as we left: 'We need to do this every time we come to town!'