Time to up your brunch game
Palo Alto’s morning palate just got a little broader with the opening of Teaquation & Tonic, the new “it” brunch spot on Hamilton Avenue. The highly floral, fresh eatery boasts a far-ranging wine menu and exotic, healthy ingredients for drinks like hibiscus, green tea, blackberry and orange.
Teaquation & Tonic 115 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto
Teaquation’s origin story is about as Silicon Valley as you can get: Owner Mercedes Mapua used to be a tech designer before turning her talents to food — and boy, are we glad she did. Originally a Redwood City fave, more Peninsula locals can now bask in delicacies like strawberry shortcake with white chocolate, pork belly sandwiches and flights of the in-house specialty teas.If you’re looking for something headier, Teaquation has launched beer and wine offerings after a soft opening earlier this summer. Of course, they come in everything from traditional fare to gluten-free options, and span the globe from European stalwarts to more adventurous American tipples. Perhaps even more intriguing, you can turn pretty much all of the 16 signature drinks into alcoholic ones by just asking for a boozy addition, widening your flavor horizons.
So, how to stand out in a town that is rife with tea bars of all persuasions? Teaquation had to find a balance. The new occupant of the former Spot A Pizza Place site stakes its reputation on drinks like the “Orange is the New Black” (sea salt, whipped cream, honey and coconut top Thai ice tea) and a dedication to the art of mixology, which dares diners to try out different tastes and textures to find their favorite flavor zen. Not sure what to order when you visit? We recommend the housemade macarons, mango mousse and the bourbon meatballs with couscous.If you’re looking for something more traditional, the menu boasts an impressive array of teas (both boba and non-boba) and a refreshing lack of standard issue, sugar-rife beverages — the perfect place to stop post-workout or during a morning bike ride.
Camper 898 Santa Cruz Ave. Menlo Park
Camper opened in early September to much anticipation from Menlo Park foodies. The menu is filled to the brim with the kind of high quality, local and often organic fare that one would expect from chef Greg Kuzia-Carmel (formerly of Quince in San Francisco and Per Se in New York). Camper boasts fine dining’s attention to detail without the exclusivity — it aspires to be a true neighborhood gathering place more than anything else, and it has the kids menu to prove it. “We want this to be the kind of restaurant where you can visit it several times a week, for different styles of dining, and feel like it caters to a wide spectrum of need,” says Kuzia-Carmel. “Without being too cliché, we want it to be a Swiss Army knife.” With everything from a vegan starter of heirloom cucumbers, plums, whipped tofu, shisho and aged soy, to a 45 day dry-aged strip loin, they’re well on their way
Manresa Bread 195 E. Campbell Ave. Campbell
Opening an all-day cafe in Campbell seemed like the next natural step for Avery Ruzicka of Manresa Bread, who is already head baker at two locations in Los Gatos and Los Altos. But here’s the kicker: Along with the levain, chocolate babka and croissants that established them as a standalone staple in Peninsula neighborhoods, Ruzicka and her team are delighting guests with their take on more involved, bread-centric offerings. “We are working on a salted caramel style cinnamon roll that we are really excited about and might be exclusive to the Campbell location,” Ruzicka says. “Later in the day we will have parmesan and black pepper churros served with a piquant romesco sauce — a pretty perfect snack with a glass of wine or cold drink.”