It’s hard to miss the personal touches sprinkled throughout Teaquation & Tonic — the bright blue accents framing the ceiling, the rustic wooden tables adorned with mini pumpkins, and a homely scarecrow nestled against a wall. Located on 115 Hamilton Ave., the eatery features a lively combination of bold Latin music, eccentric beverages, and meticulously decorated desserts.
Teaquation & Tonic, a restaurant and tea bar that has recently relocated from Redwood City to Palo Alto, was created to promote healthy, delicious foods and drinks. It is the brainchild of co-owner and former tech designer Mercedes Mapua, who decided to leave the industry two years ago to pursue the life of a restaraunteur alongside her husband.
When she turned 30, Mapua realized that, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, she needed to pay more attention to what she ate. Looking for an air of sophistication and all-natural options, Mapua helped design the menu to reflect her own favorite American meals.
“We always try to sell something that’s a different take on an old product, which is … what we’re doing with tea as well,” Mapua says.
It was this mindset that eventually gave rise to Teaquation & Tonic, whose menu includes a multitude of unconventional foods, such as fried chicken on waffles and pork belly atop baguettes. Teaquation & Tonic’s true specialty is in the Tea Flight, a customer-selected assortment of four teas featuring fruity and tart notes. The teas served are made with all-natural ingredients that reflect Mapua’s commitment to a distinctive experience.
Although Mapua has put ample thought into the menu and design of the restaurant, she realizes that every new beginning — including opening businesses — brings its own challenges.
“The investment that you put in time and money wise — it’s always more than what you think,” Mapua says. “You have to be really passionate about something before you start it, and be prepared to fail and stand up after that.”
Here are some of the highlights of our recent visit to Teaquation & Tonic. v
Funky food favorites
Ubé-by crepe ($7): An airy, thin crepe topped with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and ube — mashed dessert yam — came together to create a wonderfully sweet sensation. While this dish is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, it was, at times, overwhelmingly sugary.
Chicken & waffles ($12): Fluffy and light, this plate manages to balance the sweet notes of maple syrup and strawberries with the savory flavors of the chives, egg and a crunchy buttermilk-fried chicken piece.
Mini bruschetta trio ($14): Served with six slices of bread, it featured three different assortments of meat and vegetable. The zesty salmon bruschetta was moist on the tongue; the pork belly bruschetta surprisingly spicy, as the drizzled sriracha sauce added intensity; and the mackerel and avocado combination brought both tangy and refreshing elements to the palate.
Brilliantly Colored Beverages
Tea Flight ($16.35): We chose four specialized drinks to complete our tea flight: The Joker, Gold Digger, Pink Cadillac and Star Anise. The mixed drinks brought unexpected and fruity flavors that blended the sweet and tangy elements, but they were oversaturated with sugar.