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Hidden Gem Alert:

My buddy Rick's giving me a ride home from Chula Vista. We're heading up Third Avenue when he cuts into an angle park in that section you might call Old Town.

“Gotta pick up supplies,” he says.

Rick’s a good-natured, super-fit ex-Marine who spent 2010 in Afghanistan sitting in a bunker training border guards.

So he knows about one thing: tea. Over there sharing tea is a big part of everyone’s day.

Now he hauls me into this über-cute little shop called My Cup of Tea (242 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, 619-691-1347).

We meet Janet Goff.



Rick says she runs it for love of tea, rather than love of money.


She collects teapots, and hats...


They're all for sale, some for as much as $90


She’s a grandmother and tea expert who has tried every one of the dozens of teas she has brought in from Darjeeling, Assam, South Africa, you name it.

She sits us down and has us choose.

We decide on Darjeeling.


She prepares the tea, heats a scone, brings out little pats of real English Double Devon clotted cream, and lemon curd, both actually from England...


...and then pours our teas from a big bulbous pot (no tea bags!)...


...into scarily delicate English tea cups...


...that she says are probably 90 years old.

I kinda feel like we’re invaders from Planet Male.



But still, tea, great, scone great, the whole ceremony of it, priceless.

And guess what? Actual costs for the two of us: $6.75.

Must get Carla down here.

More in upcoming Tin Fork.

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