Located in the historic DeGolyer home, the DeGolyer Garden Cafe is a wonderful place to take a break from the gardens. Seated in the shade, the diner can view the gardens while being refreshed.
I entered the DeGolyer Garden Cafe through the back, but was greeted politely nonetheless. I was quickly shown a table and my server showed up soon after. She asked what she could bring me to drink and I flipped over my menu to examine the options, but she listed them all quickly and told me about some more options that were not printed on the menu. I chose the peach tea. Delicious. It looked like iced tea, but tasted like peach juice--real peach juice, not the sugary peach-flavored stuff--with just a hint of tea.
Each food item on the menu was really a selection of food items on a plate. The quiche plate was several mini-quiches of different varieties. The Three Tea Sandwich plate, which I ordered, came with two egg salad sandwiches on wheat, two cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on white, and a chicken salad sandwich on a croissant. Each sandwich was of the four-bite kind with the crusts removed. Very dainty.
The chicken salad tasted fresh and included bits of apple in it, lending it a nice sweetness. The egg salad was good, too, but nothing unusual. I would have liked a little more cucumber and a little less cream cheese on those sandwiches, but they were good anyway.
A cup of soup or a small salad is included with most plates. The soup of the day was a spicy chicken noodle and it seemed an excellent choice for the chilly day I was at the Arboretum. It didn't disappoint. The spicy warmth added flavor without burning the mouth. The noodles were firm and the soup lacked that greasy film that so many restaurants include.
Soon after I finished eating, the server brought a tray of desserts. Yum. I was hungry again just looking at them. Cheesecake, chocolate cake, pie, you name it. I chose a three-layer white cake with chocolate-hazelnut frosting between the layers and raspberry frosting on top. The firm, spongy cake contrasted with the creamy frosting. It was delicious, but after the soup and sandwiches, I couldn't finish it.
Which brings me to my only caution. I found the food quite filling. The plate was the perfect size for my appetite. Other people might find it too light and might need to order more than one plate or regard this as a snack. Just something to keep in mind.
My whole meal came to $14 and change, plus tip, and I ordered the most expensive items on the menu. A more frugal diner could eat a full meal there, including dessert, for $7 plus tip.