Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Addiction is Born

Gather round children. I'm about to let you in on a secret pleasure of mine...bordering on an obsession. It's not quite there yet, but it's brewing, so to speak.

It all started off innocently enough back in the wintertime when two parents at Tali's violin school were drinking a foreign beverage. "What's that?" I ask. They explain in far too much detail for me to recall, words sticking out such as taro, cassava root, black tea, tapioca balls - the last bit I remember, "bubble tea". They boasted of its energizing quality and smiled enthusiastically about its taste. They then pointed me in the direction - a certain Chinese Bakery on Main Street in Flushing, Queens where I could procure the drink.

Off we went in search of. The first stop landed us in a Chinese Bakery but when I asked what type of tea they served - they offered up a Lipton. No thanks, says I but lean in a bit conspiratorially and ask "Say, where can I get a bubble tea?"

"Oh bubba tea!" they say enthusiastically and point me in the direction of a Tea Shop on the opposite side, corner. Off I go and sure enough go into what seems to be the mecca of Bubble Tea .


After I place my order and wait, my very own Bubble Tea arrives. The first sip goes down a little hard, with a tapioca ball catching in my throat. With each sip, the flavor becomes less foreign, the chewy tapioca balls less...chewy. I enjoyed the drink but was not abandoning Starbucks any time soon.

Springtime comes and I stop by to get another Bubble tea which Tali and I laugh sounds like it's being pronounced "bubba tea" which actually isn't far off I've come to learn. I'm really enjoying this - just the refreshment the afternoon calls for.

I find myself thinking of bubble tea and wondering when the next time is I'll be in the neighborhood. Last weekend seemed to be a good time. I hit the spot at around 11:30 am, get out of my car, feed the meter and walk up - what's this? Closed? It's almost noon! Back into my car. I decide to check out another possible purveyor of bubble tea, closer to home. Park, get out - what's this? Relocated to 80-02 Roosevelt Avenue!? That's out of my way! I feel a bead of sweat forming and tell myself I could go home now without a bubble tea and be just fine. Instead I walk around the block to the last possible location that I know of. Score! There in all its lovely Asian minimalist aesthetic is a new Bubble tea shop! I go in and order, trying not to appear too anxious, casually asking about how long they've been here as they begin to make my tea (all the while muttering under my breath..."come on, you're not going to Taiwan for the bubbles, let's go man"). On the surface I am cool as I get handed the tea and good wishes for my day. I turn for the straw the size of a garden hose and head for my car.

I sip, it's not as good as the original bubble tea place from which I originally scored. Not bad - just not as good.

It's a little out of my way, but I'll drop by tomorrow on my way home to see if the original tea shop is open for business again. My worst nightmare is that the Board of Health has shuttered the place, although there seems no evidence of that.

Just the same, I'll ask around the neighborhood to see what I can find out.

Do yourselves a favor - don't have a bubble tea. No good can come of it.

23 comments:

goldennib said...

Do you need an intervention?

neva said...

that's exactly how we got hooked on triple-grande-soy-no-whip-mochas.

bubble tea, says you? i'm game, says i... hmmmm. wonder if i can find a place that serves it in Connecticut. (thinking i might ask "Nancy", my nail girl) tell me again why we didn't have one of those yesterday?? ; ) xox

HMBT said...

O.M.G. that's so funny, just what I needed this morning...perfect-o!

~cj~ said...

Bubble tea! I had not heard of such a thing. But I did just read on their website you can order it wholesale and THEN use some of their recipies to make your own! Bubble Tea... it even sounds addicting!

First Nations said...

remember chai tea? i COULD NOT order the stuff. came out 'Tai Chi' every time.
EVERY TIME.

*dashes off to google the eminently more pronounceable 'Bubble Tea'*

pia said...

saw bubble tea made of gummy bears in Philadelphia. Said saw, didn't drink

Love the bubba tea

Theresa said...

Bubble tea? Never heard of it, but then everything takes a while to get over here. Still, I don't think I'll be switching my coffee addiction anytime soon. Fun name, though.

G said...

Goldennib: I can stop any time.

Neva, same thing - very insidious. Friends don't let friends drive bubbled up. Besides I haven't found any out in this neighborhood yet.

hmbt, Bubble tea? That's what we all need, but we must resist!

cj: See! It's trouble, oh yes.

FN, laughing and now getting stuck with TaiChi in my head. Hope I don't order that instead of my beloved Bubble Tea!

Pia, good girl - stay away from the stuff :)

Theresa, that's how they hook you in - with the fun name. Beware.

ann said...

sounds quite something... bet we don't have it in London

were your hands shaking, your breath shallow, beads of sweat on your lip... oh you do have it bad, oh dear!

Tom & Icy said...

Thou shops shall come and go like the fleeting wind, tea is forever!

al said...

Tapioca balls.

All I can think is, "takes three guys to hold the Tapioca down..."

weirsdo said...

I think they have that at the otherwise pitiful food court in our mall. But they call it "pearly tea," I think. Thanks for the info. Maybe next time Mall Diva has a shopping jones I will get hooked up with my own co-dependent addiction.

Diesel said...

We really can't take Al anywhere.

alphawoman said...

Hilarious.You make me want to try one.

ann said...

al: much like fish balls.

hey g these tapioca balls, they weren't like matzah balls, were they?

Claire said...

The local Vietnamese place has 'pearly tea'. I wonder if that's the same thing. I love their food, especially pho but I'm scared to try the pearly stuff. Maybe I'll get brave and try it...

actonbell said...

LOL, great post! I've never heard of Bubble tea...

G said...

Ann: Oh those were the symptoms, but I swear I can stop any time.

Tom&Icy: Tea is forever! All hail tea!

Al: You know I put those words in just for you. Haha.

Weirsdo: That a girl, now you're talking. At least some good will come of the mall visit.

Diesel: Nope - nowhere.

Alphawoman: We all like company in our addictions. Welcome.

Ann: Oy vay, imagine?!

Claire: I'll bet it is - see Weirsdo's comment above. Give it a try, you've only got your soul to lose.

Actonbell: Glad to bring you into the inner sanctum then.

ariel said...

"I find myself thinking of bubble tea and wondering when the next time is I'll be in the neighborhood."

it is a very beautiful sentence. it always starts with that. what is more thrilling than the beginning of a passion?

Doug said...

Don't have to tell me.

G said...

Ariel - indeed! So well put yourself.

Doug, Somehow I didn't think so. It's the tapioca balls, isn't it?

If I don't have a bubble tea soon, I'm going to have to go to rehab.

Minka said...

Bubble tea...I am just laughing. Doe sit coem with chewing gum?
Enjoy.

I am sticking with Starbucks though :)

G said...

Well chewy little tapioca balls. Okay, I can't type those words again!

It's okay - I'll meet you there. I can't give up my Starbucks jones yet either.