Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chang's Bubble Tea

Chang's Bubble Tea
8095 Macon Road (Cordova)

When Warren was in California over Christmas, he told me about a bubble tea restaurant that his friend took him to. This reminded me that I had Chang's Bubble Tea on my list of places to go. We're big fans of the bubble tea at a few of our favorite Midtown Vietnamese restaurants, but I wanted the full experience. One Saturday afternoon, after visiting the Apple store, we drove down Germantown Road in search of Chang's. It was in a small strip mall located next to the Germantown Osaka that I had never actually located. Had I not been on "assignment," I would have probably hightailed it into Osaka for some sushi. However, I knew that Chang's also had a full menu, and that we should try it.

Once inside I was instantly in a good mood. The bright green walls, live plants, and other touches gave it a California smoothie bar feel and differentiated it from other local Asian hot spots. I asked Warren if it reminded him of the one in California and he got a goofy look on his face. "Uh, a little," he said. (The one he went to in California had waitresses who wore lingerie.)

There were several other people in the restaurant, but no one was sitting at the small bar in back. Since we were eating too, we grabbed a table near the bar. A waitress greeted us and since the menu was already on the table, left us to our own devices. There was only one menu, and it was quite extensive, so I stole another one off of a different table.

Before we could even begin to decide what to eat, the waitress brought out some complimentary edamame--a small bowl for each of us. Ding ding ding--major bonus points. (And yes, she was fully clothed.) The immediate food was great for the cranky monkeys we had with us. Satchel (7) and Jiro (5) had a friend spend the night and as is per usual with sleepovers, there was very little actual sleeping.

There were over 40 flavors of bubble tea so it was really hard to choose. You also have the option of a slush or smoothie consistency, mixing flavors, and adding tapioca or jelly. (Tapioca is more standard here.) Eventually Warren decided on a Green Tea Chai, the boys agreed to split a Chocolate Mocha, and I--despite all of the fun options--got my usual coconut.

I had a hard time getting the monkeys to give me input on what they might want to eat, so I just ordered their standard fried chicken wings. Warren opted for one of the $5.50 lunch specials--Veggie Lo Mein--that came with soup, rice, and eggroll. I got wooed by the Chef's Specials, specifically the Lychee Shrimp. It was listed as $9.99, but I figured it would be a big enough serving for another meal at home and that I could share the rice with the monkeys, so I went for it. Once our orders were in, we let the monkeys play their DSes and I let Warren talk my ear off about the kombucha he ordered. (It's a medicinal tea that you ferment yourself.) In fact he talked so much, I don't think he even noticed when I ate his hot & sour soup that he was ignoring on the table. (It was pretty good, nothing special.)

Every so often the monkeys would whine about the whereabouts of their bubble tea. There was a constant hum of blenders coming from the kitchen so I could only assure them that it would be soon. And eventually one by one our bubble teas arrived. We marveled at the machine that vacuum sealed the tops and took pleasure in choosing a large, colored straw of our choice and ramming it through the plastic. It was a very satisfying exercise.

Warren and I started debating whether or not bubble tea is actually healthy. I say no. It's no different from a milkshake in my mind. He sees it more like a vitamin packed smoothie. I noted that the main ingredient was most likely sugar. He responded, "Sugar makes your muscles work."

Soon our food arrived and we all stopped talking. Satchel ate two chicken wings and lots of rice from our plates...with his fingers. "Use your spoon," is the soundtrack to most of our dining experiences these days. (Sometimes we vary it with "Use your fork.") Jiro had to be prodded to eat even one wing. He simply wasn't interested in eating, as evidenced by his lack of concern for the bubble tea Satchel was no longer sharing with him.

Warren's lunch looked very nice and healthy. It was a decent sized portion, not too big, not too small. I wished I'd ordered it. My lychee shrimp was surprisingly small considering the price tag and lack of side items. And, uh, it was SO SWEET. Why this surprised me I don't know. Lychees are one of my favorite fruits. I know how sweet they are. Also I don't know why the fact that they were canned disappointed me. It was February! Anyways, the shrimp was nice and crunchy and thanks to the container of hot sauce on the table, I was able to mask the sticky sweetness of the dish. I definitely will never order that again. Next time I'll go for something spicy from the get go, or ask the waitress for a suggestion. (Or I'll take my bubble tea next door to Osaka!)

We ended up staying for awhile, enjoying our food and tea, and even the atmosphere. We were having so much fun, we asked Satchel to take our picture. After 20 takes we found one I liked enough to post on the internet.

Satchel needed to go to the bathroom, so I accompanied him. It was passable, but not the best bathroom ever. Definitely no changing table--just a wobbly table from the restaurant. I'd definitely be scared to change a diaper on it.

As we were leaving, I asked the monkeys what they thought of the restaurant. "I love it," said Jiro, not looking up from his game.

Chang's Bubble Tea Cafe on Urbanspoon

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