Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Discoveries!

This past weekend I went on a little trip to Chicago.
This post documents my findings.
However, none of these are actually in Chicago ;)

While waiting for my flight to O'Hare , I began searching for some coffee in the American airlines terminal of LaGuardia airport. This terminal has terrible options by the way. I came across this little place called Healthy Gourmet. Their coffee selection was nothing special, but I was intrigued by their french press cups.

Healthy Gourmet french press cup
In previous posts I have talked about my love of the french press method of coffee preparation. It is so simple, the coffee is freshly brewed, and you can control the strength.

I had never seen the french press in this form before. To have an individually brewed portable cup of  french press coffee is a genius idea. You never have to wonder how long ago your cup of coffee was actually made. This cup really should be more widely available.

see the pressed down filter inside

The barista at Healthy Gourmet puts coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup then adds hot water and milk/sugar as desired. The french press filter is in the lid. You wait only a minute or two and then you press down the filter. There is also a filter attached to the opening on the lid that you drink out of. This prevents any loose coffee grounds from getting out.

I have to admit though the coffee was terrible. They don't use good quality coffee beans. It tasted bitter and very harsh. I need better cafes to start using these french press cups. We need to start a coffee cup revolution!

Side Note:
I went to Chicago (actually outside Chicago) for the Midwest Token Kai, which is a Japanese sword and antique show. If you're interested in this, the next show is in San Francisco  http://www.ncjsc.org/SF_token_kai.htm
Also go buy stuff from my parent's business http://www.togishi.com/.

The hotel where the sword show was held is conveniently located right across the street from the Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg, Illinois. Apparently this is suppossed to be one of the largest malls in America, but I didn't find it to be that big. It has the weirdest configuration. Stores on the same floor are at different heights from each other. There was also a random mezzanine level. I can't even describe the awkwardness of the layout. Nevertheless, as I was walking through the mall, I found this:

Apparently everything they serve is blended with various real fruit and other flavor options. I was surprised to see they offered avocado. I have only really seen this being offered in Hawaii, I think. I have always been intrigued and wanted to try this flavor. 

I ordered: Avocado Banana bubble tea:
  • Taste: perfectly blended, very creamy, well balanced fruit flavors. It actually kinda tasted like a vanilla cookie. I don't know how else to describe the taste.
  • Boba: the right consistency of soft and chew, but the boba doesn't have its own flavor. Just a textural addition to the drink.
  • Avocado Banana YUM
  • Price: regular 16oz. size $5.00 

First off this was delicious. I was surprised to find damn good bubble tea in this mall. I don't know anything about the quality or quantity of bubble tea in the Schaumberg, Chicago, or Midwest regions. I guess Chill Bubble Tea attests to the growing popularity of my favorite beverage.
The bubble tea was really good, I just wish the boba had some of its own flavor, even just a hint of sweetness. Also I thought the price was high. To pay $5 for a bubble tea I expect to get something at least three times this size. Okay not really three times, but somewhere around 20-24 oz. For the size to price ratio, Chill is the most expensive bubble tea place I have been to. I'm not sure why their prices are so high, maybe it is their location in a region with low bubble tea demand. Also the mall was practically empty when I was there, so maybe Chill doesn't have many customers.

Well I guess what I have learned from this discovery is that you might find a great bubble tea shop in the most unlikely of places.

4 out of 5 bubbles.

Happy Lei Day!!

No comments: