Ten or so years ago I decided I’d join the food and drink fadsters, and my first assignment was to try a vogue, mysterious bubble tea beverage. Lucky for me, there were dozens of bubble tea outlets in the Seattle metropolitan region. Seattle is replete with Asians and asiaphiles, ensuring that every few feet there will be a place that primarily caters to the food tastes of people who consider me and my food habits unusual.
I swung into a tea shop, and was delivered an endless list of possible combinations of tea and bubble flavors in rapid-fire Chinese-English by a girl who’s speech pattern indicated she wasn’t above the misuse or omission of punctuation*. Making matters worse, I had to choose between clear, brown, bright green, blue or pink bubbles.
Seriously? When I order something at Starbucks it takes two seconds. “Double short latte, please.” Done. Sometimes I want a fancier drink, but I do it to teach the, “Single tall, caramel, decaf macchiato with twenty-five ice cubes, six Splendas and–oh, why not?!?–a drizzle of chocolate sauce, please, because I went to the gym today,” people a lesson in proper coffee ordering.
It wasn’t easy, but I pared down my choices to green tea with a splash of milk for the primary fluid, and unobtrusive beige bubbles that I was promised were also made with green tea. I still felt ridiculous.
As that first blurp of tapioca climbed up through the oversized straw and into my mouth I thought, “This looks and, quite frankly, tastes like a clogged toilet.” The starchy blob didn’t have any redeeming qualities other than bitter sweetness, nor did it have a purpose in the drink. I tossed the almost full cup into the nearest trash can and ran before I could be judged.
Assignment: complete. Results: unfavorable.
On the heels of the bubble tea craze came the donut craze, immediately followed by the high protein craze; at which point I resigned from the fadsters. I enjoy a lot of meat, but I can’t skip carbs without enduring potentially fatal withdrawals.
*For the record, neither am I.