Tuesday, May 1, 2012
This slick looking operation near the corner of Canal and Centre has menu flashing flat screen tvs aplenty. As far as I can see the big pluses of Chatime are the variety of tea bases and the ability to customize the sugar level on your drink. You can dial it as far back as zero-added sugar or amp it up to 110% sugar (that's extra bonus sugar for those of you playing at home). Here's the kicker though...the bubbles cost extra. A large passion fruit bubble tea (my mom's fav) will set you back over $5 when you include tax. What the what, what?! Seriously, just walk a couple of blocks further into Chinatown and you'll see there's been an explosion of bubble tea shops, (there are several within a stone's throw of Mei Li Wah on Bayard). Even when those spots aren't running their dirt cheap specials they are still cheaper than Chatime. Sorry guys, but I'll leave Chatime to the knockoff Louis Vuitton-seeking tourists. You can actually buy some pretty good stuff with a couple of extra bucks in Chinatown as evidenced below.
Behold...my latest obsession. If you want a bonafide good deal on the same stretch of Canal Street, check out the bakery next door to Chatime (it's the green awning in the pic above at 242 Canal). I like to stop in for coconut covered rice balls stuffed with roasted peanuts and more coconut. If you know the name of this treat, hit me up in the comments.
It reminded me of the coconut and peanut covered black sesame stuffed mochi that I so love from East Harbor. These rice balls come packaged 3 for $1.50, but go early because they sometimes sell out before the end of the day. Speaking of great deals in Chinatown...if you're Chinatown-bound, you'll want to take a peek at the Real Cheap Eats Spring 2012 Chinatown edition. All Chinatown, all under $10, this has some killer finds from adventurous food blogging folk like RCE founder James Boo and Queens expert, Joe DiStefano.