08 May 2013

Newish Places all Around

at Tapioca Story

 I'm starting to see more tea-worthy places in my neighborhoods (home and work), and that should be a happy thing. Yes, it is - my 'Wish You Were Here' posts testify to that.  In Astoria, it's a double-edged sword, though, because usually when I start to like a place, it gets trendy...which brings on the hipster types.  Yes, business is good, but now it's crowded and pretentious.  I'm fine with that when it comes to places that focus on coffee.  I am not the hugest coffee drinker - certainly not an aficionado, and it seems, sometimes, that the hipster element enhances that particular beverage.   Gregory's Coffee (46th between 5th and Madison) is an example of this.  The bespectacled logo was enough to keep me away for a while, but when I finally caved one day with Bonnie, her enthusiasm gave it merits, and I've been back a number of times since with her (it doesn't hurt that their donuts are worth walking off.) 

When it comes to tea, I'm a little reluctant to share my thoughts on recent additions.  Leli's Bakery opened in the winter on 30th Avenue in Astoria, and though their tea is served in bags, they're the better bags - and you can have it in a teapot.  Their baked items, both sweet and savory, are wonderful accompaniments, and in my opinion superior to Martha's Bakery.  I mean, come on Martha - first you have to be seated by a host, and next you must pay gobs of cash for a mediocre cookie and drink?  That's the thing, though.  When a place is popular, I'm glad to see it's gonna stick around, but then what? 

Next, there's Tapioca Story.  A bona fide bubble tea shop is not common in my part of Queens, so I'm enthusiastic, even if it's not as close to home as Leli's.  The tea I tried - a rose black with the tapioca pearls, was just what it should be, though hopefully they'll get a/c during the summer months.  There's not a lot of seating, but what can you do with a small space?

The other recent opening surprised me - how did I never hear there would be a second Radiance?  I know I was less than happy with my last visit, but I was still pleased to see the location by 50th and 3rd.  After all, I may not have the constant funds to lunch here (never say never), but a cup to go in the middle of the day is not out of the question. 

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