Teahouse Tapioca and Tea's first opening day was a bit chaotic. The locale was Kaohsiung, in Southern Taiwan, and the owners hadn't figured out how much a cup of tea should cost. But they had decided they would treat their customers like family. To their surprise and delight, their customers reciprocated that sentiment, and those first tea drinkers returned the favor by keeping the owners informed of current trends, helping the teahouse develop their signature green tea with tapioca. The drink proved immensely popular, and eight years after opening, the owners expanded internationally.
Today, Teahouse Tapioca and Tea has five locations throughout Houston to serve its traditional cream tea. The drink's essential ingredients are tapioca balls, which are infused with dark brown sugar and caramel to make them chocolatey brown and extra flavorful. The drink isn't for everyone, but if you aren't pleased with its taste, you can exchange it for one of the teahouse's espresso drinks or juice.
Solo Cakes & Cookies Cafe whips up batches of moist cupcakes and healthy soy cookies daily in addition to concocting wedding-day confections. A rotating menu of cupcake flavors includes classic standbys such as chocolate and vanilla, which sweetly complement cups of coffee. Staffers also eagerly accept the challenge of a custom order, adorning cake tops with intricate flowers and swirling frosting latticework. Customers surf free WiFi for recipe ideas or food-fight videos while bakers work, and Solo Cakes & Cookies Cafe serves Ethiopian breakfast noshes alongside a smorgasbord of sweets, which can be devoured atop square tables located indoors or streetside.
In a cozy space awash in bright lights and leaf-green décor, Royal Tea Café serves quick Vietnamese dishes and drinks. Their namesake specialty, cool bubble teas, float chewy boba pearls in flavored green or black cream teas, and hide the tapioca bubbles beneath lychee- or mango-flavored slushes. Hot savory dishes provide a pleasant contrast to the chilly drinks or leisurely strolls in the Arctic: Banh mi nestles char-grilled pork or chicken into a baguette with cilantro and quick-pickled veggies, while vermicelli noodles delicately entwine char-grilled beef or veggies.
In 2008, four sisters started Bambu Desserts & Drinks as a hobby. Today, the San Jose?born brand has established a major presence in the Bay Area, and has expanded to other states including Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas. Bambu?s success can be traced to the quality of its treats, as well as its variety: the menu is packed with about 100 Asian-inspired desserts and beverages. Tapioca balls float in their milk teas, which range in flavor from lychee to coconut to jasmine, and their dessert drinks combine such intriguing ingredients as coconut, pandan jelly, longan, basil seed?which form the Bambu special. Various hot and cold coffee drinks, such as Vietnamese coffee, caf? mochas, and lattes, put a spring in guests' step?more convenient than filling your shoes with jumping beans. The staffers also concoct blended coffees and smoothies, which come in flavors including strawberry, coconut, papaya, and avocado
As its name might suggest, Taco Burger Cafe specializes in two of the country's favorite cuisines: All-American diner grub and Mexican food. Perhaps no other dish on the menu shows off this savory union better than the taco burger combo, which combines a mini cheeseburger and french fries with a steak or chicken taco. This popular dish is offered all day long, beginning as soon as the doors open at 7:30 a.m. In fact, chefs can make anything on the menu any time of day, so guests can down black bean tostadas for breakfast or veggie omelets for lunch. But the food isn't the only thing that's unique about Taco Burger Cafe, so is the location. That's because it's tucked inside Dr. Gleem Car Wash, making it convenient for diners to spiff up their vehicles and enjoy satisfying meals in one trip.
When a refined palate accompanies a sweet tooth, Bambu Desserts & Drinks is there. Take their extensive milk tea selection, for example, which features familiar flavors such as coffee, coconut, and mint, but also more exotic varieties such as red and green bean, lychee, and grass jelly?all bubbling with delightful pearls of black tapioca. Fruit smoothies mix up green apple, lime berry, and taro coconut, while other cold drinks such as the tangy Vietnamese iced coffee provide relief when the sun is particularly hot or secretly sneaking up on the Earth. The desserts are where things get really exciting, however, as the menu features distinctive blends of unexpected ingredients?the house specialty combines coconut with pandan jelly, longan, and basil seeds.