Ever since I moved back to the Phoenix area, I have been meaning to pay a visit to my good friend Patti- she runs the Game Depot store over in the downtown Tempe area. Finally, I got to stop in and say hi, and saw that a brand-new eatery moved in next door, called E!-Ba. Yes, the exlamation point is part of the name. Their food isn't bad- a bit on the greasy side but for some reason I just couldn't stop eating it (I was ravenous?). However, what they specialize in is the strangest drink I've come across, boba tea.
Side note- up until today, the beverage that took the Stragest Drink award for me is a beer float. It's just like a root beer float except you use real beer. Trust me, it's very, very good indeed. Don't try it with cheap crud like Budweiser or Coors- at least go for a good mass-produced beer like Fat Tire or Sam Adams; you know, something with more body than Sprite. If you're in Tucson, go to Thunder Canyon Brewery and have it with their Deep Canyon Amber- that's how I got hooked on them.
Anyway. Back to boba tea. It's iced tea with flavorings (any of about 20 billion, judging by the menu- anything from strawberry to mango to lychee), a hefty dose of sweetener (looked like simple syrup to me), and the ingredient that makes the drink truly unique- tapioca pearls. They're jet black, and almost half an inch across. The straw is almost half an inch across too. This means, as you drink the drink, the intact tapioca pearls go up the straw and into the mouth. The feeling when the first couple land is not something adequately described in words, although someone came close when they said "It feels like I just ate a Tribble." On my first sip, I was very close to doubled over in hysterics laughing at the sensation. I'm still out on if boba tea is something really good or not (I'm leaning towards the good side right now), but I'm letting all of you out there know that it is worth a try (it's almost always a good idea to try something new- how do you think you became a Chowhound in the first place?); the experience is not something to be missed. If my memory serves me correctly, they are located on Forest Avenue, just north of University. I do know that whatever street it is, the old Chuckbox restaurant is on the northeast corner. Enjoy!
PS remove mypants in order to email me :o) - I'm seeing if the spam dies down a bit if I stop using the real email addy :o)