Ducking out of the torrential rainstorm today, I made my way into a restaurant/café that I had never heard of before. As the rain came down, I pulled into the stripmall at the corner of Delaware and Hertel. It was the blur of the MILK and TEA sign that drew me into unfamiliar territory. But being a big fan of bubble tea, there were telltale signals that I had arrived at the right place at the right time.
Upon walking into MILK and TEA, I immediately felt as if there should be a college campus somewhere nearby. As I perused the lit-up boba menus on the wall, I started to get very excited about this new Vietnamese food and drink excursion. The list of boba tea flavors was seemingly endless. So was the number of toppings, and other assorted add-ons. By the time that I arrived to the counter, I also realized that they were serving up banh mi sandwiches, which made me even happier.
So I ordered a Thai tea milk tea with tapioca boba pearls (non-bursting), along with a chicken bánh mi (Vietnamese sub). The server behind the counter told me that they were out of bánh mi, which I felt was surprising and unfortunate. He suggested that I get the chicken wings. Since I couldn’t make up my mind between the phở, waffles (although they looked super interesting – taro, cassava, and pandan), rice balls, fried rice, potstickers, eggrolls, pad Thai, or the bánh bao, I figured that I would stick with the suggestion of the chicken wings, though that ended up being my undoing.
As I waited for my order, I continued to browse the drink offerings that included fruit tea, pressed juices, milk tea smoothies, hot milk teas, slushy teas, and flavored teas. The toppings were just as enchanting, such as aiyu jelly, pomegranate (bursting), aloe vera jelly, egg pudding, and red bean. There are also an assortment of coffees, and milks – soy, coconut, almond, and “in-house.” The sign suggests that customers try the “in-house” milk over the others.
Just as I finished reading up on all of the menu items, my order arrived. My boba was brilliant. Actually, I would say that it was the best boba that I had ever had, because the tapioca pearls were served incredibly fresh… and warm! I don’t recall ever having warm pearls at the bottom of a cool drink before. That alone made my trip to MILK and TEA worth it. The only issue that I had with my drink was that there was no recycling receptacle for the plastic cup and the giant straw. In this day and age, I would think that would be an important consideration.
The chicken wings? What can I say other than I should have trusted my initial instinct. I was hoping that they were going to be served slathered in some sort of spicy Vietnamese sauce (soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, chili paste), but they were deep fried so that the outside was super crispy… while the chicken was hot and not exactly tender. The house mango dipping sauce was actually interesting, but I couldn’t get past the preparation of the wings to enjoy it – it was bland all around.
And… sometimes… bigger is not better.
Although the wing experience was rather sad, the superior boba made up for it. That said, I’m already planning my next visit, to get what I originally wanted – the chicken bánh mi. It’s one of my favorite “subs” when done right. And judging from the caliber of the boba, and the awesome café aesthetics, I have a feeling that I’m going to be in for a real treat. If not, I will happily return time and time again to try all of the amazing boba concoctions.
MILK and TEA | 2312 Delaware Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14216 | (716) 931-9713 | Menu