Bao & Butter

Exploring New York City and the world

Mr Wish Park Slope Grand Opening

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | Park Slope | Brooklyn

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | 86 5th Ave | Park Slope | Brooklyn | NYC
Somehow Mr Wish, a bubble tea chain with five other branches scattered around New York City (and zillions in Taiwan and also China) escaped my notice until they opened one in my own neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | 86 5th Ave | Park Slope | Brooklyn | NYC

My first impression of Mr Wish was a positive one after stopping by for a full sugar tapioca milk tea for my niece. The tapioca pearls were soft, the way they should be, something that’s hard to come by in New York City. I couldn’t tell much else about the drink due to the sugar overload, so I returned a couple of days later with a friend and ordered a cold, zero sugar milk tea with tapioca pearls and one of their signature fruit drinks without boba.

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | 86 5th Ave | Park Slope | Brooklyn | NYC

What a disappointment. The zero sugar of the drink itself was counteracted by the over-sweet tapioca pearls, which made the entire drink sweet, and balanced by… nothing. There was no taste of tea. No taste beyond sugar except a slight metallic tang.

Mr Wish Bubble Tea | 86 5th Ave | Park Slope | Brooklyn | NYC

Mr Wish is supposedly famous for fruit drinks, but the best thing about the one we tried was the gibberish-y slogan/poem printed on the plastic cup. The real fruit included in the drink had no chance of drawing attention to itself against the thick, cloying fruit base, most likely created from concentrate. We couldn’t get down more than a few sips.

Archestratus Books & Foods Exterior

Food Tour | Archestratus, Bakeri, Cienaga, Meyers Bageri, MilkMade, Nixtamal, Oddfellows, Yunnan Flavour Garden

I love showing people around New York City, mixing food exploration with sightseeing. A recent expedition involved taking Mark, a food guy visiting from Bali, on a highly personalized journey that took into consideration preferences of his (bakeries, ice cream) and ruled out cuisines from Southeast Asia (where he lives and travels), Japan (his future home), and squeezed it into one dinner Wednesday night and half of the next day, along with homework to complete in his own time. We could have covered more places, but unlike me (probably wisely), he doesn’t eat for science – only for hunger – and our geographically disparate destinations took a toll on available eating time due to heavy New York City traffic.

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East One - Featured Image

Best New Cafes & Coffee Shops | NYC | May 2017 Edition

At least a handful of cafes open in New York City every month, but I no longer attempt to make it to all of them and instead prioritize those that meet at least one of the following criteria: serving coffee from a favorite roaster, beautiful spaces, good places to work, inhabiting previously unserved or underserved neighborhoods.

My four recent favorites are all in Brooklyn except for Flatiron’s Patisserie Chanson.

Use this handy Foursquare list to find all of the cafes covered in this series of best cafe and coffee shop roundups.

East One Coffee Roasters | Carroll Gardens

East One | Court St | Carroll Gardens | Brooklyn | NYC 384 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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Best New Cafes & Coffee Shops | NYC | March 2017 Edition

A lot of cafes have opened in the past few months. I didn’t make it to all of them, but these are my favorites out of the ones I did visit. This is a running series and the previous edition can be found here. Order is alphabetical.

Use this handy Foursquare list to find all of the cafes covered in this series of best cafe and coffee shop roundups.

Alpha Dominche Extraction Lab | Sunset Park

Alpha Dominche Extraction Lab | Industry City | Sunset Park | Brooklyn | NYC

51 35th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232

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White Noise Coffee interior

Best New Cafes & Coffee Shops | NYC | February 2017 Edition

Espresso | Three Seat Espresso & Barber | Ave A | East Village | Manhattan | NYC

Espresso | Three Seat Espresso & Barber

Use this handy Foursquare list to find all of the cafes covered in this series of best cafe and coffee shop roundups.

New specialty coffee shops continue to open in New York City at a furious rate, and I’ve given up trying to get to all of them. However, I still (eventually) make it to a lot of them and write about the ones that are special in some way, or fill a void in a previously underserved neighborhood.

The bulk of the cafes I’ve visited lately that have opened in the last few months are in Brooklyn, with a couple in Manhattan, and one in Queens. Collectively they use coffee from a striking variety of roasters, mostly local, but some further afield.

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BBQ Fish | Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan

Flushing’s Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan | A Pallid Reminder of its Former Self

Ignoring the warnings of a Flushing food buddy that ingredient quality and preparation had taken a nosedive, I recently revisited the ungainly named but formerly reliable downtown Flushing standby, Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan (HKGS), with a small group of repeat visitors for a late-night meal. Although I have at least 10 HKGS sojourns under my belt, it was my first since 2014, and I was shocked by how far it had fallen.

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