Numerous places have been visited, and an even greater number of photos were captured. I apologize in advance for this massive photo dump; most of these visuals will have stories associated with them, though there are a select few that I'll leave up to your interpretation.
1. Beaver and moose plushies resting on the dashboard of a vehicle parked adjacent - I applaude this driver for his/her patriotism!
4. Unlike the image on the website, the Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino, one of Starbuck's new Fan Flavours introduced towards the beginning of the month, did not boast the decadent chocolate syrup that was shown. It also didn't taste of much else besides sugar combined with more sugar, and that's already after I had requested half the normal dosage of flavoured syrup!
The Aloe Drink, in which I had anticipated to find small chunks of aloe but did not, was almost flavourless, with the exception of an odd, slightly sour aftertaste.
The Curry Pork Cutlet on Rice was composed of three parts: curry from a box, a hemisphere of rock-hard white rice, and the toughest strips of pork cutlet I've ever tried in my life. It's a common thing for my family to buy boxes of Glico curry to prepare at home whenever cravings act up, so I recognized the storebought flavour right away. The main source of protein in the dish, the cutlet, was covered in a breading that fell apart upon contact with my chopsticks; aforementioned, the pieces of cutlet themselves were rock-hard as could be.
Service was alright, though I am going to have to take off points for the older waitress blatantly informing me that they did not offer Wi-Fi when it was obvious that there was an open network for their restaurant. It's not like you would have time to check your smartphone while working anyways, so why is it an issue to offer this service to customers? Regardless, the food itself was enough to ensure that I would never return, in addition to warning all friends and family to steer clear. (It's a shame though - the spot I sat down in had great lighting...)
Upon walking in, I was greeted immediately by the only waiter in the cafe. I relayed my order of two Thai Iced teas before even sitting down, as I was unsure of how tortoise-like this location would be in relation to the extremely inefficient Courtney Park one, only to be told to take another look at the menu first.
Nearing the table that he pointed me towards, I almost immediately regretted the choice to sit in. With much effort, I tried to ease the massive amount of internal cringing as I sat down on the heavily damaged booth. The seats, originally vomit-green in hue, had been blackened by a seemingly endless number of eager dessert-goers. It was evident that the booth seats had been used to their full potential, and exhibited extreme signs of peeling, almost like a more grotesque version of dead skin peeling away. I'm almost certain that the two teenage girls at the booth table beside mine could sense my immense cringing.
In addition, the table was not cleaned beforehand at all! There was still sticky residue left on both the surface of the table as well as the sides of the table from previous customers. No napkins had been provided, rendering me helpless against the filth that surrounded me. During my short stay, I tried my very best to stay away from the table as possible.
"It's a milkshake." was the response I received when I asked, "What are the differences between the two?". No duh, Sherlock.
"Are they the same price?"
"No. Just look." came a blunt reply.
"...I'll just get the iced teas."
He proceeded to walk away, taking the (likely also unclean) menus with him and potentially wondering why I didn't order anything more. With that kind of attitude, I would've walked right out had I not been waiting for someone.
The Thai Iced Teas came out relatively quickly. They were spilled on their way to our table, but the server made no attempt to clean it up for us or bring us napkins. Talk about a considerate server.
It was at this moment that I noticed that the frames of the windows held crumbs, and flies were happily feasting on the leftovers. <insert even greater degree of cringing>.
I'm not sure if he tipped when we left, but I sure hope he didn't.
I had noticed that the bottom of the receipt included a survey code that could later be redeemed for some sort of discount. Making sure to the fill it out, I included all the details that store management may have wanted to know about. I'm genuinely hoping that something will be done about the cafe's lack of cleanliness, and about the surly, sloppy waiter that was observed to don pants that were severed and falling apart at the hem. Ew.
8. Another one of Starbucks' Fan Flavours, the Lemon Bar Frappuccino was a total hit! It combined the tanginess of lemonade with the milky slushiness of a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino.
A box of assorted flavours was purchased, yielding the greatest degree of piping hot satisfaction possible. The custard filling was definitely my favourite, though the other variations (red bean, green bean, and black bean) elevated standard taiyaki to a whole new level of street food.
The entire album can be viewed HERE!
11. Roasted Milk Tea with Grass Jelly from Green Grotto - Instead of the soft, almost flavourless type of grass jelly, they utilized a firmed type more suited for dessert. It failed to pass through the straw at all, leaving behind the large chunks at the bottom of cup once the milk tea had been drained.
At that point in time, however, I was more in the mood for an Oreo Cocoa Ice Diamond. The girl at the cashier was extremely friendly, and gladly allowed me to switch up the standard topping for the addition of tofu pudding instead.
Quite frankly, I've always received great service at zenQ, regardless of whoever is serving me that day. Check out THIS ALBUM for more shots of their awesome desserts!
I must also commend them for the swiftness and efficiency, along with the ability to consistently maintain their standards. It is customary of me to call ahead of time when ordering takeout to avoid standing around awkwardly while waiting, and I was glad to be in and out of the restaurant in approximately five minutes or less by performing this step.
About a six-minute walk from Yonge-Dundas Square, the shop was located right outside Ryerson University and diagonally across from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. (Side note: Make a visit to this ramen shop one day) The trip was short, and the weather lovely, but the two streets separating Yonge-Dundas and Sharetea housed some alarmingly questionable shops, in addition to some grafitti and menacing-looking pedestrians.
The staff of Sharetea were welcoming and patient, taking into consideration that it was my first time visiting the franchise; the area itself, though, was not as nice.
Despite only two tables being occupied, the atmosphere was slightly hectic; the staff still seemed to be getting used to the store operations, thus resulting in a 20-minute long takeout process. I have recently made another visit to the dessert house, and am pleased to say that they have improved since then.
Chatime Vaughan is located in a plaza near Wonderland, and proved to have the brightest, and cleanest interior of all the Chatime locations I've visited. There were a good number of tables, but it still remained very spacious. The washroom was also considerably remarkable for a bubble tea shop - clean, well-lit, and void of chipped doors and peeling paint.
This franchise location outdid Chatime Mississauga in every single aspect, from great customer service to a comfortable dining environment to better quality drinks.
I had initially been reluctant to try the Thai-flavoured drinks again, especially after my less-than-thrilling experience with Chatime Pacific Mall's Thai-less milk teas. After quickly considering the unavailability of the Thai drinks at all the other locations I stopped at, I concluded that I really had nothing to lose. It turned out that their Thai Milk Teas were actually great! The milk teas did, in fact, possess that unique Thai flavour that had been lacking in the ones tried previously.
On one particular day, I was given the opportunity to see the station. This visit was later followed by a quick stop at P-Mall for a Lavender Pu'er Milk Tea and a Papaya and Blueberry Smoothie.