Besides the above declarations, it also important to remember that commuters don't always have a choice when choosing a trip or route to take. Consistent punctuality usually means sacrificing glorious snooze time to catch an earlier bus, while long breaks in between classes means camping out in a comfortable spot - preferably one with Wi-Fi - for several hours. Hazel Tea fit the bill in this case.
With its storefront facing the Main Street, Hazel Tea & Dessert was extremely easy to locate. Much to my delight, I walked into a completely empty shop. It was quiet, well air-conditioned, and brimming with power outlets in convenient locations around each table and booth. Mellow music played in the background.
Spotting the tray of empty cups by the menu, I inquired about the shop's availability of samples. Hearing this, the man at the cashier grabbed a pitcher of light beige liquid and poured a small amount into one of the cups. "This is our Jasmine Milk Green Tea." he uttered briefly; no further descriptions nor promotional content were given.
I inquired whether their milk teas were crafted with milk powder, to which he answered "Yes." It seemed as if the only beverages that didn't contain the dreaded synthetic substance was their selection of brewed teas (ie. herbal, etc.)
To be fair, their drink lineup also comprised of smoothies and specialty drinks, but I was seriously craving milk tea and, as a result, succumbed to my unhealthy desires. I requested their top-seller, Hazel's Jasmine Milk Green Tea, at 50% sweetness and less ice. (Yes, you can adjust these!). I'm rather unsure of why I chose Red Bean instead of Tapioca as my topping, but I didn't regret the decision at all.
The open bar allowed me to catch a glimpse of their various flavour powders, crepe grill, and waffle griddle. To the right of the drink menu on the LED screen, I learned that Hazel also offered dessert in the form of elaborately-decorated waffles. Each was a hefty $8.75 before tax, so I opted to try those on a later date, after I find someone to split the costs with.
A single member of staff assumed responsibilities of taking orders, crafting drinks, maintaining cleanliness, cooking tapioca pearls, and providing customer service overall. I was almost certain that there would be at least one other person working the kitchen equipment, though I suppose an extra set of hands wouldn't have been particularly useful during off-peak hours.
I headed over dimly-lit corner table and began to spread my belongings on the table. Shortly after plugging my phone cable into one of their many charging ports, a plastic cup with a sticker of their logo was brought to the side of the cashier and the name of my drink was called out.
The aftertaste was tacky, as with any milk tea crafted from milk powder, but the flavour itself was decent. Despite using a base of Jasmine Green Tea, the tea wasn't as fragrant as I had expected. While it didn't contain the deep orange depth of black tea, it wasn't lighter in hue or more subtle in body either. The sweet pieces of red bean lent a nice chewiness to the beverage, even if only a limited portion had been scooped into the cup.
During this time, several customers walked into the shop to purchase takeout orders, and then sauntered right back out once they had obtained their object(s) of desire. Towards the end of my stay, a duo of talkative girls with wavy hair entered and proceeded to set up their workstation two tables down from me. Thankfully, Wi-Fi remained speedy and stable for all of us to enjoy.
As the sun began its gradual descent, I tucked my drama-watching kit back into my bag and headed next door (or next next door, to be specific) to pick up a quick dinner of Chicken Shawarma.
Gyros wasn't an option at this location, so I simply chose a Chicken Shawarma. The item was priced at $5.31 before tax, and came to exactly six dollars. Cash was the most welcomed variety of payment, though MasterCard and Visa were also accepted.
Should I find tastier, more economic options in the area, I would reconsider Sana Grill for future grab-and-go meals. By no means is it mindblowingly delicious, nor is it extremely affordable either.