The intersection of Hurontario and Dundas is not a particularly good place to be come nightfall, and I would advise against taking transit to the area if possible.
Normally, I bypass the crossing altogether by taking a shortened route to Koreatown and P.A.T., but the day's itinerary was a little different. We had planned to try a new spot by the name of ThirsTEA, which happened to be located smack at the southeast corner of the aforementioned area.
The asphalt lot was large, but not exactly spacious. Most of the spots were occupied, leading others to park illegally - either behind another vehicle or outside of the designated slots. I was lucky enough to secure myself a spot within minutes of pulling in, but not so lucky in that a seemingly ordinary lady knocked on my car window in less than a minute of turning off my engine to ask for spare change.
Quiet as it was on a Monday afternoon, there was a larger number of walk-ins than expected. In spite of the gloomy external conditions and somewhat disturbing surroundings, bubble tea-goers managed to find their temporary utopia amidst the rain and dreariness.
"It's a gimmick." He admitted, with an unapologetic smile.
When asked about the formulation of the shop's milk teas, this same staff member responded that a mix of milk, cream, and milk powder were utilized. Though, it was claimed that a smaller amount of milk powder was used in comparison to other establishments. On that note, there was a third level of customization that enabled customers to choose their desired level of milkiness. The "Milk Taste" category ranged from "Strong", "Normal", and "Light". I hadn't witnessed this option in any of my vast bubble tea visits and thus found this highly interesting.
A Regular-sized cup set me back $4.90, while toppings were the standard fifty cents. Other items on the menu ranged from a base price of $4.30 (Regular fruit slushies) to $6.90 (Large Creamy Fruit blends), all before toppings and tax.
The decor was fun and colourful, and booth seats entailed access to outlets located near ground level. Wi-Fi wasn't available though.
Chilled water was brought to us as we perused the menu. Another party walked in at this time, and she made sure to divide her attention evenly between us when not hiding in the depths of the kitchen.
"No!" Her bubble gum pink lipstick began to crease. Her finger flew to the menu and sputtered something along the lines of "This is just different sauce."
My interpretation was that the Special Half & Half orders only applied to varieties that were both coated in sauce. The Green Onion Chicken did not meet this prerequisite. We engaged in discussion, then settled on small orders of C1 and C6.
One ought to note that a small order could have easily fed two moderately hungry creatures. But both options appealed to us, and having access to a vehicle enabled leftovers to be devoured at a later date and time if need be.
Also in tow was a piping hot plate of sweet corn kernels. They bubbled away intensely in a creamy - but not cheesy - pool of satisfaction.(And no, they thankfully did not taste like MyMy's spoiled mayo corn.)
Fried Chicken tossed in Secret Savoury Sauce (양념 치킨) was saucy and equally delicious. A thorough coating of what can only be depicted as the Korean rendition of sweet-and-sour sauce had been slathered about crunchy fried segments of protein, yielding Jinyoung's favourite style of chicken. Crispiness had not been compromised in the process; a mild kick remained apparent in each bite.
Hung beside the electric hand dryer was a sign that heeded the usage of the apparatus behind a closed door. Its operating noises were quite rambunctious.
When it came close to our time of departure, she did not hesitate in hurriedly processing payment and kicking us out. In fact, I found her eagerness so prominent to the point where she returned with one bill when we had clarified that we wanted it split evenly.
Moreover, I refused to accept that she gestured for a large party to commence pushing tables together when I was still seated and gathering my belongings. Worst of all, she had cast a dirty, impatient scowl in my direction before turning on her heel.
I gravely regretted tipping her at all.