"I'll get the Oreo Coffee Milk Tea." announced the sleepy polar bear. "It sounds interesting."
"It sounds very you." I remarked, wincing slightly at its presumably creamy profile.
As we neared the order counter, I gestured towards one of four LED screens. "Your Oreo Coffee Milk Tea isn't part of the promo."
We opted for a Grass Jelly Wintermelon Milk Tea as an alternative to the tried-and-true 2J Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea (with tapioca removed) and revisiting the 3J Earl Grey Milk Tea after many years of not enjoying it.
Approximately twenty minutes passed and we remained in wait. One of two drinks had emerged within a reasonable time frame, yet the other was nowhere to be seen. Summoning the attention of the cashier, she was quick to devise a backup plan for the lost sticker and interjected the drink-constructing lineup with our missing halve.
I could not believe my ears: fundamental hygiene protocols had been wholly ignored. Markham was, in that moment, concluded as the city with the most revolting of public bathrooms. The incident was relayed to the sleepy polar bear, who met my story with widened eyes and raised eyebrows.
Traffic volumes were shockingly light for a weekend evening. That said, majority of the businesses in the district had shuttered by the time we pulled into the asphalt lot. Tanuki's outdoor seating was bypassed on the grounds of evening chilliness and limited menu range. Into Izakaya Ju we went.
The blonde-haired server informed us of a thirty-minute wait, which ultimately ended up being ten minutes or less. Seated at the bar, I had expected restricted mobility, heighted fume absorption, and insufficient table space. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by its roominess, ample ventilation, and unobstructed view of kitchen happenings.
- Grilled Hokkaido Scallop with butter soy sauce
- Small green salad
- Yakitori Skewer Combo: Chicken Wing (x2), Pork Belly, Tsukune/Chicken Meatball, Duck Breast
- Grilled Mackerel
- Gindara Daikon
- Lychee Chuhai >
"It tastes..." I hesitated for a moment. "Ducky."
"Ducky." repeated the sleepy polar bear.
In hindsight, "gamey" was probably the better description.
The Tsukune, or chicken meatballs, had been the selection of greatest anticipation for me. One bite revealed unexpected denseness, confirming that the specimen as less enticing than pictured. Pork Belly was skipped for the sake of regulating my appetite, though countless positive comments were extended beside me. The Chicken Wings, flattened to cook uniformly on the skewer, were surprisingly crisp but very, very greasy, even with the squeeze of lemon.