A pearl in the rough

Release Date: 2008-03-19

I found myself at a crossroads recently — either follow my assignment and review South Presa’s newest business, Bubblehead, or visit Taco Haven and order Ralphie’s Special. I did my job and was quite pleased with my findings.

Bubblehead is only two months old but is quickly gaining the attention of Asian- beverage enthusiasts. With a vast assortment of iced green and black teas, smoothies, and speciality drinks, Bubblehead keeps afloat by offering a new drinking selection to the always bustling Southtown hood.

My first visit to Bubblehead was on a day I was feeling less than par; I hadn’t the energy to look over the menu so I told the server I wanted something hot and he quickly responded with a Chai coffee. It was perfection: not too sweet, yet not too heavy on the coffee — an ideal blend of sugary goodness and brewed boldness.

The staff of three were very helpful, asking me repeatedly if I enjoyed my drink. They told me about the other selections they offered (as well as stumping for their hookahs).

On my second visit, I was greeted by Urban, one of the servers at Bubblehead, who recommended I try the Urban Jungle (other speciality drinks are named after Southtown favs: The Labkid and The Jive). Once again, I was not disappointed — the berry-filled concoction was a great morning pick-me-up. Plus, the tapioca pearls were soft enough to chew. After telling Urban I had never had a drink with tapioca pearls, he explained to me the basics of bubble tea, saying it was an Asian fad that’s expanding its popularity stateside. He said most customers don’t know what bubble tea is so he offers them a quick history and serves up a personal favorite, which varies on a weekly basis.

As for Bubblehead’s style, they keep it simple with traditional Asian décor — a red-and-white color scheme, bamboo fan blades, basic coffee tables, outlines of Koi fish adorning the bathroom doors. Seats are also available outside facing South Presa, or off the side of the building where you can smoke herbal or tobacco shisha.

One slight drawback is the parking situation. Since Bubblehead shares a parking lot with Taco Haven there’s limited space to park. I didn’t have trouble, but I can only imagine early mornings or the Sunday church crowd making it impossible to find a spot. But don’t let this stop you from visiting Bubblehead. The walk will do you good and the drinks are worth the few extra steps it’ll take to get there.

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