Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Little Kumquat That Could

Kumquat Lime Boba.

Our dear friend Kristal came to visit the New York crew from Boston. After a zigzagging escapade that resulted in my late arrival to our designated meet-up time, we finally convened in Chinatown close to 2 p.m. Our ravenous stomachs garbled and groaned. I led my buddies to Green Tea Cafe.

Curry Chicken...

Since I've been in a curry kind of mood lately, I ordered the curry chicken. (Chicken, after all, must be safer than beef...right?)

...Caught a Case of Chicken Pox.

Jumping jellybeans! I couldn't have been more wrong. The yellow curry was good enough with a fine aroma of coconut milk. Not the spicy kind of curry, but I was OK with that. However, halfway through the meal, something started to taste off.

I take it red chicken can't be a good sign, huh? The chef must have neglected to notice that the chicken should have been cooked thoroughly in all areas before serving it on my plate. When I brought the pinkness to the attention of our waiter, he stared at it blankly for a full two seconds before commanding the attention of his higher-up. After a quick consultation, he then told me that it was "fine" to eat and that the chicken had come from the freezer.

Uhhh....did you really think I was going to buy that? (No pun intended.) I asked the waiter to heat up the chicken a little longer. I believe my exact words were to "pop it" in the microwave.

Rachel's brother Ricky (not pictured) had some sound words of advice for me:

-In case anything goes wrong, the bathroom's back there (He pointed).

-Thanks for noticing.

-No problem.

When the waiter reemerged from the kitchen with my dish, I picked around the chicken with some hesitation and finally decided not to risk it. Kristal graciously offered me some of her Portuguese Chicken, slathered with nutty peanut sauce. That kind of made up for it.

Rachel's Ribs and Rice.

Rachel was too engrossed in her peppered ribs to notice my possible salmonella poisoning (just kidding about the salmonella bit).

Kristal's Portuguese Chicken.

Ricky: Why is your kumquat green?

Me: That would be called syrup.

Ricky: (pause) Oh.

I've made it my unofficial mission to sample the kumquat boba from every teahouse in the New York City area. I don't know why or when I decided this, but at one point I must have thought it would be a fun challenge. That and curry. Some people do the same with frozen yogurt (I know you Californians are nodding your head to this).

After I'd slurped down the rest of my drink, Ricky decided to play forensics expert with the remaining lone kumquat. Armed with a fork and knife, he sliced through the pit in one precise stroke. He then proceeded to mash the kumquat, along with all its seeds, and mask it in the remains of his Portuguese chicken sauce. It turns out the kumquat and the sauce were the same color and blended seamlessly into each other. I'm not sure whether to be amazed or saddened by this.

Although half my dish was edible, the near-salmonella incident will be forever imprinted in my mind. Talk about leaving a bad impression. Sorry, Green Tea Cafe! I will not be patronising you for awhile. Need to get over my chicken fright first.

NEW Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. The boba was decent, even considering the :ahem: generous allotment of sweet simple syrups that went into it. I generally prefer more of a natural flavor - emphasis on the tea rather than on the syrup. It's the chicken that did me in.

Green Tea Cafe
45 Mott St
Ste A

New York, NY 10013