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I worked in the Olive Arcade plaza across the street from STL Bubble Tea for years and made this a weekly stop for lunch every Saturday. The food is pretty standard Chinese food, but the crab rangoon is probably the second best in the STL area (Green China in St. Peters wins the gold). What I really love about the crab rangoon is that it is more savory than sweet and it has a lot of black pepper in it. I’ve never seen it made this way at any other place. The food portions here are very generous so you can split between 2-3 people depending how hungry you are. They give you a mountain of fried rice so it’s always a good thing to order when you’re splitting.
The bubble tea menu is extensive and takes up most of the wall space behind the counter. Even as long as I’ve been a customer I still haven’t made it all the way though the menu. My favorite is probably the lavender milk tea with boba, it’s truly yummy. Almond milk tea is also a good choice. I could go on and on with my favorites, they have so many amazing choices.
The building is pretty sad looking from the outside, and really the inside isn’t much better, but don’t use that as an excuse to not stop in. This is one of those hidden gems in St. Louis and I always make sure to stop in as soon as I get into town.
This is another place that has been around for a long time, yet surprisingly I hardly know anyone who has been there. What really makes this place special is the fact that they have birthday tea parties. If you have a daughter or granddaughter and live in the area I highly recommend checking this out, you won’t regret it and you’ll leave with such a special memory. This place really is a little girl’s dream come true, they even have a dress up closet. I was a guest several years back for a birthday party and everyone had a blast. The staff worked extremely hard to make this a memorable occasion for everyone and I can only imagine how difficult this was considering our ages ranged from 2 months to 90 years.
I can’t comment much on the food, I’ve only had the chicken walnut salad and iced tea, but the service was fast and the staff friendly. My mother says the desserts here are really good, but I’ve never made it that far.
This is also a popular place for the red hat ladies to lunch. It’s always an interesting time when they show up, I sure hope I’m as energetic as them when I grow up.
Miss Aimee B’s has been in St. Chuck for as long as I can remember and it’s a neat place to stop in at. I’ve attended numerous wedding receptions here and the occasional Mother’s Day brunch over the years. While it has been a very long time since I’ve been in (I no longer live in the area) the staff has always been friendly and the food good, although nothing spectacular.
I just wanted to mention that even though they call it a tea room, they aren’t really known for the tea. They have a tea chest that they bring out to the table for you to make a selection from, if memory serves it was a pretty basic of tea you can purchase at the supermarket. I’ve always been told that the lemonade here is fabulous so you may want to consider giving it a try instead.
Somehow I almost always managed to be the youngest person in the room when I would dine here, they tend to draw a much older crowd.
And now a warning for the men… this place will make you want to go do something manly afterwards, it is definitely meant to appeal to women.
Yola’s can be hard to find if you didn’t know it was there, but it is a great place to have on the far west side. It’s tucked back in a corner in Cortland Commons Shopping Center at the corner of Watts and Commerce Drive. If you like breakfast this is a good place to go, the Golden Malted Belgian Waffles are to die for, and the muffins are really good. I wish they would go back to making the Blueberry Almond, those are my favorite, but it’s been over a year since I’ve had one.
The coffee is from Viamo and the tea from Cha Cha tea, both local businesses. I wasn’t impressed with the tea, I’ve tried a couple different varieties and nothing really stuck out for me. I wish they would have kept serving Rishi, the quality is much better, but what they had in stock was leftover from when Crema moved out. The coffee isn’t my favorite, but it isn’t bad, especially if you order one of the specialty drinks.
Now that Lance, the owner, isn’t in shop every waking moment the service has taken a bit of a hit. Last time I was in on a Saturday my drink didn’t show up with my waffle and I had to go track it down (it got served to the wrong table). They remade it, although not immediately and it didn’t get delivered until I was ready to leave. They really could use more people working during the Saturday rush, they only had 2 people up front for a packed house plus someone making food.
If you go in on Saturday they are always packed and the wait time can be long. If you have small kids along they have a play area tucked in the corner that is always full of children. It could really use a good cleaning, so be warned. I would say this is probably one of the most kid-friendly places in Madison. If you don’t want to be around kids, they do have an outdoor patio that I like to use when the weather is nice. They also have a really nice fireplace and comfy chairs over by the windows.
One really cool thing to note is that they have digital punch cards for the loyalty program. 10 purchases gets a free drink and they do the same for the waffles. You also get a free punch just for downloading the app.
I originally went in because I had a coupon for a free cup of Strawberry Rose Champagne/Peach Tranquility Tea and I figured it was a good opportunity to try them out. What I didn’t realize was that I’ve actually had tea from Teavana before. My neighbor gives me some every year for Christmas and it tends to remind me more of potpourri than tea.
I probably would have enjoyed the Strawberry Rose Champagne/Peach Tranquility Tea if it hadn’t been sweetened within an inch of its life. I don’t tend to sweeten my drinks and this one had so much German Rock Sugar in it my teeth hurt. This is a personal preference though, so if I should go back I’ll make sure to tell them to leave it out.
What really bothered me about my visit was how pushy the staff was. It could be that I went in during a slow time and they were bored, but there is no reason to push me into a cast iron tea pot when I showed interest in the PerfectTea maker. They lost a $20 sale that day and I ended up with an IngenuiTEA from Adagio instead.
What I did like about my visit was that I could smell the tea before I made my choices and that they had so many varieties to choose from. The staff was also very knowledgeable about the products they sell. They also had tea to sample while I was waiting, it happend to be the same as what I was ordering, but it was nice that they still offer it.
When I first moved to Oregon I was excited to see that they had an independently owned coffee shop and the bonus was that they serve over 30 different types of loose leaf tea. In the five years that I have lived here they have really expanded, in fact they have doubled in size. This was such a nice find since Oregon has fewer than 10,000 residents.
They do a really good business, so if you go in during rush times be prepared for a little bit of a wait, but the wait is worth it. The staff is always friendly and are full of suggestions if you can’t make up your mind.
They do have a food menu, but I can’t really comment on it since I’ve only ordered the bagels and those come toasted with plenty of cream cheese. My husband is really partial to their scones, but if you come in late they’re going to run out. They are a small batch bakery and bake everything in house with their own recipes and the offerings change seasonally.
They serve Kickapoo coffee and I can’t for the life of me remember what tea they serve, but I do really like it.
I love Crema, but I really miss the location on the far West side where Yola’s is now. They had a much larger selection of tea, this location has 6 different varieties of Rishi tea, and I usually can find one that fits my mood.
They have a full breakfast and lunch menu and everything I’ve ordered is amazing. Don’t forget to check out the bakery selection if you have a sweet tooth. When I stop by for lunch I’m rather partial to the Bluebird, it’s a chicken salad sandwich with dried blueberries, walnuts, white cheddar and greens on a baguette.
What I really like about the cafe is that they use local natural ingredients and you can tell the amount of thought that went into the food. They really have an awesome menu. The location is a bit out of my way, but they do have a nice view of the lake and an interesting mix of people to talk to when I’m in. I should also mention that they are very kid friendly, the staff always stops by and plays with my son whenever they have a free second and he loves the attention.
What I don’t like is the decor, it could use an update, I don’t think it matches the quality of the food. Also, while most of the staff is a really friendly bunch the man working the front counter was pretty short with me when I was in this past week. I had questions and it wasn’t like there was a line behind me when I was ordering and I was holding everyone up. He’s been working at the cafe a while and I find that it is pretty typical of him to act this way even during slow times. Wait time on food can also be a bit hit or miss at times, but I’m generally not in a hurry so not huge deal for me.
Last thing, if you’re a coffee drinker, they serve Alterra coffee and while many people like it I’m not a fan.