Never quite as popular as its polished, sophisticated sisters Manhattan and Brooklyn, or even as brash and bold as The Bronx or Staten Island, this maligned borough is that quiet, pretty girl in the corner at the party who initially escapes notice.
But as the night wears on, her silent confidence can't help but rise to the forefront, showing off her inimitable style- all with complete nonchalance, of course.
While en route to lunch with a fabulous jewelry designer in Long Island City the other day, I noticed this storefront, with "TEA" in letters almost as big as the coffee sign. My friend said she had checked it out recently while waiting for the B61 bus, and kindly asked if I wanted to check out their iced tea before we went to lunch.
Seeing as we had three blocks to walk to the restaurant and it was 117 degrees out, I managed to nod and whisper, "Iced. tea."
Inside the cozy, angled corner building, we were greeted warmly and I ordered the first thing my eye fell on: apricot iced tea ($2).
I usually avoid flavored teas- they too often taste like sh*t on a swizzle stick- but something told me to be brave. As the girl behind the counter handed it to me, I asked what kind it was exactly, and she told me it was brewed from a loose-leaf dried apricot-white tea blend.
Hmm. I looked to the right, and spotted packages of organic white peony and dragonwell. Maybe these people knew what they were doing.
With one sip, it was clear that they did.
The tea was richly floral, but not overpowering, and perfectly brewed, without a hint of bitterness. Its cool, natural sweetness (much like the personality of a certain tea-blog author) was the ideal counterpoint to such a sweltering day. Plus, it really matched my bright orange toenails.
And as one further enticement, this sign was posted near the door:
What, exactly, is choobee tea? And why do I have to wait a week to find out?
From the list of flavors, I'm guessing it's bubble tea- OK, that's nothing new. But for this neighborhood, it certainly is. And if the iced tea is any indication, then this concoction will be delicious.
By this time next week, I will no doubt be strutting around, asking people if they've tried choobee tea, and shooting them a look of disdain when they plead ignorance.
If only I knew where to tell them to get it.
I managed to not only miss the name of this miragelike tea shop entirely, but my Internet searches all morning have turned up nothing. I was told it had only been open for six weeks, but still, how could there be nothing out there about this place? Thanks to some forensic investigation using Google maps and the reflection in the shop's front window, I believe it's located at the corner of Jackson Ave. and 11th St., just across the Pulaski Bridge from Greenpoint.
Maybe I'll just have to go back today to get the details about this latest Queens gem. And another apricot iced tea or four.