Today's trip to the neighborhood Thai restaurant, En-Thai-Ce, 5701 N. Clark St., was all about finding something spicy to open up my sinuses as a cold sets in. In addition to requesting a spicier-than-my-normal mild cashew chicken, which means there are four hot peppers in a serving, I asked friend and server Sarah M. Barker about my quest to try one new thing a day in January.
On a previous visit, she had mentioned the bubble tea latte listed on the special menu -- the menu with more traditional dishes that might appeal to Thai customers, or the more adventurous. So I went for it. Yes, the latte is served cold, but Sarah assured me the Thai cream soda-flavored bubble tea latte might be just the thing to cool some of the heat in the main dish.
In some ways it like the traditional bubble tea, complete with the tapioca bubbles. But what differentiates this tea, Barker assures me, is that this typically summertime favorite is made with crushed ice, a neon green cream soda, and a splash of half-n-half.
"I didn't put sugar in this because I like the natural sweetness," Barker says. Indeed it is mild and while I can't smell much of anything right now she assures me that it has a nice Jasmine scent.
Barker also points out that the tea can be made without the half-n-half -- important because many people of Thai descent, including her, are lactose intolerant.
This tea, easily a nice dessert, is best known as nam keo (green drink) and is $3.50 for a 16-ounce serving.