By Elizabeth Corzo
Conveniently located right off the turnpike on exit 29 on 41st street, lies a quaint little cafe called Bubble Cafe & Tea Lounge. Chef Manuel Sulbaran, former chef of Harry’s Pizzeria and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District, has made many additions to the menu since his arrival and there has been quite the buzz about it.
Many faces come and go, especially during peak lunch hours, and it isn’t difficult to make the assessment that many people enjoy eating at Bubble Cafe & Tea Lounge. It’s easy to overlook, as it’s situated in a small corner of a shopping plaza, but this eatery is not one you want to fail to notice. Upon entering the small establishment, I immediately take in the choice of décor. Green and orange hues make the cafe appear welcoming and bright, and the friendly staff further puts me at ease as I take my seat and glance over their menus. Their main menu is written in chalk on the wall to the right of the doorway, and their extended menu is opposite the main menu.
From the main menu, I tried the ½ pound burger with mixed greens on the side, and I was pleasantly surprised at the portion size. The burger itself was stacked with onions, cheese, lettuce, and tomato; the rest of the plate was filled with a generous serving of mixed greens and onions, and I cannot emphasize the freshness of the ingredients utilized. Since I was sharing the burger for tasting purposes, it was cut in half, causing the juices to spill out on the plate. The mouth-watering aroma and the flowing juices were enough of an indication of how much I was about to enjoy taking that first bite of the burger. My nose and sight did not fail me; the vegetables were just as fresh as those used in the salad, and the burger patty was incredibly flavorful, without being too fatty. It’s the type of burger I would expect from a cafe that offers fresh and healthier options; it’s satisfying, but doesn’t leave you overly full and sick to your stomach.
In addition to the side of mixed greens, I also sampled a creamy vegetable soup, which starts at $2.49. It was garnished with a handful of scallions, which added a nice pop of color against the orange hue of the soup. It had a sweetness to it that almost made me forget there were any vegetables in it, which makes this dish ideal for those who don’t particularly like vegetables but would like to find a way to incorporate them into their diet, and the texture was rich but smooth. I’m not normally a fan of soup, unless I’m feeling under the weather, but this is one I would gladly order any day of the year.
The last dish I sampled was a chorizo and manchego Panini, which was $6.99. The panini was perfectly toasted, the cheese fully melted, and the stacked chorizo was full of flavor. Also served was another generous serving of fresh mixed greens, with tomato wedges and topped with crunchy sliced almonds.
As for my drink, I ordered bubble tea shortly before leaving the establishment, which starts at $3.49. I had a hard time deciding between two flavors, so I decided to order a mix of green apple and passion fruit. I thought the two flavors went well together, since they both have a sweet but tart flavor to them. It was very refreshing and I absolutely enjoyed the contrast of the smooth drink against the tapioca pearls and rectangular lychee jellies found on the bottom of my drink; I’d get a cool sip of my green apple and passion fruit blend, followed by a chewy tapioca pearl or lychee jelly.
I walked out of the Bubble Cafe & Tea Lounge feeling relaxed and content, and was even happier I still had most of my bubble tea as I stepped out into the Miami sun. Even the drive home was enjoyable, as I sipped on my green apple and passion fruit bubble tea and wished it never finished. Bubble Cafe & Tea Lounge proves that healthier eating does not in any way mean you have to sacrifice taste.