While exploring Atlanta’s international food corridor, don’t overlook the drinks. The nonalcoholic refreshers at these four places on Buford Highway embody the tastes of far off places.
Tea House Formosa (5302 Buford Highway, Atlanta. 470-349-8105, Facebook: Tea House Formosa.). If asked, the staff at the sleek, modern Tea House Formosa will enlighten tea drinkers on leaves first grown for Chinese emperors. Oolong is the earliest known tribute tea. Its presentation in their Buttercreamer Tea is fit for an emperor, with the lush floral flavor of the tea topped with a fluffy cloud of salted butter cream floating on top, and a light dusting of crushed spices. Sometimes, they one-up this clever concoction with Butter Blossom Tea, featuring colorful flowers fashioned from butter placed atop the cloud.
Mist Poke Dessert Bar (4897 Buford Highway, Chamblee. 470-268-7466, mistpokedessertbar.com). Mist Poke is self-described as “hipster trendy,” and matcha is all the rage, harnessing health benefits along with fresh flavor. Meanwhile, lychee has been esteemed for centuries as a healing fruit. Combine the two with sweetened condensed milk, and the fragrant, leafy tea taste and exotic floral tartness become a refreshing thirst-quencher, brilliantly served in a light bulb.
Monsoon Masala Kitchen and Sweets (3979 Buford Highway, Chamblee. 404-228-0017, monsoonatlanta.com). A lassi, the original fruit smoothie, is like a quick trip to the Indian subcontinent. A traditional lassi is a savory dahi (yogurt) drink, flavored with spices. Fittingly, Monsoon Masala, in Crossroads Shopping Center, serves an intersection of sweet and sour in their mango lassi, which conveniently is ready to go in either sweet or salty versions. Ripe mango pulp adds fresh acidity to yogurt, sugar and a citrusy-herbal pinch of cardamom. Each sip is full of a sweet, cooling tang. The restaurant also features a hot bar of specialties like goat curry, and a bakery case of samosas and Bengali sweets.
<<Where to eat on Buford Highway:
Boba Bee (5150 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-710-0993, Facebook: Boba Bee). Boba Bee is a photo-friendly space, its name doodled in Pinterest-like script on a bright wall, while an alternate neon set-up hangs on the opposite side. Visitors commonly are seen holding their bubble waffle cups or lidded jars next to the wall’s buzzing bee, and the reusable jars promise a discount at the next visit. We would return for their Hormatcha, a Mexican-Asian mashup of house-made horchata (rice, almond milk, vanilla and cinnamon) and matcha (ground green tea powder), which adds a pleasant vegetal grassiness and richness that builds to velvety smoothness with woody spice. It’s icy cold, creamy and as sweet as cereal milk.
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