Totally tea

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Boba, baby: I was visiting family in the Bay Area recently when it became abundantly clear that Asian dessert and drink shops are taking over. I’m totally cool with it.

The same thing is happening here in Sacramento, though more slowly. I’m still waiting for a boba tea shop in the heart of Midtown—how about the Handle District, or R Street?—but they are opening up rapidly in Davis. Given the number of Asian students who attend UC Davis, it’s kind of shocking it didn’t happen sooner. The small town holds at least a dozen boba tea options—shoot, even the Posh Bagel does boba—including a recently opened post of Sno-Crave in the University Mall (825 Russell Boulevard, Suite 21, in Davis), which offers Taiwanese drinks, brick toast and shaved snow.

Most exciting, though, is that ShareTea is coming to 207 Third Street in Davis sometime this fall. ShareTea was established in Taiwan in 1992 and has some wildly popular locations in the Bay Area. There are lines, always. Connoisseurs speak highly of the creamas—teas topped with salty cream—and ability to customize the level of sweetness.

As far as boba chains go, Quickly is expanding the fastest in Sacramento—another opened in Curtis Park (3071 Freeport Boulevard) a few months ago. But don’t rule out the independents, either. Bubble Cha Cha Tea House (3880 Truxel Road, Suite 700, in Natomas) started serving a couple weeks ago and, unlike Quickly, brews every tea to order.

Festival fare: Last year, TBD Fest boasted a huge, open-fire kitchen called the Pit, with friendly chef battles, free tastes for spectators and delicious meals at reasonable prices. Mother sold cereal-milk soft serve. Carina Lampkin dished out oysters. Two spots offered cold-pressed juice—much appreciated in the blazing heat.

At press time, TBD Fest organizers still hadn’t released any details about the weekend’s food program. Its public relations team ignored requests for a vendor list, nor would it answer the very simple question, “Will the Pit return?”

Thanks to the local pop culture podcast called Hooks & Stone, we’ve got some hints. TBD Fest co-founder Clay Nutting went on the show and confirmed there will be chef battles again, but in a different format.

“What happens if the guys from Mother take over a food truck, and they’re battling other chefs who aren’t food-truck operators? It’s like elevated street food, battled out in food trucks,” he said.