Just Dip, an ice cream and bubble tea shop in the back of a strip mall on the southwest corner of Washington and 11th, has been serving the Bella Vista (Italian Market) area for almost a year. “People are always surprised that we deliver,” says shop owner Vinny Dip’s sister, Channie. The family had long experience in the ice cream business and this shop was a way to creatively branch out from there.
So what’s bubble tea anyway? Signs in the ice cream parlor describe “boba,” or bubbles, as black pearls with texture reminiscent of gummi bears. They lie at the bottom of your beverage looking a bit like blueberries or chocolate chips, and you slurp them up through an enlarged straw. If your mouth enjoys food play, you’ll have a blast.
Typically, bubble tea is a thick frosted blend of tea, colorful flavors, ice and bubbles. The hot lavender milk bubble tea ($2.50) is soothing, smooth, creamy and interspersed with occasional boba pleasure. Also try the Vietnamese coffee or the Jasmine milk tea. Blue Hawaii, a tropical smoothie ($3), is one of at least 30 different cold versions, which also include taro, lychee and cantaloupe flavors. You can get extra boba for fifty cents more. Why not?
Boba is tapioca, but bears little resemblance to its miniature cousins (which merely destroy the fun of good pudding). This boba has standing.
Tapioca is made from the roots of the cyanide-rich cassava plant. Fortunately the cyanide is removed in processing the plant for food. Cassava is a staple in the diet of half a billion people, mostly living in tropical areas, and the roots yield a versatile potato-like food, rich in calcium and other nutrients, and also provide flour (a good alternative for wheat-intolerant eaters). Cassava leaves have protein and can also be eaten once the cyanide is released.
Just Dip has some pretty cool ice cream flavors for those who like dessert with their bubble tea. The mild, appealing taste of red bean ice cream and the spunk and fresh bite of ginger ice cream are special favs. But espresso chip makes a perfect base for a relatively simple hot fudge sundae ($3.55). You can, of course, get much fancier.
Just Dip’s delivery driver says he makes about 20-25 runs every day. Given how bustling the parking lot of this shopping center is, you can choose to walk or treat yourself to home delivery as long as you’re within a mile or so, depending on traffic.
Just Dip, 1110 Washington Ave.