Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bubblemania Cafe - Calgary, AB

It’s been a crazy two months since AllEricCanEat launched over the holidays and we’ve had tons of support and views from Urbanspoonists (thanks guys!). With the flurry of holiday get-togethers, birthdays, and dining week events (i.e. Calgary’s The Big Taste and upcoming Edmonton’s Dining Week) it has been a gastronomical marathon of mostly upscale dining experiences. Not that I can complain, but every diner needs that low-key, late-night snack -place where you can order late-night fried junk to quell those late-night munchies. Whenever I am in Calgary, that place for me is Bubblemania. I first discovered Bubblemania back in first year on my third or fourth visit to the city. Since then, Bubblemania has grown considerably – expanding into the shop next door and upgrading their look with brand new renovations. The new Bubblemania features spacious booths that could easily fit 10-15 people as well as modern, minimalist tables throughout the restaurant for smaller groups. After CHARCUT, both my cousins and I were craving some bubbletea, and we headed straight to Bubblemania after the bills were settled.
Hot Honeydew Milk Tea
We weren’t particularly hungry since we had just finished our meal at CHARCUT  but I have almost never been to Bubblemania without ordering at least one platter of their wings. Bubblemania usually offers fairly decently sized wings for 35¢/wing on weeknights and 50¢/wing on weekends. With each order being 10 wings, it’s not too bad of a deal and definitely hits the spot when you’re having those late-night cravings. As it was Sunday, my cousin also decided to order the special of the night, fried scallop (Bubblemania has food specials each night of the week) and his favourite dish at Bubblemania, fried rice. For my drink, I ordered a hot honeydew milk tea while my cousin Nam ordered one of Bubblemania’s new drinks, The Wizard of Oz.
Fried Scallop and Garlic Mayo
Our drinks came out fairly quickly. Bubblemania does not have the best bubbletea that I have ever tasted to be honest  and the hot honeydew tea that night was pretty standard. Good, but nothing special about it. My cousin’s drink, The Wizard of Oz, which featured a special ingredient – mint – was neon green in colour. It looked fairly…interesting, so I ended up trying a sip of it. Luckily for me, it was one of the more unique bubbleteas I had tasted and I loved the extra hint of mint! Definitely worth a try, especially with all the buzz building around the movie by the same name.
Seasoned Salt Chicken Wings
The food also came out quite quickly following our drinks. The scallops ($4 on special that night) was served with garlic mayo. The garlic mayo was actually quite flavourful and had a nice garlic flavour. I’ve never had fried scallops with garlic mayonnaise, but they went surprisingly well together. Bubblemania has a fairly decent selection of chicken wings, some of my favourite being Korean Spicy, Honey Garlic, and Salt and Pepper; that night we chose the Seasoning Salt chicken wings. While I usually enjoy the wings, that night the wings were a bit over seasoned and salty and did not have the freshly-fried “crunch” that I look forward to when ordering chicken wings. A little disappointing since I usually enjoy Bubblemania’s chicken wings. The House Seafood Fried Rice – which had scallops, shrimp, and tobiko mixed in with the typical ingredients of fried rice – was served last. I enjoyed the additional flavour of the tobiko, but it was fairly standard otherwise. In addition, it wasn’t served nearly as hot as I would have liked.
Seafood Fried Rice
I have been to Bubblemania and have always found the environment very lively and inviting, especially when I’m there just  to hang out with my friends or family. Though I normally enjoy a number of their hot dishes (try the chicken karaage if you get a chance!) and their wings, both the food and bubbletea are fairly mediocre otherwise compared to other bubbletea cafes. Perhaps it was an off night for Bubblemania, but my most recent experience was not quite as enjoyable as many of my previous visits to Bubblemania either. Regardless, Bubblemania is still a great place to hang out and satisfy those midnight munchies, and I will likely be back in a booth at Bubblemania at some point the next time I am in Calgary.

Top Pick of the Night: The Wizard of Oz and Garlic Mayo

Rating: 3/5 Erics'

Bubblemania Cafe on Urbanspoon

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