Friday, November 01, 2019

Universal Yums Box: Israel

Every month, my group at work gets a box of snacks (one of my favorite categories of food to not only try, but also, to review!) from a different country, through the Universal Yums subscription service.  I've been loving it, such a wonderful change to try products that 1) I don't have easy access to and 2) I'd never pick.

We've discovered some hits, and some serious misses (er, acquired tastes?) through these boxes, and its always a fun surprise to see what comes next.  They always include some savory snacks, plenty of fascinating flavors of chips, and usually some interesting new chocolates too.  The products are often not in English, but the pamphlet that comes with each box tells you a story about each product (much like the Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, only about half the context is actually about the item itself ...), and is generally pretty fun to read through.

I've previously not reviewed the boxes since you need to be a member to get these products (as a grouping anyway), or I've only reviewed an individual product when it was particularly interesting, but this time I'm going to try a hybrid: I'll review a handful of the items from April's box, from Isreal.  Let me know what you think of the idea!

And with that, let's dive into the snacks.
Kremli Nougat Bites
These were fascinating looking.  The name "nougat bite" made me expect a chocolate candy, but the image on front certainly indicated that these were a snack food, not a chocolate bar or chocolate candy.  And they had peanuts?

I really like peanut flavors, and have been enjoying finding them in crunchy snacks in other snack boxes, so these did sound appealing.

But were they savory?  Sweet?  What were they?
Kremli Nougat Bites
"Peanut butter coated cereal bites with hazelnut cream."

Fascinating is what they were, fairly different from any American snacks.  They were a bit savory, a corn snack, coated in a peanut butter powder.  And then, inside, a bit of hazelnut cream, slightly sweet.  Everything was fairly subtle.

The bites were a bit more dense than other similar snacks we’ve tried, and like other items in this box, I found them a bit small (is this an Israeli thing?).  I expected more generous filling ... you can see it here, but it is fairly minimal, and not very creamy.

Overall, I enjoyed them, but my American self wanted them super sized - bigger form factor, more filling, more peanut butter even.
Baked Garlic and Onion Puffs.
Next up, puffs, in a not too unfamiliar of a flavor: garlic and onion.
Baked Garlic and Onion Puffs.
 "Puff balls with garlic and onion seasoning."

These were pleasant, although they reminded me of food that was intended for toddlers - tiny little bite sized puffs, the size of breakfast cereal like Kix.

I found myself wishing they were bigger, and just cramming more into my mouth at the same time didn’t do the trick.  Still, I liked the light airy crunchy texture, and the garlic and onion flavors were strong and enjoyable.
Oppenheimer Chik Chak Everything Flavor.
What is a Chik Chak?  What does "Everything" flavor mean in the context of Israeli products?  

The former is just I think a fun name for a product line of snacky foods, and they make several different types of savory crunchy products.

I had no idea.  I knew not to really expect the only form of "everything" spice that I'm really familiar with, e.g. "everything bagel" with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, garlic ... but I didn't know what these would be.


These are branded as Oppenheimer USA, a kosher company, but are actually made in Israel.
Everything Chik Chak.
"​Wheat spirals with spices."

I give this product one tiny fraction of a point.  For the form factor.  They looked like curly crunchy little noodles!

But besides that ... they were horrible.  Foul.  Very high on the spit-me-out-immediately list.  

They were quickly relegated to the communal snack table.

The taste was so bad that I can’t really evaluate much else.  Perhaps they were pleasantly crunchy, I just have no idea.  And no i can’t describe the flavor as anything other than foul and muddled and just awful.

To be fair, there were a few people who thought they weren't awful, but they didn't have particularly strong praise, just, not nearly as offended by them as I was.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Lorraine's Patisserie, Sydney

Lorraine's Patisserie has been on my Sydney dessert list for years now.  Near the top of the list even.  And yet, it took until my October 2019 visit to finally get to try something from there!

So let me back up and explain.

Lorraine's Patisserie is old school Sydney famous.  Not Instagram famous, not trendy, just, very well known, for a long time, for really quality items.  And in particular, for being the maker of the date tart from Rockpool.  Which gets to the story of Loraine.  She came to her fame as the pastry chef at Rockpool, but before that, worked with Neil Perry at his other restaurants, as she was discovered by him, and it is in his kitchens that she got started, and honed her skills.

She now handles desserts for many of the Rockpool establishments, and has the small storefront patisserie attached to the bakery, tucked away on a little side alley that gets no foot traffic really.  You need to explicitly seek it out.

Which I did.  Many times.  But it is not open on Sundays, often my free day in Sydney, and closes at 5pm during the week, a time I am never able to make it.  I did rush from my office a few times, and made it in the door before 5pm, only to find they were sold out of everything I wanted.

But finally, finally, I got to try the item I was most seeking (not the date tart, actually, although I do want to try that, it is rarely available, as it is so labor intensive to make, and can't be mass produced).  I wish I could claim credit for my success in acquiring a treat, but alas, the credit goes to my co-worker, who picked it up and delivered it to me.

I owe her one.  Because this thing was fantastic!

The pattiserie carries a range of pastries like croissants and muffins, simple takeway treats like cookies, brownies, fancy marshmallows, and truffles, plus a slew of fairly well known items like a rhubarb pie, kalamansi cake, a few other tarts, a classic cheesecake ... but I was there for another famous item: the mascarpone cake.  If you've heard of Black Star Pastry, and their famous strawberry watermelon cake, it is said to be the inspiration of that.
Mascarpone Cake. $10.
"Lightened mascarpone, layered with crisp coconut dacquoise, fresh strawberries."

So, what do we have here?  A layered cake, three layers of coconut sponge, mascarpone and whipped cream, fresh strawberries, crispy coconut, and a lightly torched bruleed top.  Oh my.

This cake just nails all the elements of texture and balance.  Slightly crisp top.  Crispy bits throughout from the toasted coconut.  Creamy mascarpone.  Fluffy whipped cream.  Juicy fruit.  Soft cake.  Sweetness from the fruit, heaviness from the mascarpone, lightness from the cake and whipped cream.  Really, just amazingly well designed and executed, nothing dominated, yet everything was able to shine.  It would be so easy to have the ratios slightly off, too much mascarpone would make it too heavy, too much whipped cream would dilute the flavors.  This was just perfect.

For me, the only thing I didn't love was the coconut.  I do like coconut, but sometimes I just don't want it.  And this was one of those times.  I still wanted the textural component, but, I just didn't really want the flavor of it.  That is just my preference though, as this was basically perfect.
Lorraine's Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Strata Lounge, Auckland, NZ

I've never been impressed with the food in Air New Zealand lounge in Auckland.  The space is great, but, the food ... no.  Not for breakfast, not for a snack, not for dinner, not even for dessert.  Sadly.

So on my recent layovers, I decided to finally check out another lounge, the Strata lounge.  It is located near the other airline lounges (Qantas, Emirates), rather than further away and isolated like the Air New Zealand one.

On all my visits, I found the wifi unusable.  I could barely load any pages, let alone download images, or stream content.  Sadly, the Auckland Airport provided free wifi didn't reach inside.  The Emirates wifi did, but I didn't know a password for it.

I also checked out the shower suites, but it was immediately clear that the Air New Zealand offerings were far superior.  Towels are not stocked in the rooms, but you can get one at reception.  Only a single purpose body wash/hair was was in the shower, no conditioner, no shampoo separate.  There was only one for women, one for men, one accessible.  The Air New Zealand showers are much nicer, and plentiful.

But ... this is Julie's Dining Club, I'm here to tell you about the food.  The lounge has some high points, like cans of sparkling water, candy, and decent baked goods.  And really, really good cheesecake pots.


As it was only 5:30 am my first morning visit, it was quite empty.  My second visit was an hour later, 6:30 am as my incoming flight was delayed, but it was still very empty.

In the afternoons, when I visited around 5pm, it was certainly more busy, but not full.  Definitely considerably less busy than the Air New Zealand lounge, which was nice.
Dining Tables Near Buffet.
The lounge does have an appealing design, and is quite large.  Wood tones, dark colors, clean and modern.  It overlooks part of the terminal.
More Dining Tables.
Seating options are extensive, although most sections featured dining tables.  I was a fan of the standing height bar, as I was pretty sick of sitting after 13 hours on my flight, and was gearing up for another 3 hours on an airplane.
There were also couches, generally occupied by families camping out.
Open Kitchen!
They even have an open kitchen, with big windows overlooking the prep area.  However, no action was going on my first visit, as it was very early.  During later visits, I saw baked goods being finished off in the ovens.  I've never seen a airport lounge with an open kitchen before.


I visited during 3 different meal periods: breakfast, snack, and dinner.
The dining options are a buffet, self-serve, located in a large, spacious area in the middle.   They win points for this, even though it was obviously not crowded when I arrived, it never got crazy crowded, unlike the Air New Zealand lounge, which is often really difficult to navigate and backed up.


The buffet had both continental and hot items, starting with some basics like breads and a toaster.
Rolls / Seeds / Crackers / Whole Fruit.
Moving on were rolls, seeds, and whole fruit.
Smoothies, Cold Cuts & Spreads.
The next station had "Breakfast Smoothies", one red, one green, no details provided on what they were.

There was also a board with cold cuts, cheese, tomato, mustards, pickles, and more.  Perhaps for making a little breakfast sandwich?

I had some pickles, they were fine.  As was the egg salad.
I didn't try a pastry at first, they looked fairly generic.
Pastries Proofing.
And then I saw that they at least bake them off fresh, the open kitchen showed racks of proofing pastries.

So on my next visit, I tried a few.

The raisin custard swirl was … mediocre, but not horrible.  The pastry was crispy, the filling creamy, and I liked the sweet glaze on it.  But meh to raisins, and it wasn’t particularly good pastry.

The little lattice danish was slightly better.  Again crispy pastry.  I selected one with red filling, expecting strawberry or raspberry, but I think it may have been guava?  It was just a goo, but a decent enough fruity goo.

So overall, the pastries were pretty mediocre, and not worth getting, but not awful, and I finished them, glad they were mini though.
A good range of cereal options was next, including cocoa puffs and Weetabix, both of which I do kinda like.
Yogurts / Bircher Muesli / Fruit Salad.
The yogurt station was quite varied, large format plain Greek yogurt or low fat berry yogurt, then some pre-designed individual pots, labelled "Yoghurt with Tropical Fruit Compote", clearly two varieties, one orange (mango? Pineapple?) and one red (berries?).

I tried a dollop of the berry yogurt since I could try just a bite, and found it runny and exactly the style I dislike.
Bircher Muesli.
I went straight for the Bircher muesli though, something I love in New Zealand and Australia ... sometimes.  When its the right style - not too mushy, not too apple forward, not too sour ...

It is hard for me to evaluate the muesli.  Because it was hard to reach.  On top was a ridiculously thick layer of ... applesauce?  Ugh.  I hated, hated, hated it.  Mushy, not flavors I like. Did. 
Yoghurt with Tropical Fruit Compote.
Disappointed, I went back for a yoghurt pot.

I tried to like it, since I do like mango and that is what the topping seemed to be, but it really was just canned fruit, stewed, sweet.  The yogurt was plain.

I tried the other one the next visit, the cherry topped one, but I didn't care for it either.
Congee / Baked Beans.
The hot food lineup was considerably larger than that in the Air New Zealand lounge, a mix of both Western and Eastern items.

I tried the congee on my second visit, and found it enjoyable.  Warm, comforting, and there were plenty of toppings on the side to add on, like fried crispy onions and garlic chips.
Fried Rice / Stir Fried Noodles.
I tried the noodles, kinda just randomly, but they weren't anything special, no real flavor, no real mix-ins besides the garnish on top.
Scrambled Eggs.
The eggs looked like every standard version of bad buffet eggs.
Roast Tomato / Sausages.
If I were hungry, I would have tried a sausage, I do sometimes just adore breakfast sausage.
Pancakes / Hash Browns.
I also would have tried a pancake my first visit, and went to get one, only to see that there was no syrup or toppings available.  Butter, jam, spreads for toast, but no syrup, let alone fruity compotes, sauces, or whipped cream.

Luckily, my next visit had maple syrup.  The pancakes were a particular style, crispy from being oven baked probably, but, not bad exactly.  If I needed something, I'd have another.

I did try a hash brown, and ... wow it was greasy.  Crazy greasy.  Crispy, but so greasy.  It reminded me of fast food hash browns.
Liege Waffles.
My third visit, I was *thrilled* to see ... liege waffles!!!  You know how much I love waffles.

They were fine.  Not really warm, but this style of waffle is actually fine at room temp.  Crispy, loaded with pearl sugar.

I really wanted whipped cream or nutella or something to slather on, but alas, the only option was syrup, which doesn't quite go with this style of waffle.  Still, I was happy to see, and try, these.


In the afternoon/evening, the buffet offers salads, sandwiches, sushi, cheese and crackers, desserts, and some hot items.
The lineup of pre-made salads: Roasted Carrots, Olive & Qunioa / Italian Orzo Pasta / Herb Caper & Parmesan Salad / Eggplant, Date & Kale, Lemon Tahini Salad / Ceasar.

None looked particularly fresh.  I tried a little Caesar, and the lettuce was fairly wilted.  The dressing was ok.
Thai Noodle Slaw.
On another visit, they had a Thai noodle slaw, that looked decent, with cashews in it (presumably rather than more traditional peanuts, because, allergies).

It was pretty boring though, just thin rice vermicelli, with shredded carrots and cabbage, and it kinda lacked any flavor.
Club Sandwich / Sushi.
The sandwich actually looked ok, with some kind of interesting spread, and meat and cheese, but I was pretty stuffed and not really hungry.

The sushi was a bit sad, a couple pieces of a cucumber roll.  Not sure if sushi with seafood was ever available, or only vegetarian.
Creamy Chardonnay Mushroom/Spinach Potato Gnocchi.
The gnocchi however wasn't bad.  As in, I liked it.

It was soft and a bit gummy, but, I really did like the creamy sauce.  If I needed a meal, I'd be pretty happy with this.

Update: I've seen had this several times.  I didn't take photos, not realizing how poor this photo was.  It really did look more appealing on the other visits, although, its still buffet gnocchi, no question about that.

I always like it, in a way that confuses me.  Its creamy, its rich, the mushrooms have a good chew, and the goopy gnocchi I do kinda like.  I also discovered its great if you mix in some pesto from the sandwich area too.
Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Pasta (October 2019).
I gleefully marched up to the buffet 6 months later, to find that my precious gnocchi was replaced with pasta.  Still, creamy pasta, with spinach and mushrooms.

It was good. Really creamy, and well seasoned, and I really did like the flavor to it.  Decent amount of spinach and mushrooms too.

The pasta was cooked fine, not too mushy, not hard and gross from sitting out, but I still wished it was gnocchi.

I was still pleased with this.
Italian Lamb Ragu with Pasta.
The other pasta option though, not for me. 

Lamb!  The aroma just from lifting the lid to take this photo was too much for me.  I really dislike lamb smell.
Roasted Vegetables Basil Dressing Toasted Pine-Kennel.
"Toasted Pine-Kennel"?  Yeah, no idea.
Steamed Green & White Vegetables / Wasabi Miso Dressing.
I laughed at the sign for this too "Green & White Vegetables".  Otherwise known as green beans and cauliflower.  I'm sure the green veggie changes out sometimes, but what other white vegetables are there? Potatoes?
Massaman Curry. (October 2019).
I tried this on a whim, and was pleased with the flavor of the sauce.  I didn't actually have any chunks of beef since I had beef cheeks on my flight there and wasn't craving more meat, but, the curry was flavorful and decent, really.
Miso Soup / Italian Vegetable & Lentil Soup.
 I didn't try the soup.
Beef and Guinness Savory Pie / Capsicum and Spinach Quiche.
I tried a savory pie because a fresh batch was brought out when I was there.

They weren't awful, the pastry crispy, the filling creamy and savory.  Points for ketchup squirt bottle on the side.
The danishes were an odd offering, perhaps left over from morning service?
My second visit had mini muffins instead of danishes, they looked corn-like, so I grabbed one.

However ... it was lemon!  NOOOOOO.

Lemon with a gummy top, and fake, preservative tasting base.  Not for me.
Petit Fours.
The little dessert bars were just labelled "petit fours", but there was a chocolate brownie, a 7 layer bar, something that looked like a caramel slice, and a white chocolate rocky road sort of thing.

I tried them all.

The brownie was pretty generic, although it had a thicker chocolate ganache on top I kinda liked, and some little white chips. Skip-able though, unless really craving chocolate.

The 7-Layer bar had a cake base, and lots of things ... coconut, choc chips, raisins ... I think dates.  It didn't come together for me though, meh.

The thing I thought was a caramel or dulce de leche slice was also not very good, a shortbread crust that wasn't sweet and buttery like good shortbread, and then a slightly sweet, slightly gingery thick topping?  Meh.

The only one I really liked was the white chocolate rocky road, with fluffy marshmallows and nuts inside.

Sadly, in October, the petit fours were there, and fully stocked, but alas, no rocky road.
In this section we had little potted desserts!  Fruit Salad / Non Bake Lemon Cheesecake / Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel Sauce /  Chia Seed Pudding w/ Kiwifruit and Mint.

I adore puddings, and panna cotta, and these all sounded great, so I eagerly took one of each (except the melon containing fruit salad of course).

Non Bake Lemon Cheesecake: This was really, really good.  Not a cheesecake in standard form obviously, since a potted pudding creation, but the consistency was good, really creamy but thick.  It wasn't too sweet nor too lemony, and it did taste of cream cheese.  And I really liked the sweet crumble on the bottom.  The top was pretty too!  I really liked this, one of the best lounge desserts I've ever had.

Update: I had this again a few weeks later, and again enjoyed it, although I found it very rich.  I wanted some light whipped cream on top perhaps?  But still, for a lounge dessert, it was quite good.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel Sauce: This also was decent.  Much like the cheesecake, not really a panna cotta, but a nice pudding, good consistency, and the salted caramel sauce was sweet and tasty.  But the cheesecake was the clear winner.

Chia Seed Pudding w/ Kiwifruit and Mint: And ... even this was good!  It was creamy, the chia texture was nice, it seemed to have some coconut milk/cream as the base.   The kiwi and pineapple on top were fresh enough.

All of these were quite good, and I'd gladly have them again.  Sooo much better than the puddings in the Air New Zealand Lounge.
Puddings. (October 2019).
Fruit Salad / Non Bake Berry Cheesecake / Vanilla Panna Cotta with Rhubarb / Chocolate Mousse.

I was quite glad to see the potted deserts were still there a few months later, just a slightly different lineup this time.

Non Bake Berry Cheesecake:
The cheesecake switched from being topped with lemon to berry, with cocoa nibs on top too.  It was still fabulous, the highlight of the lounge, just a great texture and consistency, rich, nice cream cheese flavor, and the berry compote I certainly preferred.  I liked the crunch from the cocoa nibs.  The base was even fine, usually a throwaway component for me, but they do this well, so sweet and crumbly.

I will continue to get this whenever offered. A+, best lounge dessert.  Note to future self: get two.  Get three.  These are just so delicious!

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Rhubarb:
The panna cotta swapped out salted caramel for rhubarb, definitely a downgrade for me since I don't care for rhubarb at all.  The panna cotta also was not a great texture nor consistency, more firm, jelly like than is standard.  I'd skip this in the future.

Chocolate Mousse:
And the chia pudding?  Replaced with chocolate mousse!  Clearly an upgrade.

The mousse was also good, rich, chocolatey, fluffy.  I wanted some whipped cream with it, just to contrast with the rich chocolate, but, I just added a little cheesecake, and that kinda worked.  My second favorite, and I'd gladly have it again too.

Drinks & Snacks

Drinks are all self-serve.
Drinks are all self-serve, basic juices, soft drinks from a fountain.  No sparkling water on top, only still.

Coffee comes from a robot machine, no barista service here (like Air New Zealand lounge).  I didn't try the coffee.
I never tried any wine, beer, or soft drinks, opting only for sparkling water (in small cans).  The savory snacks were just pretzels.
I did quite enjoy the gummy planes (ha! planes!) and the marshmallows, particularly during my morning visit, alongside coffee.

I really love the marshmallows from Australia and New Zealand, they seem fluffier, and the sweetness is ... just different.  They taste more "real", less plastic?
Mini Marshmallows.
On my next visit, the marshmallows were still pink and white, but ... they were mini!  Still a sweetness I like more than US based marshmallows, but not as good as the bigger ones.
Gluten-Free Cookies / Marshmallows / Jet Planes / All BLACK Afgans.
My next visit had the same marshmallows and gummy jets, but added two types of cookies, gluten free separately packaged ones, and chocolate ones labelled "All BLACK Afgans".

I'm not a cookie girl , but I had to try one right?  I also needed to look them up to learn more about them, as the name was clearly specific.

I took a bite first, and was surprised.  I thought this was going to be a fairly generic cookie, but instead, well, it was almost like a crispier rice crispy treat, but chocolate, but cookie shaped.  I liked it, sweet, great texture, but it was not the item it looked like at all.

A little digging taught me about ... afghan biscuits, a traditional New Zealand biscuit, made with cornflakes (aha!) and no leavening (double aha!).  They usually are topped with chocolate icing and a half walnut, but alas, the lounge ones did not have these elements.

Well, thank you Strata lounge for introducing these to me, and I'd gladly have another.

[ No Photo ]
Bhuja Mix.

The savory snack offering is the same bhuja mix that the Air New Zealand lounge has, always pretty satisfying, crunchy, crispy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Yomie's Rice X Yogurt

Bubble tea started out so simple - generally, low grade powders, way too much sweetener, and non-dairy creamer.  Then places differentiated themselves by offering higher end teas, options for alternate milks, house made boba.  It became trendy.  Crowds formed.  Then there was an explosion of the types of mix-ins you could add to your drink.  Soon, plastic cups would no longer do, and beautiful glass bottles were introduced.  Carrying multiple drinks back to friends got hard, so carrying cases, branded of course, emerged.  Then there was cheese foam, or cheezo, or milk foam, or salty foam, or whatever a specific shop decided to call the rich, but slightly savory and salty, decadent topping.

Sydney embraced these fads full on, years, literally, ahead of even major cities in the US.  Every other shop was seeming to be a dessert drink shop.  By mid-day, no one was walking down the street with coffee anymore, it was all bubble tea.  On my recent visit to Sydney, I decided to try out the latest in drink innovation: yogurt rice.  Drinking rice.

Yogurt rice does not really sound like something I'd like.  I ... don't really find yogurt to be very interesting (although, I will admit the yogurt I've liked most in my life has been in Australia, at the Air New Zealand lounge at the airport, of all places ...).  And, I don't really eat rice ... well, savory rice, I do adore rice pudding.  The concept still didn't sound great to me.

Last year, when I visited, I saw the lines for Yomie's Rice X Yogurt. They were epic.  An hour or more, to get your yogurt rice drink.  "Authentic Natural Yogurt", the signs boasted.  People talked about how healthy and refreshing it was.  It was the only place in town doing something like this.  I didn't give it another thought.  One of my last nights in town that year, I visited The Original Royaltea, and tried their sesame taro milk with red sticky rice (and cheese foam of course, because, um, yes, I am obsessed with that).  While the overall drink wasn't actually a winner for me, I did find the rice mix-in very successful.  It got me thinking about the concept of rice in drinks, at least.

So this year, when I visited Sydney, and found that the yogurt rice scene had expanded pretty dramatically, I decided to give it a try.

I didn't go to Yomie's Rice X Yogurt though, as the lines were still epic.  Any time of day, morning, afternoon, evening, night.  Maybe more than an hour, but usually still at least half an hour.  Meh to that.  My first yogurt rice drink came from Koomi (review coming soon), and ... I adored it.  I had another, a day or two later, from The Moment (yup, review soon), and enjoyed it too.  And so on, for the course of the 1.5 weeks I was in town, yogurt rice became my new obsession too.  Some I didn't like, but mostly, I was in.

So finally, finally, my last night, I decided to get the original: Yomie's Rice X Yogurt.  I somehow had magic timing, finding a short line, only about 15 minutes to order, 10 minutes to get my order after that.  So I finally did it.  I tried the original yogurt rice.

And I hated it.


Yomie's Rice X Yogurt is located on a corner in Haymarket, right on George Street.  To find it, just head towards the crowds. 
You line up to get inside, once inside you continue in the line to order, and then you take your number and wait.

There is no seating and very little space inside.

Numbers are not called out, but instead, a board, just like at the deli in my youth, flashes the current number being served by.  If you aren't paying attention, and miss your number, oh well.  My understanding is that usually the wait, post ordering, is even longer than the wait to order, which can make the line look not quite as intimidating, if you think you'll get your treat soon after.


So, what does Yomie serve?  Well, to start, they are a one trick pony.  Yogurt drinks.  No bubble teas here.

And, um, they are an ... opinionated drink shop.  No customizations.  No modifying sweetness, no adding mix-ins.  They have preset drinks, and that is what they sell.  And ... no cheese foam.
Top 9.
Most people tend to order one of the Top 9, proudly displayed all over the place.  

The top 9 start with the basic purple rice yogurt, or, oat yogurt, if you prefer.  These are hands down the top sellers, the classics.  A trendy avocado yogurt comes next.  From there, there are exactly 3 other varieties of purple rice yogurt, with haw, jujube, or red bean.  Passionfruit, melon, and strawberry round out the top 9.

Note that the later group, just like the avocado, cannot have rice (or oats) added.  If you want rice, you must pick between the rice options.

The full menu does list out all the options they have, but again, no real customization, although it includes the less popular options like any of the rice drinks, just made with oats instead, and a few more flavors of fruit smoothies.  Again, no mix-ins, no bubble tea, no toppings.  And certainly no sweetness adjustments.

I'll admit that nothing called out to me.  Where was my taro?  My foam?  I felt limited, and a bit bored by the menu, but still, I dove in.
Haw Purple Rice Yogurt.
I went for a purple rice creation, and, not feeling inspired by the red bean (I thought that would be way too heavy with the protein from the red beans, the yogurt, and the rice ... this wasn't a meal replacement for me ...), not really wanting jujube, and bored by the idea of just rice and yogurt, so, haw it was.  I'll admit that I had never had haw before, but reviews talk about the sweetness being a nice compliment to the tart yogurt.

I'll start with something positive.  It was well blended.  For me, that was actually a downside, I loved the clumps of sticky rice, having something to chew on, in my drinks from other places.  This was fairly pulverized, and I didn't get that chewing satisfaction.

It was also icy.  Not ice chunks, since again, so blended, but it was crystalized.  Other places were certainly more about the yogurt having richness, less about the icy smoothie aspect.  I didn't care for that either.

The yogurt itself seemed kinda runny, not a thick, rich style I prefer.  It was kinda tart.  But really, not interesting.

But none of this really mattered. As there was something else about the drink that I disliked even more.  The sweetness.  It was way, way, way too sweet.  I guess this was the haw?  What if I had just gotten the plain one, would it have been tart?  I don't know, but this was just overboard sweet.

So basically, I hated it.  Runny yogurt, pulverized rice, icy bits, and way too sweet.  Chunks of sticky rice, rich thick yogurt, flavors and mix-ins I liked - like fresh taro!, and of course, cheese foam toppings, are what I loved about other places, and this had none of them.

That said, this is the original.  This is what started the fad.  This is what people ... seem to like?  Just, not me.  I won't go back, even to try the simple plain one.
Yomie's Rice x Yogurt 有米酸奶 | 金树店 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato