A very special two-in-one post because despite meeting two different friends almost a month apart, the day’s agenda was almost exactly the same – Korean food followed by tea & cakes ☆
I met with VC and J around mid-January after hearing that J was finally back in town after what seemed like a million years! I hadn’t seen J in almost a year and a half (and only TWICE since high school) and it was time for a get-together for us to all catch up. J told us that she’s never had sit down Korean food in Flushing, so VC and I steered her towards San Soo Kap San for a meal with a generous selection of banchan.
It seemed like everyone in the restaurant was having BBQ & soju for lunch?? We almost had a moment of weakness and ordered a platter of meat in addition to our meal, but we wouldn’t be able to finish so we just stared longingly & creepily at our neighbors. J caught my eyes darting at every sizzle of the grill. Cries. Our food was good too! SSKS is one of my favorites because they pass out bowls of steamed egg (계란찜) on the house as service :9 My yukgaejang was SO MUCH SPICIER than I had anticipated it to be and it took me an eternity to finish, but we used our time to chat about past classmates, work, family and the likes.
Dessert was on the menu for the afternoon and we set out to find a nice pastry shop to spend a few hours. We awkwardly hovered in a new cake shop that opened next to Valentine, but it was surprisingly packed so we trudged to Rose House in Queens Crossing. I’ve walked past Rose House quite a few times, but have never been inside because it seemed too fancy and by association, too expensive. Post visit impression is that it’s still on the expensive side, but it’s so lovely that you can make an excuse for a visit every so often. I’m a fool for not taking photos of the decor because I loved the faux Victorian styled interior: studded leather sofa booth seating, candles, flowers, floral wallpaper, chandeliers and even a fireplace. Ooh extra romantic.
On both occasions, my friends and I went for the $13 Afternoon Tea Set, which includes any $9 tea & the above mentioned cake. You can tell that the cake was 50% whipped cream, but the syrup that is poured over it is a dream. It somehow tastes exactly like how roses would if they were made of candy and it’s absolutely heavenly.
I ordered a pot of the Edinburgh Rose Tea, a black tea infused with rose petals and mango. It smelled incredible, but none of the added flavoring translated to the taste. It just tasted like a relatively concentrated black tea. VC’s cold fruit drink, on the other hand, was amazing and it was served in a cute glass pot with a glass cup :3 In fact, all the drinks are served in matching teapots & cups. Desserts can be ordered in sets which are served in tiered dessert trays. Everything is so! pretty! and cute! but of course, you have to be willing to pay the price. The tea menu ranges from $9-15 for a single teapot, which is s t e e p (HEH). Desserts are also about the same; cookies are almost $8 a plate. The portion to price ratio leaves a lot to be desired so you can expect a visit to do some damage to your wallet. The pretty dessert tiers range from $25 to $40 and they only offer 10 or so treats per set. Essentially, you’re paying for the ambiance and the chance to play grown up tea party.
I think the best part was that the staff left you alone for the most part so it meant we were free to sit there with our tea for almost 3 hours just chatting. I was so sad that there was no booth seating available and the staff had to seat us at a table in the center of the room. It felt vaguely date-like and almost like everyone could hear our conversation, but we didn’t let it stop us. J filled us in on her frustrations with the students she works with, while V cooed over how adorable hers were. We talked K-dramas, American dramas, makeup, skincare and the works! Eventually, someone did come by to remove the warming bases from our teapots and we took that as our cue to finish up.
A month later, I had almost an exact duplicate of the day with Clarissa, who I also hadn’t seen in over a year. I met Clarissa during the summer of my sophomore-junior year while studying abroad and we became fast friends. Somehow, she put up with all my hysterical kpop fangirling that summer and saw that I was not actually an idiot and now it’s her turn to see the sparkling light that is k-fandom. ♡ Definitely check out her blog if you get the chance – she is so funny and well spoken and wise beyond her years. This is my creepy love declaration for you ♥
Anyway, a meeting a year is a sign that I do a terrible job of keeping up with people, but Clarissa was quick on forgiving me. We ran into Bitgoul Tofu & BBQ Restaurant after a shriek-y embrace in the cold and quickly ordered up some hot spicy food to warm up with.
Clarissa mentioned that she doesn’t have Korean food often and so we started simple with bibimbap and soondubu jjigae to share. The seasoning at Bitgoul must be different because their bibimbap was 100000% more delicious than the one at SSKS. I have uncommitted feelings about bibimbap, but this was so good that it might have changed my mind. Bitgoul’s specialty is soft tofu so their soondubu jjigae was excellent as usual. We stayed at Bitgoul for a while just eating and talking about such topics at TOP’s lovely face and how Clarissa can’t stop watching Flower Boy Next Door.
We were both in the mood for something sweet afterwards and I mentioned to Clarissa that we could either do casual cake & coffee or go to the teahouse. She practically lit up at the mention of fancy teacups ☕ So just like last time we headed to Rose House for our afternoon snack.
When the waitress led us to a booth near the window I was soooo happy. I’m a fool! Clarissa was equally excited; she spent the first 10 minutes whispering oh my god in glee. The table I sat at last time was occupied by a bunch of guys on a bro-date, which we exchanged giggles about at first, but then realized they had absolutely no qualms about the environment and were comfortable as ever sipping tea and sharing a plate of waffles. I know a number of guys who would squirm at the idea of eating here so +1UP for these guys for being totally chill about it.
Originally the plan was to split an Afternoon Tea Set with a Shakespeare tea, but the waitress told us that there was a minimum purchase requirement per customer so I ordered the recommended Little Prince Planet tea for myself. If I had checked Yelp earlier, I would have found so many people complaining about the minimum purchase requirement. The way it works out is that each person has to order something regardless of the price, which sounds like an acceptable rule until you realize that a group of 4, for example, can’t split one of the $40 dessert tier because each individual would also have to make an additional order of their own. Oi.
Luckily, Clarissa and I were just fine with our tea and cake although neither one of us were really impressed by the teas we ordered. I’ve gotten recommendations about the Rose Milk Tea, but I’m not sure I’m willing to pay $12 for something I might be able to make at home ;x But hey, the price you pay is for the ambiance and environment and the two of us had a great time. We talked a lot about Being an Adult and what is means in terms of friends, family and quarter-life crises. There was some DEEP STUFF that we watered down with k-drama chatter and general kpop shenanigans. I even got to take a peak inside her makeup bag because I’m a bag creeper. (ʘ‿ʘ) Sadly we had to bid each other adieu early in the evening because Clarissa had a long way to travel back to Brooklyn but we made promises to meet again soon.
I like to thing everyone had a great time even though there was a serious lack of originality with outings. There wasn’t much activity on the agenda, but sometimes all you really need or want is a chance to sit down and reconnect. It’s interesting seeing the ways that people have changed and how there are some things that haven’t changed at all. J still has her biting wit and her no-frills take charge attitude, while Clarissa is as charming and comfortable to be around as the day I met her. Everyone’s grown emotionally and physically, but there are things we hold onto despite the years that pass.
[toggle title=”Location Location Location!”]
San Soo Kap San
38-13 Union Street
Flushing, NY 11354
TEL: (718) 445-1165
Bitgoul Tofu & BBQ Restaurant
136-72 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
TEL: (718) 353-5858
Queens Crossing 1st FL
38-10 138th Street
Flushing, NY 11354
TEL: (718) 35907673