Nestled in a Lewiston neighborhood just off Scribner Boulevard is an unassuming building reminiscent of the diner from the Archie comics. The flashing “Open” sign propped up in the window invited me in, hoping singularity for some bubble tea. My expectations were thoroughly exceeded. With original flavors like taro (a sweet Taiwanese root), red bean, and green tea, to more exotic flavors like honeydew and mango, it’s nearly impossible to choose just one. I started with the taro, and was presented with a perfectly chilled milk tea. The color was almost lilac, and the bubbles were perfectly thawed and was the right mix of soft and chewy. The tea was light and creamy, and the taro flavor was sweet and crisp. I was so impressed that I returned the following three days (and with three new friends) and got the mango, classic and green tea.

However, even though my search started with bubble tea, I was even more happily surprised with the food options. On my first visit, I tried the pho. First, you order in a sort of DIY style. You choose your broth, your meat and your noodles. I went with the most original, with beef broth, local beef and vermicelli noodles. If I do say so myself, I am kind of a pho snob, and even so I was thoroughly impressed. The broth was smooth and not too thick, but still had the weight and flavor I was seeking. The beef was flawlessly cooked, just tender enough but still had a firm texture. My favorite part, however, was the toppings. It is very difficult to create the perfect blend of herbs, but I was given just enough to season to my liking. Topped with bean sprouts and mint, I settled down in my dorm room with a thoroughly amazing meal. I returned the next day not just for my mango bubble tea, but also for a sandwich. I opted for a BBQ pork mi, which was served on baguette with pickled carrots, dikon, cilantro, onion, and the perfect amount of a tasty aioli. Other community favorites include the ramen, and the bacon fried rice.

But beyond the delicious food, I keep coming back to Boba because of the feeling I get when I’m there. Almost immediately upon entering my friends and I were engrossed in conversation with the Chef Zach. He and his partner Keshia cheerfully said hello and asked as if we went to Bates. We chatted about starting school, the workload, the parties, and all the while being fed delicious samples of steamed buns. You can tell instantly how much he cares about and loves what he does. That passion comes through in not just the food, but in the friendly neighborhood atmosphere. Every single person who walks through the door is greeted with a smile and an animated hello, as if every customer is a close friend. And no matter how many times I go, Keshia still doesn’t mind reading out every single bubble tea flavor for my forgetful mind.

Although it isn’t quite in walking distance, Boba is definitely a spot for Batesies to make a staple. Even better still, they deliver on Fridays and Saturdays; a perfect option for the late night snack, or fuel for an all-nighter. Through the hectic daily schedule, it’s nice to slow down and take the time for some affable conversation and heart-warming food, and Boba is the perfect place to do so.