I don't yet understand Tropika Grill & Cafe on Roosevelt between 82nd and 83rd. The menu is in English and Spanish, and all over the place. They have fried snacks like plantains, yuca, sweet potato fries, corn balls, and onion rings. And then there are fried wontons and satay. Then Japanese beef curry and chicken teriyaki. Coconut chicken and buffalo wings. And a whole section of flavored grilled corn. All over the place and I can't wait to try it all. What I did try was shave ice because of course they also have tapioca drinks, smoothies, and shave ice. Perfect for such a humid day.
One shaved ice with four toppings for $3.99. Aside from syrup (passion fruit) and condensed milk, the four toppings I chose were chopped mango (super soft and sweet) boba (tapioca balls, these had a thin shell that burst) jelly (colorful and gelatinous but no flavor) and lychee jelly (colorful, gelatinous, and lychee flavor). I ate half there. The place was mostly empty but I saw at least four people working there, all extremely friendly, all very happy to have customers. They would pass by occasionally and ask me how I was doing. I was great! They, it turns out, have been open for seven days. They are Malaysian/Indonesian. They are very excited to get people in the store. They want everyone to try their special corn. They are not a chain. I am very happy to have them in the neighborhood. I took the rest to go, and the counter lady insisted on adding extra syrup and packing it up for me. Who am I to say no to that? I am now eating my mostly melted ice while writing this and watching Mexico vs. France in the World Cup. It is half time. 0-0. I wouldn't normally watch soccer by myself, but I am texting the play-by-play to José at work. Not the worst way to spend the afternoon.
Tropika Grill & Cafe
82-18 Roosevelt Ave
And they won 2-0!!! Maybe I should watch futbol while eating shave ice more often.