Bubble Maineia Review

Another guest post from Roomie A, only this time *not* because I was too lazy to write my own review (see Pom's write-up). A. just sent me an email - with an attached photo and everything! - detailing her lunch experience at the newly relocated Bubble Maineia Dessert & Noodle Bar. Since it lent itself so easily to blogging, I asked her if I could post it here. So take it away, Roomie A!

I am not normally in the habit of spreading bad news about local businesses. In fact, quite the contrary! I'm thrilled to support any local establishment, even if the cost is higher, as long as the quality is good. But I do feel a certain civic duty to save my friends (most of whom are broke) from wasting good money on bad food. It is for only this reason that I share my recent tale of luncheon woe:

In the hope of finding a good noodle shop in this town, I tried Bubble Maineia Dessert & Noodle Bar (15 Temple Street, Portland). Sadly, my lunch was a Lo Mein Letdown, a Porky Pity, and a Bok Choy Bummer- all at the same time.

I spent last weekend in Brooklyn, where I truly spoiled myself eating excellent Asian food (excepting Thai and Sushi, which are quite satisfactory here in Portland). But even comparing my noodles to others in Portland, this was not a compelling lunch.

I ordered the "Minced Pork Sauce with Noodle" on the Lo Mein list for $5.95. It came with a "free side" of either spicy chicken salad or sweet and sour cucumber. I opted for the spicy chicken salad, which was actually very good and had some interesting ingredients (that awesome transparent seaweed!). But to call it a "side" is WILDLY generous. It was, at the most, two tablespoons. Just slightly more than I would have expected from a sample at whole foods. However, one can order it on its own for $4, which would be worth it as long as the portion is larger.

I also had a hankering for iced tea, and they have both green and black. I chose green. It tasted like soap. A co-worker chose black, which tasted pleasantly of tea.

I took my noodle takeout (plus a little container of chili sauce) back to my office and cracked it open. I felt like a contestant on Let's Make a Deal and Monty Hall just opened the last door to reveal a goat. I had such high hopes! Which, no doubt, worsened the disappointment.

The takeout container (which is very nice and will be useful for storing leftovers) contained a pile of perfectly cooked Lo Mein noodles and . . . some gunk with bok choy. The title was misleading, perhaps a result of a language barrier, but it's still problematic. My noodles were billed as coming with a "minced pork sauce." What I got was a quarter of a cup of very greasy, dry, tough, ground pork, with NO sauce-like qualities. Under-seasoned and over-cooked. And visually unappealing (looking like the result of the "dog's dinner" that Gordon Ramsay is frequently served). It was garnished with a half a head of under-done baby bok choy, which I normally love, but it wasn't enough to resurrect the mess.

All that said, I have frequently had bubble tea from Bubble Maineia's commercial street location, and enjoyed it quite thoroughly, so I will probably go in from time to time for my tapioca fix. And the chicken salad would be excellent if taken home and eaten with some salted, crispy seaweed and sticky rice as a delicious deconstructed sushi. But the noodle bar element of this location is NOT worth six bucks. Sorry.