Cha An's Matcha Float is a drink that easily doubles as dessert. The Matcha Float is frothy and sweet, noticeably thicker than your ordinary cup of cold matcha, and topped with a spoonful of tsubushian (sweetened azuki bean paste)—the "float" part of the drink. Give it a stir and let the tsubushian blend right in—you'll be rewarded with a hint of the soft, sweet beans in every sip.
Next time you're in Chinatown, visit Ten Ren on Mott Street for a cup of buckwheat matcha ($3). This thick, milky green tea is blended with toasted buckwheat for a warming drink that requires a bit of chew, almost like tapioca. The buckwheat imparts a nuttiness that works wonderfully with the tea. Ten Ren's drinks tend to be on the sweet side, so tell them to lighten up on the sugar if you don't have a serious sweet tooth.
Kyotofu's Mochi Chocolate Cake is served warm and, by virtue of the mochi, has an extra chew, a tenderness only achieved with the addition of mochiko powder. On the bottom is kuromitsu creme anglaise, and on top, a quenelle of matcha shiro-an (a puree of white beans and sugar). Here the shiro-an is lighter than the norm, with the texture of thick whipped cream. It's blended with enough matcha powder to turn it a deep green, and wonderful enough to serve as a dessert on its own.
Cha An's precise and neatly composed Zenzai ($8.50) starts with chilled matcha soup, bright and slightly sweetened, with a trio of shiratama at the base, little orbs of chewy mochi balls. Above that goes mild, housemade sake ice cream with azuki bean jelly cubes tucked beneath the ice cream. A balance of every texture is presented in this dish, from the sticky chew of mochi to the final crown of a crunchy black sesame tuile, the cookie caramelized just enough to offer sweet smoky notes.
Browsing though the candy aisle of Sunrise Mart is one my favorite pastimes. Fruity gummies, chocolate koala bears, and matcha marshmallows! $3.69 for a 3-ounce bag; they're undeniably cute, the single-bite marshmallows shaped like mini-ping pong balls. Bite and there's a little heart of matcha paste at the very center. Soft, fluffy, and innocent, these are the types of sweets you want to keep at the desk for midday munchies.