Thursday, March 6, 2014

Foodie at Afters Ice Cream

Pertaining to the sweet category of food trends, my fragile metabolism and taste have been hyperactive for indulgences like macarons, red velvet everything, decorative waffles, pumpkin spice delectables, and the familiar hybrid of a croissant and a donut.

Another potential food fad could emerge, after getting sweetened with a combination of artisan ice cream and the old-fashioned, simplistic donut.  This is what Afters Ice Cream has been screaming out since February 15.

Off the 405 freeway in Brookhurst Street and Talbert, accessibility of parking is a breeze--assuming that you don't mind an opportunistic walk.  It is sandwiched between Pick Up Stix and the flashy Hallmark store, however mentioning this was pointless because the lengthy hour long line of sweet teeth of all ages gives the location away.  Making the establishment more attention-grabbing were the previous businesses that left their namesake scars behind the "Ice Cream" signage.

Took This Pic When We Were in Line

My friends and I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, and we were lucky taking a parking spot very close to the ice cream store.  Still, that couldn't defeat the odds of waiting the same amount of time as the Splash Mountain ride.  At least you'll have more time to gossip uninterrupted--without those bouncing noises in sit-down restaurants--catch up on Instagram photos, or even study some terminology on your note cards from StudyBlue (or another academic app on your smartphone).

Even inches from the entrance line you'll see Afters displaying their logo attire almost as if they were literally chilling in the see-through fridge.  Then you'll notice the plastic crates deliberately stacked to take role as the velvet rope at Haunted Mansion, but instead of feeling red you'll see (and likely feel) almost randomly stocked items, indicating ingredients used in their handcrafted ice cream.

Note: Not All Ingredients Are Avail Every Day

In actuality, one of my aforementioned friends and I retrospectively drove to Fountain Valley Plaza for that undying glimpse of the number of customers anticipating for what my friend informed me that Afters "put ice cream inside the donut."  After denied access of our own consent, a few days later I phone-talked to another gal friend describing this why-hasn't-been-thought-for-so-long ingenious culinary phenomenon, and she insisted that I indulge wholeheartedly with these 2 sweet sensations packed together, suitably called (and possibly trademarked) the Milky Bun.

Hours after our phone conversation, my friends and I nabbed that lucky parking spot that Wednesday afternoon for that and the artisan ice cream--moment involving roughly 15 flavors.

How the Milky Bun is Created Before Consumed

If you do dare order the Milky Bun, you can choose to have the donut plain or glazed.

Unglazed Donuts

With the $5.00 double the trouble comes with one free topping--or sauce.  Otherwise pay up an extra half dollar.


One of my friends gladly took the classic approach by going Single Scoop plus the 50-cent topping, much more specifically the Vietnamese Iced Coffee Ice Cream with Fruity Pebbles.


If you demand a tolerable dose of caffeine, but would rather embrace on a more luscious, thicker texture, this version of Cafe Sua Da could hype you up.  This would have been my request, had I visited Afters as a solo adventure.

However, after tackling other flavors to sample, I ended up having a serious date with the Jasmine Milk Tea Miky Bun, Glazed, with Afters [Cereal] Flakes, handsomely served on parchment paper as if folded as a bulky ice cream cone.


A Friend's Milk and Cereal Milky Bun


Just like my infatuation for certain milk teas for its impacted sensation, I contained the same emotion for Afters' extravagantly flowery and gorgeous punch.  Perfume-like level could be a more candid way to interpret this, so this tone could vary widely on individuals' taste, all thanks to genetics.  For a vivacious crunch, I chose the Afters flakes, which simply reminded me of those corn flakes made by a famous brand starting with the letter K.

Yet, I put myself at palatable and dietary risk to have this periwinkle-colored creaminess into this absurdly yet undoubtedly rich, overwhelmingly saccharine glazed donut.  If you dare rip off a little piece of the fried dough alone and bit into it, it's like eating from the proverbial, local mom-and-pop shops on your way to a 9-to-5 shift.

Nonetheless I pushed myself already to my limit of consumed sweetness that I managed 90% of the Milky Bun.  So if I were to reorder it, I don't mind at all sharing this with a friend or foodie partner.

In addition, the mental and physical sugar concentration, plus a lively conversation, of this afternoon treat led me to a slight oblivion on the texture of the ice cream, resulting in a second visit (barely a week later) with one of my friends from the previous rendezvous.  Those few days curiously showed notable upgrades, such as giant refrigerator (pictured below) next to the fully stacked plain donuts, plus a new ice cream flavor, the "Churro."

Plus we arrived at an amazingly short wait, on a Monday.  So, here's my bonus, 2 cents to you, lucky reader!

You're New


No pun intended (again), but after sampling the "Churro" flavor, the essence of cinnamon was taste-wise slightly shimmery, but it could attain a heavier kick--though I can imagine many other customers falling in love with this more instantaneously.

Then I asked one of the servers if half scoops for my Single Scoop is permissible, and joyously I got to enjoy 1/2 a scoop of likewise magnificently rich, chunky, and scrumptiously intense Cookie Butter and 1/2 a scoop of that consistently divine Jasmine Milk Tea (for a total of $3.50).  Meanwhile, my friend ordered the Milky Bun, this time unglazed--thank goodness--and filled with a nostalgic-sensing Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream.


Now concentrating on the meaningful frozen texture in my scoop, it was slick, thickly whipped, and indubitably smooth.  Issues of air embedded within were close to zilch, though like the typical frozen brands, such as Ben & Jerry's, our ice cream melted easily during a chill post-rainy weather.

Bottom line: if you must endure a line analogous to popular park rides, a middle-profile concert, or even the original Pink's Hot Dogs, I'd say go after the uncommon yet grand flavors, i.e. Jasmine Milk Tea, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, and Cookie Butter.  Other likable flavors of mine include Cookie Monster and Almond Cookie, and I have yet to get refreshed with Afters' sorbets.  Outdoor seating is prepared to take on the dairy spillage coming from that 4-step sweet process!

Grade: B+

Afters Ice Cream
18030 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
www.aftersicecream.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Foodie at Habana, Revisited

Last April I arrived to hidden Habana for the 1st time, curiously hungry and thirsty for their healthy fish sandwich and sinfully sounding Sangria Roja while sitting solo their relaxing, gorgeous, and eye-catching patio.

The 2nd time was a social opposite.  This was during a chilly Saturday night getting warmed up inside with a lively party of 13 to toast a friend's birthday.  Embracing the candlelit, romantic-calling ambiance, we dominated the peripheral, communal table where half of the group could easily get distracted to people-watching, while the other half could pay close attention to the gazers.

The common tie between these 2 endeavors was the look of indecision thanks to their appetizing, mealtime-appropriate menus.

Because of this slightly large gathering, all my following food encounters reflected on my side of the table.  However, I heavily apologize for not naming some of these platters verbatim and not knowing their prices, so to my best extent we commenced with...


These Seasoned-Fried Avocado Slices tasted average in my book, in spite of the evened breading and flawless creaminess.  The mildly spicy yet effervescently smoky chipotle dip enchanted some oomph that these fritters deserve.


If intense citrus with a nudging robustness of sherry wine sound truly appealing to you, order up the delectably nibbling Marinated Olives.


In a cutesy, mini cast iron pan, the beautifully breaded and peppered Stuffed Pork Croquettes are aptly amazing. Expecting to be a traditional meatball, I was however dumbfounded that, after slicing part of the ball, the inside was a sublimely succulent, phenomenally and consistently juicy shredded pulled pork (i.e. not grounded) clearly being rolled up lovingly to likewise wrap around the gooey and ambrosial manchego cheese.  Its tomato sauce upped the ante by its slight tang and sweetness, with a meaty undertone that I shamelessly scooped some for the fried avocado slices.

Oh, that cheesy goo

Whatever mealtime you've stepped in, obviously assuming you take pride in your omnivorous digestive system, these croquettes must be at the top of your personal order list at Habana.

Quarter of the dinner hour passed by right before our main courses took the center stage...


I may not had a chance to take even a bean out of these chromatically appealing & abundant Roasted Seasoned Vegetables, but please take my vegan friend into consideration.

But on the other gastronomic spectrum...


One of my friends nonchalantly allowed me to sample the Ropa Vieja--thrice.  Out of the few other dishes I've eaten, both the aggrandizing, savory, and tactfully garlicky tomato-based sauce and the hearty, equitably tender and easily falling apart pot roast made the night's dinner and my eating life into what felt like a soulfully eternal bliss.  Unless you're virtuously vegan/vegetarian, if you're coming during lunchtime and first caught glance at this menu item, trust your darting eyes; I mentioned the daytime interval because I do remember it being priced slightly more inexpensively.

Meanwhile, I was leaning towards either of the 2 chicken dishes served that night.  Go for (another) breaded chicken entree, or for the one that has one of my favorite everyday ingredients--garlic.

But while you've tried figuring out, my plate happened to be executed separately by offering me first the black beans.


Eating this alone, the level of flavor was lighter compared to stews in other Hispanic restaurants.  I decided to place this dish aside for my chicken.

Few minutes later the plate with the poultry was the evident reason for the legume segregation.  I eventually chose the one with garlic mojo sauce...

Marinated Roasted Half Chicken

Both my friends and myself were dazed at this massive showstopper that I initially thought the menu was too timid to admit that the chicken may be whole.  But in reality the meat, the sauce, and the sweet and sweaty onions covered the fluffy white rice. What's even more blatant was that the scent of that dainty, harmless-looking rosemary garnish was unexpectedly potent--as if a woman hoarding the treadmill spritzed several mists of the White Diamonds Eau de Parfum--thus, might have affected my approach to this behemoth.

Just as strikingly, the sauce proved more vinegary and pungent than I thought, like about the same level of aromatics as the Ropa Vieja.  I did manage to bite off one drumstick, yet both my taste and olfaction had been overwhelmed with the infiltrating dish that at 1st impression I told my friends, "It's tasty, but it may not be my personal favorite..."

Or, maybe I had altogether wolfed down one bread roll, one--and a half--Pork and Cheese Croquette, the vegetarian appetizers, the chicken leg, and double my guzzling of water that I had to take 2/3 of my main course in a plastic takeout container.

My Leftover Breakfast

Interestingly, the overnight fridge treatment was optimizing and mellowing the blend of the intense flavors of the garlic, onions, and vinegar--satisfying my hungry hopes.  More impressively was that all my leftover meat was therefore more reveling, attaining the same tenderness and tantalizing chicken skin to eat with the same rice and with salad (from my fridge) as the night of the birthday dinner.

But back to the restaurant.  Our section's sweet selection was Coconut Sorbet, appropriately stuffed in a soft, half football-shaped shell.


Unusually dense for how a sorbet is traditionally concocted that one hand must hold onto that shell in order to scoop it with another, I stubbornly believe that coconut milk was the binding pizazz for a more stealthy coconut taste.  This even gloated generous shreds of coconut, and the melting factor for a sorbet was curiously slothful and sturdy.

It was indeed an overall light finish for such an exemplary, heavy-feeling eating celebration.  I have came to realize that Habana is still one of the OC gems to treat yourself or a loved one to a delicious feast at any time of their opening hours.  And still, a parking spot at its LAB Antimall is a nasty game for me to snatch.


Grade: B+

Habana
2930 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-0176

Habana on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Foodie at Beach Break Cafe

When coasting through Oceanside (which was rare for even SD-borne me had traveled to), whatever itinerary you may have already settled, I hope you would save at least an hour break for some bulky food, nestled right along Coast Highway.

Front Signage


Entering from the parking lot's side, I happened to take a step on the patio, i.e. the opposite side of the main entrance, or the storefront.  Over there every wall and ceiling are washed with beach photography, framed accolades, local memorabilia, and innumerable surfboards at various sizes, from the legitimate to the replicas hanging atop the restaurant waiting room like organized Christmas ornaments.  Virtually as equal as the number of boards are the number of customers devouring their breakfast entrees, lunch items, or both at the same time.

This is just 1 out of hundreds of ocean wave grinders

If the waiting period took longer than my actual experience--at closing hour on a Sunday--famished and/or fatigued customers could consume and serve themselves a cup of coffee, complimentary style that has an understandable condition...


I ended up taking a seat at the counter, where I was secretively elated to observe the diner window that divides the cooks from the servers.  A better way to word this description is that I had an awesome opportunity gazing and awing towards the enormously portioned food, priced within the range of $7-$14, at incredibly high and unwavering turnover.

One of the ways of looking at the order tickets is that screen on the top left.

Out of the lengthy, laminated 2-sided menu--where one side offers breakfast and the other displays lunch--I conscientiously picked the dish not because of the amount of leftovers I would be having, but because I pried on a dish that included this alluring Coffee Cake that my friends went temporarily insane for when they went on their own, personal break.

So in order for me to intake this brief insanity without this despicable extra charging, I aimed for a breakfast item, which obviously I'll be expatiating shortly.  Otherwise, a standard lunch item would monetarily segregate this satisfactorily portioned coffee complement by $1.95.


Right away, the encompassing warmth and aroma pierced me.  Easily crumbly with light pressure on my fork, in just one bite and I felt this moist, lightly buttery, soft vanilla, and invigorating cinnamon essence without torturing my gustatory senses like some of those spicy candies of the like.  But I believe the ooze of the sugary glaze might have been the catalyst of my infatuation of this cubed sweet starter of mine.

Amusingly, after one bite of this warm cake, this plate was quickly yet contently served directly in front of me...

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs Sunny Side Up ($9.95)

Leftovers, coming right up!

Teasing aside, meaty chunks of tasty corned beef provided the superficially charred texture and consistent tenderness, cooperating with the softness of Beach Break Cafe's home style potatoes while also donning their slight browning, as well as their sweet, gingerly sliced grilled red onions.  Like all traditional corned beefs it had a salty undertone, especially when my appetite was meeting in the middle of the plate.

If a crispier thrill is more of your forte, these choppy, diced potatoes can easily be substituted for their hash browns.  That was certainly my responsibility for not telling my waitress to opt for the other starchy classic I personally preferred.

Additionally, I purposefully asked my evidently fresh eggs to be cooked sunny side up for that glossy, rich, and wickedly delectable yolk to softly cascade on my manly meat and potatoes.

That Yolk

I was planning to save the remaining coffee cake for perhaps the next day's breakfast.  Strangely, although the sugary level was honestly a tad over the threshold of sugar concentration, I let go of the pre-diabetes fear and ravished it entirely, leaving only the edges since the colder the cake, the harder its cornered texture--and the more hardened that glaze.  Bottom line is that you are absolutely permitted to consume the cake firsthand; really, the only person obstructing the choices of what time to eat this deliciously extravagant indulgence is yourself!

So now, how about placing your surfboard aside and get your teeth grinding at Beach Break Cafe, genuinely displaying their motto "Great Food, Great Friends, Great Service."  Despite the seemingly antsy environment on Sunday, all the workers considerably checked up on me, ensuring I'm finishing the cake blissfully before a longing siesta.  To find this diurnally run eatery, it is virtually between the bustling Interstate 5 and the rarely thrashing Pacific Ocean.

And if the minuscule parking lot is not in your odds that day, residential parking should be fine, unless you arrived on street sweeping day.

Grade: B-

Beach Break Cafe
1802 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 439-6355
www.beachbreakcafe.net

Beach Break Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Foodie at Spin Pizza

This Neapolitan pizza has a taken quite a geographical spin (yes, I must add that), emigrating from the Midwestern region of Kansas City--where I lavishly devoured those succulent BBQ meats in a gas station--to the region where oranges used to heavily settle.

A 2nd location of Spin Pizza happened to be built (from a former local pizza joint) for about a year in my neighborhood, Los Alamitos, next to a locally historic fire station now turned museum; then unveiling roughly a month ago, as I write this post.


The storefront was frankly confusing for me to interpret.  This eatery can be easily spotted when you're riding through its address, and has an entrance door to prove it.  However, I have found 3 routes on how to bring your car, all by awkwardly crawling through practically perceivable alleyways to eventually park behind the edifice and the main street.  There is indeed another entrance, but this one is the bigger and more accessible version, leading to where servers will assist you getting seated.

I will note the directions near the end of this post, but this is my forewarning especially to those who tend to hurry up and go by ravenously for some pizzas--or if you looked at their online menu already, their saladspaninis, beer and wine, and gelato.

In Front of the Technical Storefront


But tummies do need to wait, simultaneously perusing through the menus while lining up before confidently ordering at the counter.  How seating will take place is now in your own hands, after the cashier offers you both a receipt inside their practically hard-to-close booklet, which also carries their little Spin! Club form, and a lightweight but bulky wooden wedge blatantly revealing your order number for the server to scour through a vast fiery red and woodsy atmosphere that can easily fit a wedding reception for about 100 occupants.

By the way, that's a Gelato Stand to the Left

Need something more spicy, cheesy, peppery, and/or salty? You're covered!

A ticking yet meaningful minutes later I received this wonderful repast: a Mini Mia that involves a 1/2 portion salad (or a cup of soup or a handful of chips--pick your veggies as you please) and a 6-inch Neapolitan pizza.

Spinach Salad & Tre Carni Mini Pizza

For the mini pie, whether it'd be a 6-incher or 1 inch longer than the standard ruler, the regular crust comes out as relatively thin yet pleasantly chewy with the pleasurable crispness on the exterior, after enduring the requisite of stone oven baking for less than 2 minutes, grabbing them with their peel that's crazily taller than my inborn height. The dough was quite remarkably fragrant and delicately toasty, bolstering the subtly tangy tomato sauce, zesty mozzarella cheese and the 3 pertinently plentiful meats: weighty yet succulent roasted meatballs, classically tasty pepperoni, and lightly seasoned, juicy Italian sausage.

Meanwhile, there's something in that simple-sounding salad that unexpectedly evoked my gustation at such high impression.  Rarely and frankly do I become wowed with something that can seriously be created with little effort at home, regardless of the cost of the ingredient; this salad, however, was oddly an exception.

Could it be that beautiful, harmonious medley of sweet glazed pecans, borderline pungent goat cheese, sliced crimini mushrooms, ripened grape tomatoes, delectable crumbles of the well-balanced salty Italian bacon tossed with the adorable pile of baby spinach?  Or was it this subdued yet robust-invoking Chianti vinaigrette that nailed everything...

Whatever elusive factor it was, barely a week later I revisited for this particular 2nd dose.  This time...

Love Ya!

Regardless of the separation technique, no visual deception took place. My salad was still rhythmically delicious, and I certainly need a dining partner to either choose what I've been getting or pick a different for me to sample a different green.

And my fun-sized pizza rebels outside the Neapolitan box by going Bianca (i.e. no tomato base) and Gluten-Free.

Prosciutto e Spinaci Mini Pizza

What makes the lack of the crimson edible enhances the lusciousness of the mozzarella raised high like a good range in wifi strength.  Even though the crusted ingredient cannot fall under true Neapolitan qualities, what understandably substituted with this wheat-whacked delight was its higher firmness, subtly sweet--guessing they incorporated honey--that went excellently with the garlic and olive oil slather all over the charred spinach and silky yet inconceivably succulent Italian cured meat atop the enriching roasted onion fig marmalade.  My slight financial caveat is that opting for gluten-free will make your pizza priced higher.

Now when it comes to pizza picking, instead of ordering that aims for a party of one, you can gather your posse and savor for the 13" versions.  Aside from the type of crust, what I have chosen was based on predetermined toppings, under the categories Rossa, Bianca, and Classica--which uses wheat crust at no extra charge.  Otherwise you can customize how you'd like your ingredients scattered at a heavier cost, so as for me, I have already found another pizza destination to take care of this minor setback.

Going retrospectively, I was darned curious about their colorful gelato assortments.  After asking questions about their scooping policy, I was astonished yet intrigued that you don't have to order just 1 flavor in your desirably sized cup.  If you'd like 1/2 a scoop of their Blueberry Buttercookie and 1/2 a scoop of Dark Chocolate Raspberry--or 1/2 Pumpkin Cheesecake, 1/4 Mint Chocolate, 1/4 Limoncello--they're not stopping you, as long as they fit into either their petite or regular-sized cup.


Of the svelte flavors I had a chance to give one lick each, I fancied the delectably vibrant Limoncello sorbet, the sensual and naughty Pumpkin Cheesecake, and the happy-go-lucky Blueberry Buttercream.

I decided that my lengua would slick onto the last aforementioned flavor, priced at $2.95 for small.

Blueberry Buttercookie SPIN! Gelato

Claiming to have less butterfat as opposed to the quintessential ice creams, the smoothness of this particular scoop did reveal a little compromise.  In spite of its absolutely dense substance, the palatal feel of richness wasn't easily discernible.  Yet thankfully, random pockets of air were absent.  I additionally loved the fact that this frozen confection didn't melt easily, especially when my warm hand kept holding onto the paper cup while I sleekly scraped the top of the icy-ish dairy with that dainty pink gelato spoon.  Finally for the most critical: I enjoyed nipping those teeny, crumbly pieces of the buttercookie randomly embedded alongside remnants of this tart berry piquancy for a more animated texture.

Spin Pizza has already revolutionized my perspective on neighborhood pizza, drastically lessening my automobile miles for grabbing a pie of sorted sizes, with certain exceptions of birthday gatherings or friendly foodie adventures.  The easier and less cramped approach to drive to Spin is to enter Green Avenue and make an immediate right on the alleyway--don't worry, it's open-spaced--where you'll shortly end up at the backside, as shown on the 1st picture.

But if this pizzeria still doesn't plug into your personal mileage vocabulary, there's a Spin established in the city of Orange, or you can anticipate the 3rd location somewhere in Huntington Beach.


Grade: B

SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza
11122 Los Alamitos Blvd.
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
(562) 684-7746
http://spinpizza.com

SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Foodie at 7 Leaves Cafe

Success of this highly regarded boba tea cafe has emerged, as the owners of 7 Leaves Cafe accumulated their money pot from their original, tiny suite and thus spend some of that financial cauldron on a more graciously expansive location--right off the 22 freeway--which officially opened on January 4, 2014.  More beneficially, parking is comparably more convenient, though I would proceed with caution if you dare place your automobile in the emptier spaces in front of a church neighboring this cafe.


The main entrance immediately leads to the traditional ordering by the counter.  One giant menu is electronically displayed right behind the counter, while on the left-hand side showcases cups of various sizes, and pictures of their vibrant drinks, with descriptions on how and what is this particular drink one customer may want to freshen up their dietary mood.  Behind the counter houses a coffee grinder, as I observed one of the workers manually aerating these wonderfully aromatic coffee beans before falling into their crushing fate.

Also on (chilled) display: Macarons

On the right hand-side is where you can chill, gossip, study, provide a mini business meeting, gaze at their giant canvas photography of some of their essential ingredients for their drinks, or even read their donated books from their mini community library.  Their seating arrangement is quite variable, from the L-shaped, bar-like setup; to elongated, wooden benches, to the literally higher tables and chairs, which the tush-friendly objects reminded my friend and me of what you'd notice in science labs at school.

Bar-Like Seating (and yes, they don't mind staring at me)

Needs More Paper

Giving is Power

Like the quintessential boba shop, they innocuously listed a few snacks on that computerized menu.  My friend and I took some of the opportunities into our cravings.


A boba cafe would seriously stand out in a bizarre, awkward perspective if Popcorn Chicken ($4.50) didn't cross 7 Leaves' minds.  There were plenty of these juicy morsels to prick with our wooden skewers.  But frankly, the sweet and sour sauce was gravely needed to freshen the poultry's stark flavor, despite its je ne sais quoi seasoning.  Another culprit for this incidence was that we requested the spicy level as "mild," rather than my personal inclination.



However, these teasing Garlic Fries ($2.50) must be considered getting, even if your mood only is solid towards the drink.  The texture and base flavor almost equated to those evenly fluffy, curly versions in fast food restaurants, except that this powder of this garlicky essence produced strangely elicited some taste illusion--where were those minced cloves--and that it didn't overwhelm both the potatoes and our breaths.  The level of hooked-ness from 0-10, coming from a lover of both garlic and fried potatoes, was a 10.1.  I bet the points would advance if classic cheddar cheese came into action, but in the meantime, the spicier version most certainly caught my attention.


Finally on food, these may appear as a regular pork bao/steamed mini taco-looking bun, but these quacked.  As in: Duck Steamed Buns ($5.00).  My friend and I gnawed 3-4 curious bites of our own, slightly sticky piece, and as much as the tenderness and the lack of grease were given a major plus, I think a mini sauce cup of sweet BBQ sauce or Hoisin sauce would have been very reliable for this slightly gamey taste to be heavily obedient.

Nonetheless, their signature drinks are obviously what has made 7 Leaves Cafe successful.

BC = Black Coffee

To last for a few hours constantly reading while staying focused, I steadily sipped onto the Sea Cream Black [Iced] Coffee ($2.50), comprised of more or less 85% of bitter yet concentrated coffee, deliberately mixed and shaken with the 15% rich housemade cream melded with gingerly sea salt.  The intensity of caffeine, coming from a 5-foot person who imbibes at least 8 ounces of personal rejuvenation per day, was enough to chat incessantly and fervently about TV trash for perhaps a couple of hours. Or maybe from early afternoon 'til almost midnight, so consuming discretion is advised.


On the next visit I selected the Mung Bean [Jasmine] Milk Tea ($2.95) with the pearly blacks ($0.50)--other extras include egg pudding, grass jelly, and aloe--while my friend curiously went for the salty aforementioned.  I find it admirable that the staff can adjust the amount of sweetness of the ordered drinks, and the half-sweetened customization was still terrific enough to bring out the same, earthy and ingenuous mung bean enrichment--blended with pandan leaves--as what was served to me at the aptly calling OG location, while giving off that subtly creamy quality.  The boba was graded quite high for its optimal chewiness, warmth, and flavor; a few were glued to each other while orally vacuuming the remaining, but that wouldn't need to spark a fiery complaint.

Amid my few recent visits, I have noticed that the Gandhi quote, written like a Snelling Chart, surrounding the mission of this cafe.  I must concur: his words reflected excellently based on the quality, freshness--the "natural deliciousness"--of boba drinks that I have always idolized and yearned, whenever my thirst screams for this category of beverage.  Yet, I am actually hoping that the snacks can exemplify the motto.

With that said and the justly competitive pricing, this new cafe was just part of the business boom.  *UPDATE* Their 3rd cafe opened at Cypress on February 20, 2014, conveniently located across a community college (occupying a former Korean cafe that I sometimes would study there) & located much more accessibly for me.  Cheers to another year of perpetuated success, 7 Leaves!

Grade: B (averaging both drinks and snacks)

7 Leaves Cafe
13481 Euclid St. Suite B & C
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 534-7999
www.7leavescafe.com

7 Leaves Cafe on Urbanspoon

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