Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review - Hello Kitty Pop - Up Cafe: Irvine, CA

     Two years ago, I attended the first ever Hello Kitty Con 2014 in the Little Tokyo neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles.  I remember large crowds, long lines, and all things cute and adorned with Hello Kitty.  One of the cutest things I saw was the Hello Kitty Cafe, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to try it.  You can imagine my excitement when I found out they were having a pop-up cafe in Irvine, CA.  Their official grand opening was July 15th, but I heard there was a soft opening and decided to beat the crowd (and by beat the crowd I mean waiting in a 20 minute line as opposed to a 45 minute line).  

(Photo taken with my Fujifilm x100)

     So the doggies were packed into the car with their stroller, and we were off to hunt down the Hello Kitty cafe.  

(All photos taken with my Canon G7X.)

     I'll be honest, I'm not such a foodie that I was dying to try out any of the food and drinks they were offering.  I pretty much just wanted to take some pictures of the cute things they had to offer - like these cookies. I want to throw a party and give away these cookies as favors.  I'd want to bake and decorate them myself... y'know, because I have so much time on my hands.  

     Aside from my Starbucks mugs from Berlin and London, I am technically on a mug ban.  You don't know how badly I wanted to buy this cute, overpriced Hello Kitty mug!!!  That little happy meal-esque to go carrier was super adorable as well.  At the time, I thought you had to buy something that would warrant needing the carrier in order to get one, but I discovered later that you can buy just the carrier for $2.  It's not a bad price if you're a Hello Kitty fan, I suppose. 

     My dogs were really excited for this venture. 

     Obligatory cute cookie pictures. 

Here's what I thought:

Presentation (5 out of 5 stars) - I won't deny Hello Kitty her 5 stars here. The people that put this own know how to produce cute stuff.  Photographically, it is a dream, and honestly, that's why I was there.  If you want cute factor, you will find it here.

Quality & Taste (3 out of 5 stars) - Here's what the pop-up cafe loses points in my opinion.  I had the strawberry mint lemonade and the hello kitty donut-looking sugar cookie.  While both looked cute in presentation, I didn't think they tasted very good.  I saw my lemonade being "made", and it was basically store bought lemonade mixed with some strawberry pieces and mint.  If it weren't for the cute plastic cup it came in, I would be hard pressed to pay the $4 for it. The $4.50 cookie was even worse.  I am by no means a great baker, but I know I could bake a better tasting sugar cookie.  It tasted factory-made  and very generic - nothing special about the taste, and on top of that, it was hard and brittle. 

     Basically, if you love cute Hello Kitty stuff and aren't concerned with getting something extraordinary when it comes to taste, you should definitely check out this pop-up cafe.  I don't know how long it'll be around, but the "pop-up" suggests that there will be an end in sight.  

     However, if you're hoping for something that not only looks gourmet, but also tastes gourmet, you will be disappointed.  For the prices they are charging, I don't think the taste is up to par.

     As a side note, I went during a weekday in the early afternoon, and the Irvine Spectrum was packed with people.  Wasn't expecting that!

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