I’m not really a coffee person. Coffee leaves a nasty aftertaste in my mouth and honestly, they taste like dirt… Really bitter dirt. So I’m not a coffee snob whatsoever. However, coffee cafes are the best place to work on my blog and portfolio. So this past week, I spent most of time in various cafes throughout OC and LA. I’ll be listing the cafes in order from best to worst.
Roots Cafe | Cerritos, CA
So I found out about this cafe from a high school acquaintance of mine as he was promoting this cafe for his friend. I was intrigued because of their typographic choice for their cafe. It has a very sharp and thug like characteristic based on its design and a lot of Korean cafes use very minimalistic type without any fancy decorations. I graduated from art school so I can’t help but notice these things LOL. As long as the cafe doesn’t use Papyrus or Comic Sans then I’m good with going there HAHAHA. Anyways, I saw that they offered a tea called “Iron Goddess of Mercy” and it sounded so METAAAL that I had to get it. I thought it was going to be some tea that would be blood red and it would knock me out. But disappointingly, that wasn’t the case.
The Iron Goddess of Mercy was just an oolong tea. I mean when you hear IRGOM, you would probably imagine a beautiful gothic goddess with a huge reaper in a pool of blood and there’s people begging for their lives. But when you hear the word oolong, don’t you see an old harmless woman? Honestly, I don’t know why they named it Iron Goddess of Mercy… they should’ve just named it Oldie. But to my surprise, the tea was very good. I had it a little sweetened and it kind of tastes like milk tea but without cream and way cleaner. I also ordered matcha waffle and it was HUGE. It was bigger than the size of my face and I have a huge head LOL. It was very fluffy and light but I couldn’t taste the matcha a lot but honestly, I expected that so no surprise there. As for toppings, they added syrup, condensed milk, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and powder sugar. I scraped it all off since it made the waffle too sweet.
In terms of the interior and environment, it was clean and woodsy since the cafe had wood tables and counter. Unlike other Korean cafes where they either play instrumental or some soft songs, this cafe played old school hip hop and rock music which I liked. Their choice of music backs up the reason why they used the “thug life” type. However, their interior choice could have been more thoughtful like maybe add some cool street art or graffiti on the wall to fully back up their choice of type. But this is a great place to study or just chit chat. However, the wifi here is slow and unresponsive most of the time so hopefully, they’ll get that fixed. I really enjoyed the cafe for their music choice, the service, and the cleanliness of the place. Definitely coming back here again.
Roots Cafe Co.
19109 Bloomfield Ave
Cerritos, CA 90703
Viiva | La Palma, CA
I came to this cafe before just as a random search from Yelp and this place is a hidden gem. They are known for their Taiyakis or in Korean, boong-uh-bbang. Man… they were the tastiest taiyakis I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Viiva is located inside La Palma Hannam Chain and it shares space with a black bean noodle shop. The thing you HAVE to order are their taiyakis. The taiyakis here are really crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. It is on the denser side but not a lot. I ordered green tea custard and regular custard and they weren’t that sweet and it had a mushy but creamy texture. Even if you just eat one, I guarantee you that you’ll get full. I also ordered golden milk tea on the side but it was a little too sweet for my taste. They added a lot of creamer inside my milk tea so it was very creamy and milky. Honestly, this is one of those rare places where I would come back again. Their taiyakis are super addicting and no other taiyakis can top this place.
4951 La Palma Ave
La Palma, CA 90623
Cafe Wish | Buena Park, CA
This location was previously Paper Moon Dessert Cafe but it closed down and it recently became Cafe Wish. My friend and I were in the area and we wanted a place to chat so we decided to go here for desserts.
My friend ordered the tropical cooler and the cream cheese taiyaki while I ordered the matcha rose latte and matcha waffle. Everything matchaaa~ My friend let me try her drink and the tropical cooler tastes exactly like a fizzy version of the Screw Bar, a Korean popsicle with strawberry and apple flavor. If I had to choose an American flavor to perfectly describe this drink then I would choose Fanta but way cleaner. I really didn’t like the taiyaki. It had a hard outer shell which tasted like biscuit. But on the inside, it had a croissant pastry texture. The bread didn’t taste like any other taiyakis I’ve tried. I didn’t even dare try the cream cheese filling. I hate anything cream cheese. Moving on to my order, the matcha waffle was super dense and stiff. It was also undercooked in the inside. I couldn’t taste the matcha LOL why do I even bother ordering matcha waffles when I clearly know it won’t taste like it… The waffle was a thumbs down for me. The only thing I liked was my matcha rose latte. It had a faint rose flavor which I liked because sometimes, the rose could be overpowering and it’s like drinking perfume straight out of the bottle. However, the rose flavor was strong enough to mask the matcha taste. Even though the interior is nice, my experience was subpar here and it’s not a place where I would come back again.
5300 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90621
Go Get Em Tiger | Los Feliz, CA
I was at the Los Feliz area to check out Lonesome Town’s first exhibition, which you can read about here, and I saw that right across the street was Go Get Em Tiger. Remember the same friend who recommended me to go to PBJ.LA? She said I should visit Go Get Em Tiger and try their almond macadamia latte. I never heard of a latte that had macadamia so my curiosity perked up and led me to this cafe.
When I took the first sip of my almond macadamia latte, my face scrunched up. It was super sour and bitter. I was taken aback by the taste because I never tasted a coffee that sour. But as I drank it more, I got used to the taste. My tongue got used to the taste and the sourness subdued. Since it was my first time trying a macadamia latte, I couldn’t differentiate if the taste was almond or macadamia. Anyways, I was not a fan because it tasted weird and also it was expensive. Parking here is super hard to find unless you park in the Goodwill’s across the street but you have to pretend you’re going to shop there or the security will catch you. With the expensive price and parking, I won’t be coming back here again.
Go Get Em Tiger
4630 Hollywood Blvd
Los Feliz, CA 90027
Drug Works Cafe | Hawaiian Gardens, CA
I came here randomly just to work on my blog and wait on my friend who I was going to meet later. They offered a large variety of drinks such as organic coffee, latte, tea, smoothie, and they also had desserts such as waffles and macarons. I was going to order Cherry Blossom tea when Hawaiian latte caught my attention. I never heard of Hawaiian latte and the worker explained that it was almond, macadamia, and coconut latte. Even though I had a bad experience with Go Get Em Tiger’s almond and macadamia latte, I decided to give this latte a chance.
Welp… my mistake. It felt like I was just drinking syrup straight out of the mason jar. It was extremely sweet and it left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Also this latte just tasted like toffee. I couldn’t taste any of the three ingredients that the server explained to me about. They should’ve just named it Toffee Latte instead of Hawaiian… The service here was subpar. The girl looked annoyed when I asked what Hawaiian latte was. There’s a lot of tables to study on and the vibe here was quiet and peaceful with piano instrumental playing in the background. But nothing was special about this place so just a one time visit.
Drug Works Cafe
12567 E Carson St
Hawaiian Gardens, CA 90716