I have slowly been compiling lists of cafes and restaurant I want to try when I travel and then low key stalking their Instagram accounts while I work out at the gym. It may be a bit masochistic, but it motivates me to work out with the promise that at some point I will get to pork out on some seriously delicious food.
On my most recent trip back to LA, I got to check Cafe 86 off my list. This cafe specializes in drinks and desserts made with ube, which is a type of purple yam similar to taro or sweet potato. I had never tasted ube before, but their vibrant purple colored desserts on Instagram were more than enough to entice me into paying them a visit.
I decided to check out their Pasadena location, which has this really laid-back urban vibe to it. Low hanging bulb lights, leather couches, unfinished brick work on the walls and a large chalkboard menu add to it’s casual inviting coffee shop look. It’s simple, but comfortable. It’s a great spot to sit down for a bit and hang out or get some work done.
On to the menu. I think its important to note that certain desserts are only available on certain days. I didn’t know this going in, so I was really disappointed when I went in looking to get my paws on one of their famous Ube Leche Flan Cupcakes and found that they are only available on Wednesdays and weekends. Fortunately, they did have some Ube Crack Cheesecakes (available Mondays & Thursdays) and Thai Tea Brownies, so it wasn’t a bad trade off.
The cheesecake wasn’t New York style, but it was still rich, sweet and completely delicious in its own right. I ate most of it, since it was a bit too sweet for my boyfriend but also because I couldn’t get enough. It’s terribly addicting. The thai tea brownie was perfectly moist, rich, and chocolatey, but I couldn’t really tastes the thai tea in it. The vibrant orange swirls were there, but the flavor just wasn’t. I’d say it’s great for chocolate lovers, a bit of a let down for tea fanatics.
As for the drinks, I had to try their signature Ube Milkshake. The vibrant purple drink was practically calling my name and it was wonderful! It was thick, not overly sweet and the oreo cookie crumbles gave it this extra bit of umph that perfected the whole taste. I also got to try The Mermaid, which is a Jasmine green milk tea with sea salt. It wasn’t as pretty as the Ube Milkshake, but definitely just as delicious… and much lighter.
Since I have no self control, I ended up dragging my boyfriend back the next day so I could try their Ube Leche Flan Cupcake. It was a masterpiece. The cupcake was moist, not too sweet and extremely dense. The flan was absolute perfection, from the creamy texture down to the caramel sauce. Together they taste fantastic, but I didn’t really like the cupcake on its own because it was just too heavy. I’m more of a fluffy cupcake kind of girl.
Overall, I really enjoyed this cafe. The atmosphere was relaxing, the drinks and deserts were beautiful and delicious, plus the service was great! I had a million questions about the drinks and the guy on staff was really nice about it, gave me his recommendations and even let me choose the perfect dessert for my pictures. It was a great experience and I will definitely be returning on my next visit to California.
- 10:00am~8:00pm, Monday~Thursday
- 10:00am~10:00pm, Friday
- 11:00am~10:00pm, Saturday
- 11:00am~7:00pm, Sunday
- 36 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105