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Culture Restaurants

There’s A Hidden Speakeasy Inside The First Permanent US Hello Kitty Cafe

The cultural phenomenon that is Hello Kitty has opened a few popups in the United States over the last few years. These mini “cafe stands” served treats and beverages inspired by the animated feline and were beacons for fans to venture forth, visit, and get to know one another through a shared love of the iconic cat. Now, Hello Kitty is finally opening her own brick and mortar location complete with a secret immersive experience for enthusiasts to enjoy: a hidden Hello Kitty tea room and speakeasy.

Located in Irvine, CA, the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe front of house features fresh baked cakes, cookies, donuts, beverages, merchandise, and apparel — all inspired by the beloved Sanrio character.

In the back of the cafe, tucked away against the far wall, is an inconspicuous white door where a single golden bow hangs. When you knock on it, the door opens, transporting you to the wonderland known as the Hello Kitty Bow Room.

It turns out that magic comes in all shapes and sizes, including the form of a tiny white Japanese cat. Who knew?

By day, the secret space operates as a tea room that serves Hello Kitty bites and teas. Afternoon tea assortments include paprika-smoked egg salad in a cone, cucumber bread with dill cream cheese, smoked salmon served with cream cheese on a pretzel croissant, strawberries and cream, and Hello Kitty mini cakes.

At night, however, the Bow Room transforms into what’s essentially a speakeasy — complete with a wide array of cocktails inspired by Hello Kitty and her animated animal friends.

Along with the cocktails, guests can also choose from a selection of wines which are available during both the afternoon tea service and the cocktail service.

Once you’re inside the Bow Room, really take it all in and let yourself become one with the become one with the euphoric pink atmosphere. Dress to the nines, take tons of pictures, make Hello Kitty puns, and immerse yourself in the experience. How often can you really say you’ve been inside a secret Hello Kitty speakeasy?

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe (and Bow Room) will remain inside the Irvine Spectrum Center as a permanent location. To experience the Bow Room, reservations will need to be made ahead of time by calling the store or visiting the cafe’s website.

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Restaurants

This Karaoke Bar Created An Entire Sanrio Menu To Snack On While You Sing

Sanrio x Energy Bistro & Karaoke

Not too long ago, Sanrio did a collaboration with a Japanese restaurant chain Curry House. The restaurant crafted a special menu that featured popular Hello Kitty character Gudetama. You may recognize him as a butt-naked anthropomorphic egg that’s perpetually lazy.

Well it looks like Sanrio is going full speed ahead with their collaborations and has just begun another team-up. This time, the popular Japanese brand has partnered with California-based Energy Bistro & Karaoke for a collaboration featuring one of their newest characters: Aggretsuko.

The metal Aggretsuko Room

Aggretsuko is a red panda that works in an accounting office in Tokyo. Because she can be somewhat of a pushover, her superiors take advantage of her and pile on deadlines. Unbelievably stressed, she dons an afterwork persona of a heavy metal karaoke singer.

Sounds pretty intense.

The deluxe Hello Kitty Starry Room

In a two-year collaboration, the karaoke bar transformed five of their 15 rooms into Hello Kitty-themed hangouts.

The eggs-cellent Gudetama Room

Each room has a design unique to a popular character in the Japanese franchise.

Along with the change in decor, Energy Bistro & Karaoke also created an entire menu based on the popular characters with the help from their own Chef Cindy who conceptualized the menu herself.

Here’s what you can order:

The karaoke bar offers a bounty of Hello Kitty themed items for customers to order and snack on while they belt their favorite tunes. Unlike the Gudetama collaboration at Curry House, each item on this menu can be ordered a la carte rather than prix fixed.

Here are the three savory options patrons can choose from.

Hello Kitty Okonomiyaki Hot Dog with fried tofu.

Gudetama Last Waffle Sandwich with sweet potato cheese tots

As for dessert, guests can choose from either Hello Kitty-shaped waffles and ice cream, or baked ube and ice cream in the shape of the titular feline.

Hello Kitty & Mimmy Waffle & Ice Cream

If you happen to be near Hacienda Heights, CA, and are an avid fan of Hello Kitty, you definitely want to check this place out. Just make sure to grab a few friends to join you in this experience. While, you definitely don’t have to sing to try the menu, you won’t get the full experience unless you immerse yourself.

Wonder what their slow jams selection looks like?

Photos: Peter Pham
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Hit-Or-Miss News

Hello Kitty Takes Over Afters Ice Cream For An Especially Sweet Collaboration

Does anyone actually know if Hello Kitty or any of her Sanrio friends can speak or not? Well if they could, I’m sure that they would tell you how sweet their special Afters Ice Cream flavors are.

Beginning this Thursday July 29th, you can try out the sweet flavor collaboration between Hello Kitty and Afters Ice Cream. The partnership includes two delectable flavors: “Yummy Strawberry Cake” and “Mama’s Apple Pie.”

The collaboration is a full experience. Not only is Afters’ Irvine location all decked out in pink with cute Hello Kitty graphics, they have special cups and created a t-shirt and hat capsule merchandise in celebration.

While their Irvine, CA location is the only store absolutely pink by Hello Kitty, all of their locations will carry the flavors and merchandise. Get your sweet tooth fix quickly though, because these extra special flavors are only around until the end of August!

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Features Hit-Or-Miss News Restaurants Sweets

Cuteness Overload: Inside California’s First Hello Kitty Cafe

The very first Hello Kitty Café pop-up shipping container will make its debut this Friday at the Irvine Spectrum, located in Orange County, California. “We are the new Hello Kitty experience,” remarked co-owner Allan Tea. Families of all ages will be able to share desserts and beverages themed to our childhood mascot.

Opening weekend specials include a gift with purchase for the first 100 customers per day throughout the weekend. In addition, through August 15, 100 “sweet surprise tickets” will be hidden inside random pastry boxes sold at the café. Each ticket can be redeemed for a pastry and drink from the pop-up container.

hello-kitty-fruit-tart

Serving a unique menu compared to existing Hello Kitty Cafes around the world, it’s exclusive to Orange County and created using only high-quality ingredients. Here’s a complete lineup of the sweet offerings:

Birthday Cake – Vanilla bean cake, buttercream frosting and sprinkles

Strawberry Cake – Fresh strawberries, vanilla bean custard cake and buttercream frosting

Strawberry Custard Pastry Puff – Vanilla bean custard, strawberries and apricot glaze inside flaky puff pastry

Mama’s Apple Pie – Cinnamon and apples in a buttery pie crust

Chocolate Opera Cake – Sponge cake with chocolate ganache, coffee, and buttercream

Mixed Berry Tart – Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries over vanilla custard creme

Strawberry Streusel Tart – Fresh strawberries and toasted streudel in a buttery pie crust

Hello Kitty Pocket Pie – Your choice of strawberry or Nutella filling with royal icing

Sugar Cookie – Hello Kitty-shaped butter sugar cookie adorned with royal icing.

Focusing on the beverage menu, you’ll discover a variety of cool teas, hot drinks made with local favorite Portola Coffee, lemonade, craft apple soda, and the popular Hello Kitty bow-shaped water bottle. Our preferred sips include the passion fruit iced tea made with fresh fruit puree, as well as the fresh strawberry mint lemonade. Both are less sweet than you would expect, making them perfect to pair with desserts.

hello-kitty-birthday-cake

Pricing for food ranges from $4.75-$11. And while this is a sweets-driven menu, down the line they intend to incorporate more savory options. Expect holidays and character birthdays to be celebrated here. Besides their food and drink, Café branded shirts, mugs and pretty bows will be available for purchase.

Designed to be a traveling retail concept, the Hello Kitty Café shipping container will relocate to additional U.S. destinations after its year-long residency at Irvine Spectrum. We don’t mind, because they will open a permanent brick-and-mortar café behind the shipping container next year. Tentative operating hours for the pop-up are the following (but may change at any time — hence, the tentative):

Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

hello-kitty-sugar-cookie

And for those fans missing out, the mobile Hello Kitty truck plans to make an appearance at San Diego’s Comic-Con convention later this month. Prepare for cuteness overload.

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Products

You Can Now Make HELLO KITTY SPAM MUSUBI At Home With This Adorable Kit

Hello-Kitty-SPAM-Kit

A while back, we discovered that a hotel in Los Angeles served special Hello Kitty Musubi on its room service menu. While hardcore fans might’ve dropped everything to get their hands on the novelty dish, it’s no longer necessary. SPAM is now giving folks a chance to make the dish themselves.

The canned food brand is offering Hello Kitty SPAM Musubi kits for a limited time on their website. What was once only available at select events (Hello Kitty conventions), can now be purchased for $15 through SPAM’s online store.

SPAM Musubi is typically made with a slice of grilled SPAM on top of rice and wrapped in seaweed (nori). With the kit, you can add Hello Kitty’s iconic face, whiskers and bright red bow to your dish.

It kit should make for a great holiday gift, though you might want to get a jump before Christmas gets here.

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Restaurants

This Restaurant Serves HELLO KITTY Dim Sum

Hello-Kitty-Dim-Sum

Sure, Japan has tons of Hello Kitty inspired dining. However, Hong Kong will have the first official Hello Kitty Dim Sum joint. After tedious negotiations with parent company Sanrio, a Chinese restauranteur Man Kwong received permission to use the adorable cartoon cat’s likeness in his dim sum dishes.

Hello-Kitty-Dim-Sum-2

Each dish had to be approved by Sanrio before even being considered for the menu. It took an entire year of back-and-forth between the restaurant and the executives approving all 37 menu items.

The dim sum dishes include adorable white, pink and black dumplings, steamed meats shaped like the iconic feline and many other Sanrio-themed dishes.

The restaurant is set to open its doors in Hong Kong on June 1.

Photo: Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine

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Hit-Or-Miss

Adorable Hardboiled Egg Art Shaped Like Hello Kitty, Pandas, Baby Seals

egg-art-1

We’re not saying the Japanese are a million times better than us at packing lunches. But it’s hard to argue the facts.

Take their hardboiled egg game for instance. Instead of tossing the white rubbery bulbs in plastic bags with a smidgeon of salt, the bento-loving Japanese soak them in food coloring and carve them to look like Pikachu. Or cover them with bits of seaweed to create mini oval pandas. Did we mention the upside down baby seal? Ugh, we die.

In case you don’t have enough time for DIY egg art though, you could always just buy these sumo egg cup legs. Or head over to Rocket News to appreciate more amazing eggs from people who do.

egg-art-5 egg-art-4 egg-art-3 egg-art-2

Categories
Cravings

Hello Kitty Musubis are so Totally Kawaii

hello-kitty-spam-musubi-roy-choi

Even though Hello Kitty is officially no longer a cat, we can confirm that she is indeed now a musubi.

This totally kawaii snack is the result of a collaboration between acclaimed chef, Roy Choi, and Spam. Almost too adorable to eat, the Hello Kitty Musubi will be available on the room service menu at the Line Hotel in Los Angeles, which also happens to be the official hotel of Hello Kitty Con. Yes, it’s a thing.

This isn’t the first time everyone’s favorite cat, er, cartoon character, has been immortalized in edible form. Other Hello Kitty culinary creations include fried tofu, donuts, steamed buns, and booze.

H/T + PicThx Eater