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Hello Kitty Cafe Opening In The Heart Of Las Vegas Strip

First look at the Keroppi Doughnuts that will be sold at the Hello Kitty Cafe in Las Vegas/Photo used with permission from Andy Nguyen

Quotes used in this article we’re transcribed from Andy Nguyen’s recent appearance on the Foodbeast Katchup Podcast.

There have been whispers about a Hello Kitty Cafe opening in Las Vegas, and we have received official confirmation that the rumors are true, and the restaurant will be opening this summer, July 12.

Photo used with permission from Andy Nguyen

While on the Foodbeast Katchup Podcast, restaurateur Andy Nguyen revealed that he was behind the project, and officially announced that the popular Japanese cartoon-inspired cafe would open its doors at MGM’s The Park Vegas, which is littered with several popular restaurants such as Shake Shack, Bruxie Original Fried Chicken, and even Best Friend by Roy Choi.

“I’m bringing Hello Kitty Cafe to the strip,” Nguyen said. “I think Sanrio recognizes who our group is as a people, and they know what we’ve done in the past. They’re going to let us apply that element… like our street element. It’s not going to be the same.” 


Nguyen added that the cafe is inside what he described as, sort of a giant pink shipping container – one that has already been spotted by curious tourists.

 

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Giving a sneak peek of what will be in the cafe, Nguyen hinted at pistachio-filled Keroppi donuts, character-inspired croissants, and quality merch — which is a given if you’ve followed Nguyen’s streetwear background.

Co-Owner Andy Nguyen gives a sneak peek of the doughnuts and croissants that will be served at the Hello Kitty Cafe/Photo used with permission from Andy Nguyen

We’ll keep you updated, as official menu items and photos are released within the next few weeks.

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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 What's New

Curry House And Sanrio Just Created An Exclusive Gudetama Menu

Photo: Sanrio

Fans of Sanrio’s popular Gudetama, prepare your palates and your camera phones.

In a special collaboration with Curry House, the lazy cartoon egg will be the star of an exclusive menu created by the restaurant chain. It’s pretty darn adorable, too.

Patrons of Curry House will be able to enjoy a special multi-course tasting menu for $29. The Gudetama-inspired dinner features keema curry (with rice, salad, corn soup), custard pudding, and a beverage. Guests will also receive a limited edition Gudetama x Curry House beanie for attending the tasting.

Photo: Sanrio

Select menu items will also feature Gudetama’s likeness, including his face looking at you from a bright yellow yolk.

Mark your calendars, as the Gudetama x Curry House collaboration will begin on Oct. 20, 2017 and run through Jan. 20, 2018. This leaves plenty of time to get your lazy egg fix before it comes to a close.

Gudetama’s menu will be available at all nine Curry House locations throughout California.

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#foodbeast Culture Features FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Opinion Restaurants

From Music To Meals: Plan Check’s Owner Is A Success Story Of Transitioning Into The Restaurant Industry

The following interview has been edited for length and cohesion

It isn’t out of place to see music industry veterans crossing over into the food service industry, investing in already well-established fast food chains.  Many of us are quite familiar with musicians like Rick Ross and Chris Brown owning a couple Wingstop and Burger King franchises.  But it isn’t often you see someone in the music industry opening and overwhelmingly succeeding at being a restaurateur with their own concept.

Enter Terry Heller: the renowned hip-hop music video director who has gone from working with the likes of Eazy-E, Bone Thugs & Harmony, and Lil Wayne, to serving up some of the best casual gourmet food at his Los Angeles restaurant chain, Plan Check.  

I had a chance to chat with Terry about music and food; two things he and I are both passionate about.  We spoke at length about his transition into the food industry, Plan Check’s unique innovations, and which rapper he would love to work with on his next food collaboration.  It was 11am, a Friday morning..  I was sitting by my dining room table at home, ready to listen intently at every word he said.  After initial introductions, Heller was quick to ask about the tone of our interview, briefly concerned after  a quick scroll through Foodbeast’s recent headlines brought him to a particular article, “Watching This Clam Dig Through Sand Is Quite Disturbing.”  He just wanted to make sure that he would be taken seriously.

I laughed, diffusing any tension built up from both Heller’s concerns and my own apprehension from interviewing someone as accomplished as him, and reassured that this wasn’t going to be some fluff piece.  I could have geeked out about hip-hop and fried chicken with the man for hours on end, but I knew he was busy, and I had a gym session to destroy.  

Curious to learn how one of my favorite casual neighborhood restaurants in Los Angeles came to be, I asked Heller about Plan Check’s origins and his vision into creating the restaurant.  

My fascination with food and restaurants started at an early age… and starting Plan Check was a long time coming.  Plan Check comes from my fascination with architecture, I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid, and because the restaurant’s first location was adjacent to the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department headquarters; so the concept just made a lot of sense.

Going from being a prolific storyteller in hip-hop, to a distinguished restaurateur, Terry wanted to get behind something super familiar without sacrificing a single slice of authenticity.  Switching industries isn’t easy for most people, but for him, it was almost seamless.

Was it a difficult transition to go from hip-hop to restaurants? And did you do anything notably different?

No, it wasn’t particularly difficult for me.  It was both the same: I had a vision, I didn’t give a fuck, I went for what I wanted.  I stayed true to myself, I wanted to be authentic, and really just keep telling stories.  Nothing has changed.

In an industry that continues to push boundaries of taste and concepts, with many well-known celebrities trying to make their mark in the food industry, it can become increasingly difficult to stand out.  Having a marquee name behind the restaurant just doesn’t cut it anymore, and customers expect more from the places they eat.  As a result, there have been quite a few music industry veterans that never quite cut it in the food scene by just banking on their name alone.  Britney Spears’ NYLA restaurant closed within a year, and rapper Flava-Flav, and producers Doug-E-Fresh and Jermaine Dupri’s respective spots didn’t last long either.  

To you, what is it that really makes Plan Check stand out the way it does?

People just connect with the food.  Simple as that.

It was a simple answer, but it makes perfect sense.  They make delicious food without the fluff.  The truths in their authenticity translate to packed houses at each of their four LA locations every weekend.  Their ingenuity has caught worldwide attention, especially with the development of Ketchup Leather.  

How did the Ketchup Leather concept come about?  What was your involvement in the process?  

Well I’m not a chef so I didn’t do any of the cooking,but I was there in the kitchen everyday, hands-on with the whole process.  I knew what I wanted out of the concept, and I wanted to create a tight framework for the restaurant.  But overall, I wanted to create something delicious,something I wanted to eat.  

If you’re not familiar, Ketchup Leather is Plan Check’s housemade ketchup dehydrated by baking it for four hours, creating a leathery consistency that eliminates the problem of having soggy burger buns before your order even gets to your table.  Not only is this an innovative achievement, but is also an unexpected way to have a familiar taste.  

Pioneering new ways to enjoy the ketchup in your burger isn’t the only way Terry and Plan Check are killing the game right now.  Over the last five years, the restaurant has collaborated with other entities like Stussy, Sanrio, and most recently, Linkin Park, to create special pre-fixe menus that get your mouth watering.  

You just dropped a dope limited time meal pack menu with fellow musicians and foodies, Linkin Park, celebrating their latest album release.  How did that conversation start, and how long did it take to create that menu?

This collaborative effort with the band took a while.  Mike (Shinoda) and I were heavily involved in the process.  The three-course menu we developed was inspired by the band’s diversity and love for food.  I was there to taste everything, and was involved in every aspect.  Logo, t-shirts, the experience you’d get at the restaurant, we worked on the price, marketing, everything.

Is this a sign that more food collabs with other musicians are on the way?

You know what, I don’t know yet.  This last one took a while to create and we just launched it.  We’ll see, but yeah, I’d like to.  

Then who is one musician you’d really like to collaborate with on the next menu?

Wow, you know, there are so many musicians that I’d enjoy working with, but definitely Kanye.  I’m a big fan.  I met him briefly on set of his Slow Jams video back in the day and the way he directed his vision… I knew that he would be huge.  His energy, and his drive, I feel like he would really push you to create something great.  

As a fan of Kanye and his music, I would absolutely welcome that collaboration.  Who knows what kind of impact he could have on the food industry.  If this collab menu were to ever happen, one thing is for sure, expect a packed house and lines out the door because everything Ye touches turns into solid gold.  

But that’s something both Terry Heller and Kanye West have in common: People keep buying into their vision.  Kanye makes visual and sonic masterpieces, and Terry masterminds mouthwatering food.  They get people asking for and wanting more.  

What do you think it is about your restaurant that really translates to people and gets them coming back?

Well the food is amazing, there’s that — but I get these emails sent to me everyday about our latest Yelp reviews, and  it makes me happy to get good reviews, but I really focus on the bad reviews because I want to genuinely make the experience better.  II don’t care about the restaurant being cool, I want to make it right.  I want to have a welcoming environment.  I care that you had a good time.  And if you didn’t, I want to know why because I want to fix it to prevent it from happening in the future to you or other customers.  Our business model is “to have a mutual respect.”  We’re not out here trying to be pretentious.  I think we have a great team at every location, and we just want to deliver great food and great service.  

For the years that Plan Check has been around, I’ve remained a fan because of everything they’ve stood for.  Like Terry said, they don’t care about looking or trying to be cool.  They just want to be the best restaurant for the people as they can be.  I recalled celebrating my birthday at their Wilshire location one year and told him how pleased I was when his staff did everything they could to hold me down on a section of the restaurant even when my friends showed up later than I told them to (Filipino time, am I right?).  Not only did they deliver on the service, but they also did not disappoint on the food.  

Can we talk about the fried chicken for a second…because hands down, that’s my favorite item on the menu.  Top 10, probably top 5 fried chicken dishes I’ve ever had.

(Laughs) Yeah, we tried to use a high quality bird — the Jidori chicken.  We prefer to use the thigh because it’s much juicier and retains the flavor.  

Like visual storytelling through music, finding the recipe to success in LA’s cutthroat, fickle restaurant scene is difficult to do.  There’s a lot of planning, research and trials involved, but most of all, it takes a vision and dedication.  With Plan Check, Terry Heller has found a recipe that works: a perfect union of gourmet food without gimmicks, a warm, intimate ambiance, and a welcoming, attentive staff.  The dedication to promoting a culture that respects its guests and providing a vibe that people can rock with is one of the many redeeming qualities Plan Check has to offer.  

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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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Cravings

Hello Kitty Gets Turned Into Fried Tofu Stuffed with Rice

hello-kitty-inarizushi

We can always count on Hello Kitty to be an adorable culinary inspiration, from pancake makers to pumpkin donuts. The Sanrio character turns the big 4-0 next year; so in premature celebration, HK has been turned into a favorite Japanese snack — inarizushi.

Inarizushi is typically a thin outer layer of fried tofu with peaked corners and stuffed with rice. The dish naturally resembles Hello Kitty’s face shape, so the Tokyo-based company Sazae Shokuhin is adding Hello Kitty-esque features (bow included) to their inarizushi.

Unfortunately, it’s only available at Sazae Shops in northern Japan. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area, we highly suggest getting your hands on these adorable treats.

H/T + Picthx Rocket News 24

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Hit-Or-Miss

Sanrio Schwasted: Hello Kitty Beer Comes in Peach and Banana Flavors

sanrio-schwasted

As if Hello Kitty didn’t have enough products bearing her cute feline face, the popular Sanrio cat now has her own beer. Bad news: it’s being sold exclusively in China.

Brewed up by Taiwanese beer maker Long Chuan, this Hello Kitty Beer is as fruity as the cans are colorful. The new Sanrio brew comes in several flavors, including Lemon Lime, Peach, Banana and Passion Fruit.

As funky as it sounds, these beers are on the sweeter side, containing a mere 2.3% alcohol per can. So, it’ll probably take you more than a couple to get a buzz going.

Strangely enough, this isn’t the first time Miss Kitty has landed on a beer label, as Beck’s slapped the cat’s face on their own bottles a few years back.

H/T + PicThx Kotaku

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Fast Food

Hello Kitty Steamed Buns are a Real Thing at this Japanese Convenience Store

Hello Kitty is one of the busiest felines in the food business. In recent memory, we’ve seen Hello Kitty impersonate a pancake maker, an ice cream maker, an ice cream parfait, Nutella and even take shape as an entire restaurant. Today, we introduce Hello Kitty as a steamed bun.

The new product makes is being introduced in Japanese convenience store Circle K Sunkus (owned by the same folks who also own the Circle K brand in America). The meat-filled Hello Kitty steamed bun will be available starting October 16th, apparently followed by another HEllo Kitty themed bun that is being described as a “completely different look and flavor” on November 6th.

According to sources, the convenience store chain has already successfully promoted themed steamed buns in the past. Earlier this January, the chain supposedly sold out of 400,000 custard flavored Hello Kitty steamed buns in just under a week.

[via RocketNews24]