5:30PM 4/4/2023 & 3PM 4/11/2023
Now that it’s warming up, how about a cold treat. Last week I stopped by Tokyo Cream after a blood donation as a little reward (probably not the healthiest choice, but I’m still alive). This place is located at Taylor and East Roseville Parkway, right next door to the excellent Von’s Chicken. I knew that this would be a post that would need more than one visit. The menu has ice cream, cream-filled pastries, coffees and milk teas. I totally forgot to snap photos of the menu, but I recommend browsing through their ordering website or the hundreds of colorful photos on Yelp to get an idea of what they offer.
Inside is a bright black and white aesthetic with a splash of color in just one corner. The lighting is a very neat honeycomb design of bright LED bars. The overall vibe is just as bright, partly due to the upbeat Japanese pop music. On my first visit I thought I’ve check out the ice cream, which is like a soft serve in either a cone or cup. Even just looking at the ice cream I was a bit overwhelmed with choice. I wanted to try the black sesame swirl, the Purple Rain and other eye-catching creations. I ultimately settled on the Coffee ‘N Creme (Hokkaido milk softserve, espresso, cocoa powder and chocolate almond crush)[$6.50].
I was helped out by a friendly worker who gave me a quick rundown of some of their more popular options and rung me up. You also have the option of ordering via a kiosk near the front door. I had barely sat down and was admiring the reflection of the lights in my fisheye lens on the table when he called out my name and had my order ready. It had maybe been 3 minutes.
This was really nice. I had partly avoided the cone options because I hate messy foods and didn’t want to deal with dripping melting stickiness, but I’m not sure it would be a problem. The soft serve was suuuuuuuper cold, yet still very soft. I actually got a bit of a brain freeze towards the end. The little almond crush stick covered in chocolate was a nice little addition and the espresso went really nicely with the sweet ice cream. Not to spoil the rest of this post, but this was my favorite item by a good margin.
A week of procrastination later I’m back again, a couple hours earlier just after work. I knew I had to check out the Croquant Choux (Japanese crispy pastry topped with honey roasted cashews and filled with fresh vanilla cream)[$5.50]. To go with it I was split between the coffee and milk teas and had been thinking about it all day. Before arriving I thought I had settled on the very outrageous looking Cloud 9 (Cotton candy, milk, butterfly pea flower watermelon syrup, crema and boba)[$6.75], but once in the store it just seemed like too much and I asked the person taking my order his recommendation between that and the Creme Brûlée (Jasmine milk Tea, creme brulee, sugar and crema)[$6.75]. Almost without hesitation he answered Creme Brûlée, and that was that. I took a seat and once again my order was ready in less than five minutes.
The Choux reminded me a lot of Beard Papa’s cream puffs. The pastry itself is made in advance and then it’s injected with the vanilla cream. They differ a bit from there, with this once having a much crunchier texture. The almonds also lend a fair bit of flavor and crunch of their own. The vanilla creme was pretty mild. Ultimately this was good, but I prefer the Beard Papa puff, too bad they left the Galleria years ago.
For my milk tea I opted to add boba for $0.75. This was definitely on the sweet side, but not quite as sweet as a lot of milk teas I’ve tried before. It was smooth and flavorful. The boba was excellent, soft and chewy. A little surprise I encountered several sips in came in the form of an unexpected crunch. At first I thought I had somehow spilled some crumbs from my choux in it, but upon closer inspection there were bits of caramelized sugar at the bottom, like what you have to break through in a typical creme brûlée. Flavor-wise it was smooth and creamy, with hints of caramel. I certainly enjoyed this to the last sip, though I think I would try the Thai Tea next time. My favorite milk tea is a blend of Taro and Thai Tea, though they don’t seem to have Taro here.
Overall I think this is a neat little spot and I definitely will return to try more of the soft serve options, as well as the coffee. I think the prices are pretty good for what you get and the quality is great. Both visits had friendly and fast service.