Saturday, June 6, 2015

Random Post: Restaurant Review - Cafe Hielo in San Diego, CA

Cafe Hielo (located at 8072 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111) is a brand new Korean dessert restaurant in San Diego. They were having an Instagram contest a few weeks ago and on a whim, I decided to enter. Well, guess what? I won! There were 3 prizes, and for some reason, I just assumed I would be able to pick one. NOPE. I got all. three. prizes. It was an insane bunch of winnings! After emailing in response to their Instagram post, the day I was supposed to come in to collect everything didn't work for us, so managing director Calvin and I decided on a day for me to come in and check the place out. Here's my review!
The signage outside.
Very cool cupboards in the back! The lights flashed through a series of colors and you all know I am a sucker for flashing anything.
All along the walls of the store are these quotes and informational lines of text. I really enjoyed seeing these versus blank walls. Red beans and condensed milk have me wondering how they taste. Apparently, it's a really popular topper combination in Korea, but the manager was telling us it's not so popular in the states.
More text about their business. Points for using the word "Satiny"!
There was also a really cool piece of artwork on the wall. I loved this thing.
More photos!
Another neat wall decoration!
There is also a huge TV right in the middle of the wall of the sitting portion of the restaurant. It was playing music videos the entire time we were there. Some of them were really fun!
Prize #1, a tumbler! Yes!!! This can be used for cold AND hot drinks and is BPA free. I have used this a lot at home. Gotta love drink tumblers.
Prize #2: honey bread with ice cream. This is a gigantic and thick piece of toast slathered in butter, fresh and toasted to perfection, topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and cinnamon. We had the option to have chocolate drizzle, but they put it on the plate, which was better. THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. And I CRAVE it. With vanilla ice cream on the side, this is really the perfect dessert. It's not too heavy, either. Nice and crispy, very, very tasty. I want more NOW PLEASE.
Prize #3: This is THE TOWER.Can you believe this thing? It serves 3-4 people. We were supposed to bring friends to come and enjoy this with us but everyone we asked was busy. Josh and I didn't even come close to finishing it. Sitting inside a hollowed out honeydew melon, its based is their shaved iced, topped with melon balls of honeydew and cantaloupe, cheese(cake) bits, chocolate sauce, condensed milk, mango pieces, and vanilla ice cream. What a melange!! The ice really was finely shaved, but I think it might have needed a bit more flavor. At first, they forgot to give us the condensed milk on the side, but when they did, it made it was better. The pieces of cheesecake bites were a fabulous addition. I am not a huge fan of mango, unfortunately, but these pieces were very fresh. Josh liked the honeydew parts, it was just waaaay too much for us.
Sitting inside the melon rind. I didn't even notice at first.
A closer look...
Melon for DAYS, yo.
The condensed milk came in a little dish on the side and was definitely needed. Since this was my first experience with Korean shaved ice, I would say this is good, but there was room for flavor improvement on top of the ice alone.
Here's some information about their Hielo Event. At the time, they were planning on launching the tower the week, we went, and as far as I was told, it should be available NOW! Look at the mango shaved ice on the tray liner! Everything visually looks so amazing from this place, it's going to be hard to stay away. They also have a strawberry shaved ice I am dying to try, since I prefer strawberries to mangoes.
2 weeks ago, we went back to try the honey bread again to see if anything had changed. I got the works, basically: honey bread, green tea ice cream this time, chocolate and caramel sauce, and cinnamon. I feel like the toast this time around could have been a little more crispy. There was a big chunk of unmelted butter right in the middle of the toast, which I thought was ice cream, but nay. Next time, I won't get this with chocolate sauce because it's too overpowering.
Josh got the exact same thing we received the first (winning) visit and loved it again. This is tried and true and I will stick with this next time as well.
Cafe Hielo's menu.
Overall, we had a good experience at Cafe Hielo and would definitely come back! Of course, since I won an Instagram contest, we received everything you see here for free (except for the 2 honey breads at the end of my post which we paid for upon a second visit), but all words, phrases and opinions are my own and I was not paid for my review. In fact, it was not even a requirement to write this review, but I wanted to help get the word out about this place so those in town may try it for themselves!


  1. This sounds really yummy! What a cool dessert experience! Congrats on winning!!!

    1. Another place for our SoCal list? Ever expanding as it is? ;)

  2. Bingsu! And yes, I would totally go for the red beans and condensed milk topping, trust me, it works! Oh oh oh the honey toast, that looks divine, it's really popular in Asia too!

    1. I will try the red beans and condensed milk next time we go! I am oh so curious! Mmmmm, now I am craving honey toast again!

  3. What an awesome win! :P
    That honey bread with ice cream looks INSANE!!! gimme!!

    1. Next time you come down this way and visit your kids, you should try this place! It's really good! :D

  4. Wow. I didnt know you have a blog. :) i saw you on instagram. Congrats for you.
    i love to read your review. ~^^
    how about we follow each other on gfc and google plus?


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