by Hien Nguyen
photography by Natalie Medrano
Creamy and refreshing purple yam acai bowls, bittersweet raw matcha cocoa cake and satisfyingly crispy Hong Kong-style egg waffles—these are just some of the unique and yummy dessert offerings found in La Verne that are far from your traditional vanilla cupcake and chocolate ice cream. After all, there’s always room for dessert—even the peculiar ones. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the classics. One can crave a customizable fro-yo cup at Granny’s Yogurt or freshly fried glazed donut holes from Miss Donuts from time-to-time, but for those with an adventurous tongue, these are top picks to get daring with your dessert decisions.
IV Juice Bar, 2320 Foothill Blvd., La Verne
Every now and then, you just might crave something that not only tastes good but equally feels good and guilt-free. IV Juice Bar, opened August 2021, is a new health-conscious cafe that offers acai bowls, wellness shots, pressed juices and smoothies. The acai bowl is a favorite for its ability to be customized. Base choices range from classic acai to pitaya, coconut to blue pineapple; a stand out flavor is ube–a purple yam from the Philippines. It has the most creamy, velvety custard-like base without all those calories. Regular customer Isabella Poblete from Rancho Cucamonga says ube is her go-to acai base flavor. “I’m Filipino, and ube always makes me think of the Philippines. I’ve never seen it offered in acai bowls before; its purple hue color and distinct taste are completely unique.” The bowls can be customized with a selection of fresh fruits and healthy foods like cacao nibs, sunflower seeds and chia pudding. Skip that restaurant entree as even the smallest size option, the $8 smoothie bowl, will be sure to fill you up.
Tho One Thai Eatery, 2300 Foothill Blvd., La Verne
Mango sticky rice is considered one of Thailand’s most beloved street foods. Nevertheless, this classic South East Asian dish isn’t so common in La Verne. Fortunately, Tho One Thai Eatery at the La Verne Towne Center features this dessert. The tropical dish of sticky rice—a staple starch in Thai cuisine—is cooked in coconut cream and topped off with perfectly ripe yellow mango. Its notes of light coconut-y fragrant rice and tender sweet fresh fruit are guaranteed to give a satisfying first and last bite.
Tea Leaf & Creamery, 2145 Foothill Blvd., La Verne
Find good luck when you bite into Red bean Taiyaki, a traditional Japanese pastry filled with red beans. Want more? Go for the Hong Kong-style egg waffles. The Tea Leaf & Creamery is a boba tea shop that has great pastries made to order—some that showcase traditional favorites as well as the best of Asian fusion. Taiyaki, a Japanese fish-shaped cake, is a fun-shaped dessert to try that comes in three flavor choices: classic red bean paste, custard and Nutella. Another freshly-made dessert, egg waffles, is no stranger to the hawker stalls in Hong Kong. You can enjoy these egg-shaped waffles by itself, but options are available for the waffle to be curled into a cone and filled with ice cream. Want a taste of both worlds? Try the Hong Kong pastry with a Puerto Rican twist—egg waffles filled with Piña Colada-inspired coconut pineapple ice cream.
Sweet Time Tea Shop, 2320 D St., La Verne
Craving something decadent and chocolatey yet slightly savory to cut through the richness? Sweet Time Tea Shop, a new extension of the Chinese restaurant Cafe Wang in Old Town La Verne, offers a raw matcha and chocolate cake. Served in a generous portion size, the cake slice packs a punch–with a bittersweet thick chocolate bottom layer, a pudding-like matcha green tea mousse to go on top, and whipped cream to balance out all the intricate flavors.
The Spot Dining Hall, University of La Verne
Seasonal over the top desserts come from the University’s very own main dining hall, managed by Bon Appetit Food Services. Craving soft serve ice cream, cookies, lemon bars and churros? Absolutely, but rather predictable. Every once in a while, Bon Appetit Food Services throws in a curveball with a wacky special surprise that forces you to take a second look to make sure you didn’t read the buffet label wrong. These are incredibly inventive and delicious if you have the courage to try them. Believe it or not, spam and pineapple custard cupcakes with cheddar whipped cream frosting are a looked-forward to dessert. Supervisor Sybelle Venegas created the original recipe for this fun dessert, calling it the “Pam Spineapple,” which was also featured on the Hulu show “Bakers Dozen.” Not associated with the University? You can eat here anytime you wish.