Situated in one corner of a large strip mall in Hacienda Heights, the Bleu House looks more like a shady club front than a café. Inside, it is a hodgepodge of (industrial) design elements.
The menu is no less indicative of one specific theme. Perusing through the options for ice cream-topped waffles and ramen burgers, the likely aim is to make an impression — if the tilted glass of water didn’t already give one.
Somewhat dark inside even on a bright, sunny day, the café is rather lounge-y, meant more for social reunions than serious work. A group of five Taiwanese ladies who lunch with a loud boy toddler in tow will be on your left, sharing small plates and gossip. There are duos here and there with either house chili fries or uni buns on the table.
The cafe-goers tend to be members of the YouTube generation, smartphones on hand, willing to document the latte art and ready to share through as many social media channels as possible. They can hardly be blamed when there might be a Totoro, or a Teddy bear, instead of hearts within hearts sketched onto the foam.
You end up partaking in the conviviality when you order one of the potted plant drinks (essentially your choice of milk tea, hazelnut-accented macchiato, or a smoothie topped with chocolate cookie crumbs). Even with all your mobile working tools at hand, it doesn’t feel quite like you’re working, not when the sizable vase — by order layered with milk, coffee, and chocolate cookie crumbs akin to Oreos — arrives at your table. (The barista will even stick one micro green stalk on top for effect, because of course.)
Ambiance: Somewhat quiet right before lunch. It starts to get busy and convivial just a little after noon.
Amenities: Password-protected wifi. About four outlets inside. Outdoor side patio space. Restrooms.
Drink/Food: Save for the hot teas, drinks are on the sweet side. You can swap cow milk for soy. A mix of mostly East Asian and American flavors come in savory and sweet form: curry chicken rice, honey chipotle chicken strips, and mochi matcha red bean waffles. Macarons in a small rainbow.