It was a bright sunny Saturday, and I was ready to help out as kitchen staff for the 3rd annual maid cafe held by UCLA’s Japanese Animation Club (JAC). This year’s theme was based on the popular mobile game called Neko Atsume (by the way, here’s some cute Neko Atsume latte art for your viewing pleasure), so the event was named “Meido” Atsume. It was the first year that the cafe was being held on the Hill, in the Vista Room at the Sunset Recreation Center. On my way up, I passed by the cute signs that were posted up to guide people to the cafe.
As I walked through the doorway of the Vista Room, I was met with greetings of “Irasshaimase,” which means “Welcome” in Japanese, from the maids and butlers. There were pictures of cats stuck on every wall, and the table centerpieces looked like they had come straight out of Neko Atsume.
Entry was $10, which allowed guests to order 5 food and drink items from the menu and enjoy being served and entertained by the maids and butlers. There was a maid dance performance every hour from the anime Love Live!, and the servers played board and card games with each guest.
Since I was part of the kitchen staff, I only left the kitchen occasionally to hand completed orders to the servers. Thus, I was mainly involved with the food-making process and can introduce some of the delicious food that we served. We were continuously cooking and baking the food as orders flowed in so everything was freshly made.
The only savory dishes that were served were ham and cheese sandwiches and curry rice. The curry rice consisted of a heart-shaped mound of rice, laid upon a bed of Japanese-style curry made up of onions, carrots, and potatoes cooked until soft in a thick and rich roux full of spices. This dish was the most popular order, and it was delectable and filling when eaten hot.
The other foods on the menu were scrumptious sweets, all baked from scratch with love. The cinnamon sugar banana muffins were moist and sprinkled generously with cinnamon sugar.
The Russian tea cakes were a popular dessert choice, and these delightfully crumbly melt-in-your-mouth cookies were rolled in powdered sugar and had an addicting nutty taste.
Similar to the Russian tea cakes, the pecan shortbread cookies were also rolled in powdered sugar but were more crunchy and buttery than the Russian tea cakes.
There were also buttery golden brown chocolate shortbread cookies, which were drizzled with chocolate syrup.
The lemon bars were temporarily switched to lemon crumble on the menu until we were able to bake a better batch of lemon bars. The lemon bars were sweet and tart with the light flavor of lemon in each bite and dusted with a layer of powdered sugar.
The strawberry shortcake cupcakes had just the right amount of sweetness and consisted of a vanilla cake base, topped with fresh whipped cream and a strawberry slice.
Overall, Meido Atsume was a very fun event to be a part of, and the food was delicious. Great job to JAC and everyone who helped out for all your hard work in making maid cafe a success!
If you would like to see more photos from the event, click here. If you are interested in other JAC events or anime and food, read this review of their 2015 Halloween Anime Dinner at FEAST and this article about food animation from Studio Ghibli films.