Sugar Rush: Honey Toast at Up 2 You Café in San Diego, CA


[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Kearny Mesa has an abundance of Asian eateries, from all-you-can eat Korean BBQ to banh mi, and while 100+ item menus aren't unusual, it's slim pickings for dessert. Up 2 You Café flips the script of most places in the area, focusing on sugary snacks and coffee drinks so sweet they'll make your teeth tingle.

For dessert, there are four main options: Japanese crepes, Belgian waffles, snow ice, or honey toast—all of which you can dress up with fresh fruit, various sauces, or a scoop of ice cream. I haven't worked my way through all of the items, mostly because I'm so smitten with the honey toast ($3.75 + toppings).

Objectively, it's a very simple dessert, and that's exactly the point. Sweet and soft Japanese-style white bread is scored, toasted, and brushed with butter and honey. The areas of bread that are directly exposed to the heat of the toaster oven crisp up and take on a flaky texture like a fine coating of spun sugar, while the inside of the fat slice stays moist. The honey that's drizzled on top soaks partway into the bread, while the rest remains on top, like a warm ribbon of sugar.

It's tasty plain, but you can also dress it up with fruit, sauce, and ice cream. The strawberries look pretty in the picture, but ended up being superfluous. I'd stick with one of the sauces (Nutella, plain or pandan custard, peanut butter, strawberry jam, or condensed milk).

You get a knife and fork with the honey toast, but the best munching method is to pull off a cube, dip it in the whipped cream, pop it in your mouth, and chase it with a sip of iced Vietnamese coffee.

Up 2 You Café

7770 Vickers St, San Diego, CA 92111 (map); 619-663-6388; Facebook page