Restaurant Review: After finally experiencing After’s, I’m not sure if I will go back

Cat Yong/HIGHLANDER After's has spark a stir of excitement in the UV with whispers of their signature Milky Bun being heard from all around.
Cat Yong/HIGHLANDER
After’s has sparked an innovative-dessert frenzy in the UV with whispers of their signature Milky Bun being heard all around.
Name: After’s Ice Cream
Rating: 3.5/5
Location: 1201 University Ave

Riverside, CA 92507

Price Range: $
Hours: Mon – Sun: 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Category: Desserts, Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt
Credit/Debit Card: Yes
Takeout: Yes
Delivery: No
Other amenities: Bike Parking, Validated Parking, Outdoor Seating, TV, Beer and Wine, Accepts Apple Pay

 

If I knew with confidence that my opinions were shared on behalf of the entire UCR student body, I would say that the addition of an After’s Ice Cream store at the University Village shopping center was extremely exciting. Especially for someone like me who had never experienced the taste of the SoCal-based franchise’s famous Milky Bun — which consists of an original or glazed donut stuffed with ice cream and can be seen from nearly every crevice of Instagram wherever “food porn” may be viewable — the newest college-targeted dessert joint at the UV not only became the center of my appetite but the object of my intrigue.

When I first caught a glance of the interior of the store, I thought that it was still pretty barren considering the lack of furniture as well as the right side of the wall still being exposed without wall paper and instead revealing the bare, grey stone wall. It would have been nice for there to have been some indoor tables and couches so that customers, a vast majority of whom looked to be college students looking for fun places to eat and hang out in the UV, could easily find a place to enjoy their indulgences and relax in the midst of their busy schedules.

However, I figured it was understandable that the renovations are still yet to be completed considering the Riverside chain just opened in December 2016 and there didn’t seem to be too much space for furnishings in the first place.

Instead, a majority of the store’s interior was dedicated to a designated area for the line, which, not to mention, was confusing to navigate through given there were two separate areas for customers to browse through the unique selection of ice cream within, as well as as a separate line for the cashier. Just as it was for me, it could be difficult for customers to determine which side of the counter to order from — either at one of the two ice cream displays or the cashier box.

Thankfully, however, the clearly instructed menu board hung up on the wall behind the cashier box made the entire ordering process much easier, as opposed to if the customers were expected to know how exactly to order a Milky Bun. It directed customers to first choose an or various ice cream flavor(s), followed by their choice of either a Milky Bun, cup or cone. Given there were really only these three options of the “mode” of the dessert, the decision-making process was made much more effortless since it was already difficult choosing only one or a few of the never-before-heard-of, exclusively-found-at-After’s ice cream flavors. Plus, people mainly only go to After’s for the Milky Bun anyway, so the lack of a wide selection of dessert options only served in the customer’s favor.

On top of all of this, the staff members were extremely helpful and friendly and not only took the time to assist me but a few members of the Highlander’s video and photographer department as well in telling us where the lines started and how the whole ordering process went. Best of all, they willingly asked us if we would like to sample any flavors without us asking if we could try something out, certainly helping to break the ice with between staff and anxious or indecisive customers. One of the cashiers, Stacy Eang, a second-year electrical engineering major at UCR, even told me that she was OK with handing out samples of every ice cream flavor to customers. She claimed that it’s even a motto of the company’s to “encourage people to sample due to the fact that we want customers to like what they buy.”

“… the Milky Buns were remarkably more filling than we expected them to be and all four of us could not completely finish a single one of the four treats.”

I was tempted to take up her suggestion and try all of the flavors, given that there were so many that sounded and looked fascinating, with milk and cereal, almond cookie and acai blueberry being only a few of the memorable flavors. In the end, I decided to go with a Milky Bun with cookie monster ice cream, which is essentially a blue cookies n’ cream ice cream flavor that I pretty much see all over Instagram and cannot be found anywhere else but at After’s, along with another Milky Bun with Jasmine milk tea, an ice cream flavor which was purple. I paired the cookie monster Milky Bun with their After’s flakes, which are pretty much their rendition of sweet corn flakes, and the Jasmine milk tea bun with Fruity Pebbles. Other topping flavors they had were Cookie Crisp (obviously they understand that us millennials and college students have a sweet tooth for cereal), sprinkles, mochi bits, gummy worms and plenty more candy and cereal topping options.

My friend, Kaylla Baek, a third-year business major (who hosted our restaurant review video for After’s) ordered a scoop each of the strawberry cookie crunch and almond cookie with no toppings, just to assess the flavor of the ice cream alone, as well as an almond cookie Milky Bun with mochi topping. The Milky Buns, which automatically come with one choice of toppings, were $5 each and the two scoops of ice cream was also $5.

One scoop prices at $3.50, two at $5 and three at $6.
One scoop prices at $3.50, two at $5 and three at $6.

Although all of the flavors delivered a naturally sweet and flavorful taste similar to the higher quality brands of ice cream, all of us agreed that the Milky Buns were remarkably more filling than we expected them to be and all four of us could not completely finish a single one of the four treats, including the cup of two scoops of ice cream. Although it was the most anticipated flavor of the night, the cookie monster ice cream was not my favorite, as it too closely resembled typical, cookies n’ cream ice cream, but was rather the jasmine milk tea, which had a touch of creaminess that blended exquisitely with the soothing freshness of the jasmine tea leaves.

In the end, there didn’t come a profound, particularly special and intangible taste that came with the Milky Bun or After’s ice cream as some class food products, such as McDonald’s french fries and even Coca Cola, seem to contain. Instead, it just tasted like a fresh donut with interesting flavors of ice cream stuffed inside it that really filled up the belly within the first three or four bites.

Considering this, it probably wouldn’t commonly be viewed as something that people would particularly crave for, but it is a place that UCR students and surrounding community members should try just for the sake of experiencing the notorious Milky Bun. This holds especially true since the area surrounding UCR is pretty tame in its dessert food scene, with there not being many spots to satisfy the sweet tooth besides Sweet Daily and Slickables and even fewer places that specialize in ice cream. Therefore, I’d like to think that students should try After’s at least once in their college experience while the opportunity holds so close to home, but whether or not if they decide to go back “After” is completely up to their discretion.

3.5/5

Haven’t gotten to try After’s yet or are you already looking forward to going back? There is a special deal happening on their official grand opening date, which is Saturday, Jan. 28, in which the first 50 customers after 8 p.m. will receive a free special prize!

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