Sugar Highs And Caffeine Kicks At A Quirky Café

On any given Saturday night, college kids with a sweet tooth flock to Kafein, where the staff serves multi-flavored lattes and shakes amidst a mish mash of squishy couches, rickety chairs, and dusty old books. The cozy place is often packed with students starting a late night sugar high, going through outdated Trivial Pursuit cards or doodling on napkins for the art collection in Kafein's desks-turned-tables.

In a nutshell, the cafe is trendy, crowded, somewhat expensive, but worth it. Granted, during the daytime the place is quiet enough to get some reading done, but at night the patrons are usually rowdy, matching the rock/techno/pop/rap mixtape over the speakers.

Whoever wrote the menu, however, had a sense of humor, snarking about pot brownies (we wish) and rude customers. House specialties include "The Kafeinator," a monstrosity of ice cream, biscotti, cookies, butterfingers, caramel, and whipped cream, meant to serve four. One drink, featuring soymilk and mint, is disturbingly named "Soylent Green."

The specialty here is caffeine with a hint of sass; alongside standard coffees and flavors, there's the aztec mocha, mixing Mexican hot chocolate and spices with espresso, as well as a Funky Monkey latte, which has bananas and caramel.

At night, though, most customers choose from some 20 shakes and smoothies — the Cinnamon Saigon shake of concentrated Snickerdoodle joy, or the Ladybug with raspberry, oreos, and mint. Adventurous pairs can also order apple pie shakes, with a whole slice of apple pie mixed in with ice cream, or a cheesecake shake. Even in the dead of winter, it's hard to go wrong with these diabetes-causing shakes, served in soda fountain glasses and finished off with whipped cream.