85C Bakery Cafe

A couple of months ago, the famous Taiwanese bakery 85°C Bakery Cafe opened a location in San Diego! I’ve visited the Irvine location (the first store in the U.S.) several times in the past, and I was really excited to finally see a store here in SD.

85C Bakery Cafe

85°C is located near the intersection of Balboa Ave & Genessee Ave, in the Vons shopping center. There wasn’t much of a line during our first couple of visits, although I’ve read accounts of really long waits to get inside!

I wanted to get some pictures of the interior, but it was really crowded which didn’t make for good photos. I’ll just share some pics of my haul from my first 2 visits:

Egg Tart

Egg Tart

Coconut Custard Roll

Coconut Custard Roll

These are two of S and my go-to’s – the egg tarts from 85°C are better than all other ones I’ve had in various bakeries around San Diego (Paris Baguette, Pangea, 99 Ranch Market). The shells are flaky, and the center is a smooth and rich custard. S also really loves the coconut custard roll cake, simply because he’s a fan of vanilla and coconut.

Pork Sung Bun

Pork Sung Bun

Cheese Dog

Cheese Dog Bun

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[Baking] Ice Cream Bread

A few weeks ago, I had a kitchen disaster.

And yes, it was mostly my fault. You see, I had failed to close our freezer door properly after putting away groceries one evening, and did not notice until the next morning that pretty much everything had thawed. (In case you’re wondering, yes, my fridge does have an alarm, but it was too quiet for me to hear from upstairs.) My first thought after discovering this disaster was actually, “NOOOOOOOO – my ice cream!!

Yes, I was sad to find that my precious, precious ice cream all melted – luckily (?), I only had two containers, but the ice cream was pretty much melted and ruined. *Cries* As I gathered my thoughts and started inspecting the rest of the things in the freezer, something I had seen on Pinterest suddenly came to my mind: ice cream bread.

If you think about it, ice cream’s components – milk, cream, sugar, eggs – are all ingredients used to make quick bread, and someone figured out that if you add self-rising flour to it all, you can make bread out of it – the easiest bread recipe ever. So, I decided to try it out myself! I used the melted Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Fudge Core ice cream, added some flour, salt, and baking powder (DIY self-rising flour), and put it into the oven with a hopeful heart.

Ice Cream Bread

Ice Cream Bread

It worked!! The bread turned out nice and moist, with a hearty peanut butter and chocolate flavor. There was even the added bonus of mini peanut butter cups throughout the bread. I wish that the bread was a little “fluffier” – it was just a tad dense, and it could be due to a number of factors… possibly over-mixing, or the amount of flour that I used. I’ll be playing around with the recipe a bit (after all, I do have another container of melted ice cream… *Sobs*), but overall I’m really happy with how this ice cream bread turned out, especially given how easy it was!

So, while I sincerely wish that none of you ever suffer such a kitchen disaster like I did (well, it was more due to my carelessness), I do hope that you’ll try this ice cream bread anyway… even if it does mean that you’ll have to sacrifice some ice cream.

Ice Cream Bread

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[Baking] Nutella Banana Bread

Happy birthday, America!

I love Independence Day, not only because it gives me a (much-needed) short break in the middle of summer, but also because of BBQ parties, grilled steaks and burgers, and fireworks! I haven’t quite yet decided what I’ll be bringing to my friend’s party tomorrow, so today I’m sharing something that I made a couple of weeks ago!

I’m not a fan of bananas – something about the taste and texture is really gross to me – but I’m always up for banana bread and banana pudding. Weird, right? Banana bread is one of my favorite comfort foods, and recently I made a version with Nutella swirled right in!

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Honestly, if there’s anything that can make bananas better for me, it’s Nutella.

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The recipe is quite simple and turned out really nicely. The key is not to overmix the dough after adding the dry ingredients to the wet, or the bread may turn out too chewy – so, mix until the ingredients are just combined, and you don’t see the dry flour anymore.

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Paris Baguette

Paris Baguette is a Korean bakery chain with a couple of locations in San Diego: one inside H-Mart in Mira Mesa, and another inside Zion Marketplace in Kearny Mesa. PB has always had a decent selection of assorted pastries and breads, and I wanted to share some of the recent goodies that I’ve tried.

Coffee Cream Cronut

Coffee Cream Cronut

Last year, Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City created a pastry that went viral – the Cronut, a croissant-doughnut hybrid that contains a layer of pastry cream on the inside. I’m not too into “food trends”, mostly because 1) I don’t like waiting in line for food, and 2) I don’t like having to get up early just to get something before it gets sold out. Haha. I’m a bad food blogger, I guess. Anyway, bakeries were coming out with their own copycat cronuts, and Paris Baguette was one of them. I was finally able to snag one recently – they come in two flavors, orange cream and coffee cream. (I’ve also heard that they have other flavors as well, actually.)

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There was a layer of coffee-flavored pastry cream inside as well as on top. The croissant dough was light and fluffy, with a crispy exterior. I enjoyed it, but I still think I like croissants and doughnuts separately.

Chocolate Danish

Chocolate Danish

This is a relatively new pastry, at least as far as I’ve seen. Even though it says “danish,” I think it’s more like a chocolate croissant. The dough was flaky and buttery, with plenty of chocolate throughout.

Green Pea Bread

Green Pea Bread

When I first saw this pastry, I seriously thought that it was a typo on the label and that it was green tea bread. …

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[Irvine] Bon Epi Patisserie, 85C Bakery revisit

Every time I go to LA, I always have to make a pit stop in Irvine for bread from 85°C Bakery and Bon Epi Patisserie. Up until a few times ago, I didn’t even know that Bon Epi existed, but thanks to some awesome bloggers, it’s now a must-go for me. I really love the macarons there – some of the best that I’ve had, in fact.

I’ve posted on Bon Epi before, but I didn’t realize that there weren’t many photos of the place itself so I didn’t take any more… oops. Well, next time (since I’m sure there will be more visits in the future).

I had a purpose on this visit – to try the ham & cheese croissant, which is a favorite of the blogger Cathy from mmm-yoso.

Ham and Cheese Croissant

Ham and Cheese Croissant

I was really lucky that the ham and cheese croissant was still warm when I bought it. So of course, I ate it in the car, right away.

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I did not expect the cream cheese as the part of the “cheese” – but since I like the ham and cream cheese combo, I was very pleasantly surprised! The croissant was every bit as delicious as I had hoped, and I would definitely have gone back to the store to buy a few more of these to devour on the spot, if I didn’t exercise all my self-control.

Corn & Cheese Roll

Onion and Cheese Roll

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[Baking] Butternut Squash Bread

It’s been such a long time since my last recipe post! I’ve been doing a lot of recipe discovery lately, trying to fit in the winter/holiday theme. I don’t usually do much holiday prep, but trying to get into it a bit more this year.

Butternut squash is one of my favorite winter squashes. It has such a warm and hearty flavor, and it’s great in everything from soups to stir-fries to dessert! Recently, I came across a recipe for butternut squash quick-bread and knew immediately that I had to try it.

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The squash is first roasted with butter and brown sugar, then puréed and incorporated into a quick bread flour mixture with plenty of spices. I absolutely loved the taste. It was rich and moist, and I had originally thought to serve it with a dollop of cream cheese, but it turned out delicious on its own.

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[Irvine] 85C Bakery, Part Two

I’ve already posted once about my recent visits to 85°C Bakery in Irvine, one of my favorite Taiwanese bakeries (in the U.S.). I felt like I purchased way too much stuff to fit into one post, so I split it into two, haha. It’s actually taken S and me quite a while to finish all the breads – thankfully, nothing got moldy or stale. We usually refrigerate everything (sometimes, I put it in resealable bags) and toast the breads before eating them – there’s nothing like warm bread. Anyway, enough small talk; I’m going straight to the pastries.

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll; Coconut Custard Roll

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll; Coconut Custard Roll

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll

These were actually gifts for my friends; I’ve had both of these roll cakes before, and they’re both soft and fluffy sponge cakes with fresh cream rolled in the middle. I prefer the coconut custard roll, which has a pretty strong coconut flavor and is quite sweet (but is an awesome tea time snack), but my friend’s favorite is the green tea & red bean. I’ve never been a fan of red bean, but the green tea taste is really mellow and fragrant. I wish they made a roll that was just green tea, haha.

Coffee & Raisin Bread

Coffee & Raisin Bread

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[Irvine] 85C Bakery, Part One

As I mentioned, I’ve made a couple of trips to LA/Lake Arrowhead recently (and one more trip to come). I almost always try to stop by the Taiwanese bakery 85°C in Irvine on my way back from LA, because I love the pastries there. 85°C Bakery is a chain from Taiwan, but surprisingly the breads here are actually much better quality than in the same store in Taiwan. S thinks it’s because Taiwan is almost saturated with bakeries, and 85°C can’t really compare with the competition, but in the US, it’s easily one of the best.

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Located in the Diamond Jamboree plaza, it’s one of many Asian shops/restaurants in the area. The parking lot is usually quite crowded, but there is a parking garage in the back. If you go on the weekend, there’s usually a line out the door for 85°C. Luckily, during my visits, the lines weren’t too bad. You grab a tray and a pair of tongs and pick whatever you want from the display cases of breads. It was way too crowded for me to get a decent photo of the interior, so I’ll move on to the food… As you might tell from the post title, this is simply Part One. 

Savory breads:

Cheese Bun

Cheese Bun

Squid Ink (Calamari) Bread

Squid Ink (Calamari) Bread

Pork Floss Bread

Pork Floss Bread

These are the three of my favorite savory bread items. …

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