May 062014
 

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. Continue reading »

Apr 232014
 

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

Continue reading »

Apr 152014
 

When I was in Encinitas for some errands a few weeks ago, I decided to check out a highly-rated bakery nearby, VG Donut & Bakery.

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At first, I thought that the name stood for something like “Vegan/Gluten-Free”, but it turns out that it’s actually for “Very Good”, haha.

The place was quite busy, but the line moved pretty quickly.

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Bread

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Pastries

Cookies

Cookies

They had all the classic cookie flavors, and in gluten-free variety too.

Continue reading »

Jan 022014
 

Since I’m currently in Taiwan and will be here for another week or so, the posting schedule will be a bit messed up… apologies in advance! I’ll be writing about my travels soon after I get back to the U.S., though!

Anyway, I have a couple more things to share from my past L.A. trips. I wrote about Sushi Go 55 and Beard Papa’s Cafe in downtown LA’s Japan Center – well, before we left the area, my friend recommended that we hit up a popular bakery, Cafe Dulce. 

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We were quite full from all our of food adventures that day, but I wanted to bring some snacks home. The shop sells sandwiches in addition to baked goods and coffee – their coffee is supposedly quite famous, but I don’t drink much coffee anyway…

Cakes

Cakes

Breads on display

Breads

Desserts

Desserts

Continue reading »

Nov 202013
 

Sorry to keep flooding you with posts from my L.A. trip, but I haven’t eaten out much in San Diego since we spent so much money and time eating out in L.A. instead. Haha. I’ll consider this my guide for L.A. for now. Also, I’m going to combine some of the posts since we visited quite a few cafés and dessert shops during our short time there (another reason we’re trying to eat out less… har har).

Anyway, we stumbled upon Beard Papa’s in Little Tokyo Shopping Center by accident. Our destination was a sushi restaurant for lunch, and Beard Papa’s happened to be at the entrance of the same shopping center in Little Tokyo. Normally when S and I visit L.A., we eat in the San Gabriel Valley area (for Taiwanese and/or Cantonese food), so this was my first time in Little Tokyo. I actually really liked the large shopping center, which reminded me a bit of Asian department stores – a food court floor, arcade, grocery store, boutiques… Should have taken some photos. Oops. I was too busy window shopping with my friends.

My friend saw the Beard Papa’s and got super excited. Haha. It’s a Japanese franchise that specializes in selling cream puffs – soft and puffy choux pastry filled with pastry cream. I’ve made my own version at home, but Beard Papa’s makes some of the best cream puffs I’ve had. (Keep in mind, I haven’t been to France. Haha.)

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Filling the choux pastry with fresh pastry cream

You order the type of cream puff you want (see next pic for the menu), then it gets filled – this way, the choux pastry stays crisp instead of getting soggy from the cream.

Beard Papa's Menu

Beard Papa’s Menu

I was really tempted to get multiple puffs, but they don’t taste good if they’re not fresh, so I just ordered a regular vanilla cream puff for S, and one vanilla E’clair for myself. The E’clair is just the cream puff dipped in chocolate.

P1030857-3 Continue reading »

Aug 162013
 

Whew, it’s been quite a while since my last baking post! Haha. I guess I’ve been sort of lazy about baking, but a couple of weekends ago, S and I hosted board game night at our apartment (couldn’t you tell that we’re nerds? Haha), and I thought that maybe it was finally time to bust out the baking sheets.

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Cream puffs have been on my to-bake list for a while. I first had cream puffs in Taiwan, at a chain store called Beard Papa’s, a Japanese chain. (There are actually several franchise locations in California – the closest one to us is in Irvine. Apparently there used to be one in Chula Vista National City as well, but it is now closed.) Their cream puffs are absolutely delicious – the choux dough pastry is airy and light, filled with a rich cream only after you order it to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.

I found a recipe from my giant The Taste of Home Cookbook. I decided to follow the recipe pretty closely, except changing the size of the puffs to be bite-sized so that it’d be easier to serve to guests. To be honest, I didn’t have much confidence when I made my first batch – making choux pastry did not seem that easy. But my first batch actually turned out pretty well! I was kind of shocked haha.

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I was too eager to eat these, so I didn’t bother making a separate cream filling. I just used good old vanilla ice cream, and it worked out pretty well. S and my friends seemed to enjoy them :)

P1030214-5 Continue reading »

Dec 192012
 

I love bringing friends visiting from out-of-town to Extraordinary Desserts. Last time, I brought S’s sister (The Eating Monster) there and she loved it. This time, our good friends R&V were visiting from the Bay Area, and we decided to meet up and enjoy some desserts.

Chocolate danish

Chocolate danish

S loves danishes, and that night they had a chocolate danish. It looks a bit different from the round, flat, pastry that you’re used to, but it was delicious. Layers of delicate puff pastry with chocolate swirls made for a super decadent dessert.

Dulce de leche cake

Dulce de leche cake

Speaking of decadence, this was really for your serious chocolate and sugar lovers. Chocolate cake layered with chocolate + dulce de leche, topped off with chocolate ganache and served with dulce de leche. I am glad that we split this amongst five people because it is very rich, but really delicious. I loved the creamy dulce de leche mixed with moist chocolate cake.

This was quite a chocolate-filled dessert experience, and all of us left with our sweet tooths (teeth?) satisfied. (Okay, S never had a sweet tooth to begin with.. but we forced him here.) One thing that I’ve always disliked about Extraordinary Desserts is their excessive usage of flowers in the desserts. They aren’t edible (to me at least) and sort of distract from the dessert. All in all, though, I really adore this place and would definitely bring all of my out-of-town guests here.

Extraordinary Desserts (Balboa Park location)
2929 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA
http://www.extraordinarydesserts.com/

Hours: Mon-Thu 8:30am-11pm; Fri 8:30am-12am; Sat 10am-12am; Sun 10am-11pm