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Friday, June 22, 2012

Boulangerie Pierre et Patisserie and 85 Degree Bakeries: Heavenly Bread Made with Stuff Beyond Your Imagination

Isn't this a beauty? Not sure I'll be flamed for this but I, for one, am sad and angry that California decided to ban foie gras.

So I chose a pate and ham banh mi at Boulangerie Pierre et Patisserie in Little Saigon/Garden Grove area. I entered this place on pure whim as the one I had in mind had closed down. Crowded strip mall. Check. Tons of people waiting in line to order. Check. Enticing aromas of butter that enables all that flaky goodness in the croissants. Check. The pate and ham banh mi was good but the baguette could have been better. I liked the one at Banh Mi Cho Cu better.

Still, it was a solid sandwich with all the fixings such as fresh jalapenos, onions, strips of carrots and radishes and fresh cilantro.

I also tried the plain croissant, chocolate croissant and apple turnover, as well as a coffee eclair. I'm super picky with my eclairs and unfortunately, this one was too sweet for me.

Still, the croissants were good and I'd definitely return for them.

Another place I'd be returning to more frequently were it not so far away from me is 85 Degree Bakery in Irvine. It's tucked into a massive mall that has all types of Asian restaurants and a Korean market.

A Taipei import, it was a veritable candy store for me. Start with a big tray and inspect your vast selection. Taro roll? Add. Black squid ink roll with cheddar cheese? Add. Green onion roll with cheese? Add. I continued to do this until my tray had moca coffee roll, red bean bread, cream cheese filled bread, custard pie like the ones sold in dim sum joints and many more.

This delicious and flaky custard pie, by the way, carries a lot of history. It's called pasteis de nata and is originally Portuguese. It made its way to China through Macau that was under Portuguese rule.

85 Degree's rendition of it was very good, far better than many dim sum joints.

I also had bread similar to Korea's gombopang that has little bumps of sugar crust on top of the bread with no filling.

The green onion roll was like a meal but on the greasy side.

The chocolate croissant was good but not as good as Pierre's version. I know this is being nit picky but it's also about abiding by traditions. So a chocolate croissant, aka pain au chocolat, should like this, not like the one you see to your right. That's what plain or almond croissants look like.

How was the squid ink cheddar cheese roll, you ask? Honestly, I couldn't taste the squid but it was cool eating a jet black roll with hints of cheddar.

My favorite was the custard pie. My favorite bread was the almond and walnut roll that's shimmering in the left photo.

The best thing about the experience was its entirely reasonable price tag.

All this cornucopia cost me less than $15 total.

I really wish it opened one up in West LA. How about one on Sawtelle? Or at the very least, Torrance?

Loved my OC adventure. Thanks for reading!

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