J J Bakery-Cafe
15333 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604
This is a great Taiwanese bakery and cafe that I used to frequent prior to the opening of 85C. My posts on 85C Bakery and Cafe can be found here and here. It's been a while since I have been back, but there are some things I miss from this bakery that I can't find at 85C.
The store is broken into two sections: a cafe and a bakery. The bakery section offers lots of fresh baked Taiwanese style breads. They also offer mooncakes, specialty cookies, loaves of bread and some breakfast items chinese doughnut (yu tiao) and yu tiao rice rolls. I don't think there yu tiao or rice rolls are that great though, especially since Ranch 99 is right next door and offers some very good yu tiao and rice rolls.
I do enjoy their breads and cookies though. My favorite is the pineapple bread with no filling.
The outside shell is just perfect, with lots of the sugar crust topping. The inside is soft and sweet. There is no pineapple in the bun, it is just called that because the outside shell resembles a pineapple. 85C has so many chinese breads and yet it does not have a traditional taiwanese style pineapple bun. Very weird. 85C has these mini ones, but they don't taste quite right. I also like JJ's red bean cookies and green tea cookies.
I noticed on this recent visit that the bakery was offering a lot of new breads. I think it must be the competition from 85C. I saw a taro swirl bread, green tea swirl bread, green tea cream bread, and quite a few others that were new.
I decided to try out the green tea swirl bread.
I imagined it would taste similar to the taro swirl at 85C because it looks similar. I was disappointed. The bread doesn't have much flavor on the outside and the inside has a cream filling, which I wasn't expecting.
I also tried another new item, the coconut tart:
This was not that impressive either. It was kind of like a coconut macaroon, but not chewy. It's pretty small and was over $1 for this tiny thing. I guess I will continue to stick to my favorites: pineapple buns and the various cookies.
The other thing I really enjoy here are the Portuguese egg tarts.
Portuguese egg tarts are sweeter than the traditional chinese egg tarts and have a burnt, creme
brulee look on top. The shell also tends to be crispier. I enjoy these egg tarts. 85C doesn't make any egg tarts, so I like to come to J J for my egg tart fix.
On this last visit, I also checked to see if they sell thick sliced toast. I've been doing that at every chinese bakery I've been to lately as I've become a bit obsessed with thick sliced toast because I want to try to make my own sweet butter brick toast and because I've always enjoyed thick slices of toast. Everywhere I've looked so far has only sold thin slices. But, I found it here!
The cafe section offers some drinks and some delicious authentic chinese meals. They have things like curry, fried pork chops, beef noodle soup, fried rice. For breakfast they have traditional chinese breakfast items like porridge, fried chinese crueller, chive pockets, etc. So far I've only gotten some of the combo meals. I really enjoy the fried pork chop meal. It comes with a milk tea drink, rice, fried egg, sauteed vegetables, pickled carrots and daikon. When you eat there, the meal is served on large plates. We got our food to go on this occassion because we were on our way to Disneyland. Boyfriend was craving curry, so we got the curry meal:
The container makes the meal look a bit smaller, but it's pretty filling. The meals here are more authentic than the ones you traditionally find at the tapioca tea places.
They also serve traditional Taiwanese style shaved ice!
I couldn't really get any good pictures because of the menu is inside a glossy cover and the reflection made the pictures come out poorly.