85°C, the popular Taiwanese bakery chain, continues to expand, recently opening it’s third US location. For some reason they chose to open it in West Covina, which I don’t quite understand, given that the other LA location is quite close by in Hacienda Heights.

For those unfamiliar, 85°C is actually a bakery and coffee chain from Taiwan. Since its first US store in Irvine a few years ago, it’s been extremely popular. They are most known for their fresh, fluffy and soft breads which come in dozens of varieties both savory and sweet. Unlike most bakeries which only bake breads twice a day, fresh bread is coming out at 85°C nearly every five minutes. The name 85°C actually refers to what is supposed to be the ideal temperature for coffee. In Taiwan, this chain is actually much more known for their coffee than their bread. Since there are so many bakeries in Taiwan making fresh bread, 85°C is not a big deal and you won’t see long lines like in the US. But since we don’t have nearly as many Chinese bread bakeries here, 85°C has remained extremely popular and customers will pile up trays of bread and cakes.

I haven’t had a chance to visit the newest location, but just reading news on the opening brought out a renewed craving for 85°C breads. So on my last few trips to Orange County, I loaded up on a lot more than usual and I thought I’d share some new items and old favorites.

The original Irvine location remains super busy with lines out the door at most hours during the weekends. It doesn’t help that it’s such a tiny store compared to the newer locations.

We were around during the Lunar New Year and I loved the cute little dragon decorations.

Squid Ink Bread

This is one of their most popular items and also the cheapest. It’s only $.65, making it the only item under a dollar. The small squid ink breads are topped with cheese and garlic butter, so they are basically fancy Asian-style garlic breads. Whenever these are around, I see customers grabbing dozens at a time.

French Cheese Bread

This was a new to me item. I usually am not a fan of the savory breads here but I enjoyed this one, topped with cheese and garlic.

Half Moon Cake with Pork Sung

There are several versions of these, the other ones are topped with sweet toppings like blueberry and coconut. I’ve always been curious, so on my last trip, I finally grabbed one. It’s basically a soft sponge cake, filled with whipped cream and then topped with pork sung (or blueberry or coconut if you choose the other variations). It tasted okay to me, but nothing too special.

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here so it’s time for some boozy recipes. I made a Baileys Irish Cream Mug Cake previously. This time, I thought I’d add some chocolate to it.

You can still taste the alcohol, but it’s a little hard to tell that it’s Irish cream. I wish I had some Irish cream chocolate chips to add some extra oomph. The cake still tastes good though. Like chocolate cake for adults.

Coop’s BBQ, our favorite barbeque joint in San Diego, recently opened a second location. Unfortunately for DH and I, the second location is in Chula Vista, which is not any closer to us than their original Lemon Grove location.

Nonetheless, we were curious. We were craving Coop’s smoked brisket and ribs the other day, so DH made the trip to Chula Vista to pick up our take-out order. I armed him with one of my cameras so he could take photos of the new spot.

The new location is much bigger than the original location and is mainly being managed by Coop’s daughter. There are large tvs and cushy booths.

Triple Threat Plate (Homemade Sausage, Hot Links, Pulled Pork)

DH and I have a habit of getting the same thing every time we come, so I decided we needed to try some other menu items. I enjoyed the homemade sausage the most from this trio. The pulled pork chunks were a little big and didn’t have too much flavor. The hot links were like typical hot links.

We were hoping to try the mac n cheese side, but it’s only available on Saturdays. So for our sides we got the corned bread and potato salad. They wrapped the corn bread separately and generously gave us an extra scoop of their red beans and rice to fill the other side section.

Of course, after making the drive down, we had to get our favorites as well: