Noodles & Company is a casual fast food eatery chain that offers different types of noodle dishes from around the world.

San Diego hosts a couple of locations, including one inside the UTC mall. I previously visited once and tried the Pad Thai noodles, but wasn’t very impressed. However, I have been meaning to come back to try the macaroni and cheese and Mediterranean noodle dishes after several readers told me that those are much better.

As luck would have it, I was offered two free vouchers to check out Noodles & Company. So one tired Sunday evening, FH and I went to carbo load on pasta.

You place your order at the counter and then they bring the food out. We decided to take our food to go. We waited a few minutes, and then a cheerful employee brought out our food in a big brown paper bag.

Truffle mac with baby portabellas (signature mac and cheese sauce spiked with white truffle oil, sauteed baby portabella mushrooms, and topped with Parmesan cheese and house-made toasted breadcrumbs)

I was immediately hit with the truffle oil aroma as soon as I opened up my bag. The macaroni sauce was creamy without being too cheesy.  The portabella mushrooms paired well with the truffle oil. The toasted breadcrumbs added a nice finished touch to this dish.

After making the Nutella swirl quick bread, I wanted to try the original Biscoff bread recipe for that inspired my Nutella version.

The Biscoff spread gave this bread an almost buttery soft texture. I love the golden crust.

With the success of 85°C Bakery Cafe first US location in Irvine, it was only a matter of time before they expanded. I’m actually surprised it took so long given that the Irvine location has been opened a couple of years and it has managed to maintain its popularity, with consistently long lines out the door every weekend.

The second location is in Hacienda Heights, which like Irvine, has a pretty large Taiwanese population. We were in the area during one our of LA trips recently and decided to pay a visit.

The Hacienda Heights location is much bigger than the Irvine one, at least twice the space, if not more. While there was a line when we went, it wasn’t as long as the average line in Irvine and we only waited about five minutes. Inside, we were greeted to the same familiar drink menu, cakes, and the same fresh breads.

This location also offers 85C branded merchandise, which I haven’t seen in the Irvine store.

The two  most popular breads are the brioche and the taro bread. You’ll hardly ever see them on the shelves, but when you wait in line at the register, someone will usually come around with a fresh tray asking you if you want to add one. If you don’t get one then, you can also ask at the register and there’s usually some still in the kitchen.

Here’s some of the other breads I picked up this time.