Part 1 of my last Irvine trip can be found here. Sorry it’s taken me so long to finish blogging about my trip.
675 Paularino Ave, #3
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
So one of our stops was technically not in Irvine. Last time I was shopping at the Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa, I saw this sign for “$4.99 bento box
lunch special” in front of a store in the same plaza. I was really curious, so this time around we stopped in
during lunch. There were three bento boxes to choose from for the lunch
special: teriyaki chicken, chicken karaage, and nori bento. We chose the
I thought the chicken was pretty oily. The food was
just alright. There were quite a few other bentos offered, but were around $8-10.
Since Mitsuwa and its giant food court is in the same plaza,
I’d rather go there. rather than getting a cold premade bento.
85C Bakery Cafe
2700 Alton Pkwy, Ste 123
Irvine, CA 92606
On this trip, we also paid a visit to 85 C. I’ve done multiple posts on 85 C which
can be found here, here, here. So I’ll keep this one short. The last few times, I’ve
noticed that 85 C is ridiculously crowded on the weekends and a lot of
the breads I want run out by the time I get inside. On the weekdays, the
line isn’t so bad. But on weekends, it is out the door. And it seems to
be like that all day. When we first arrived in the plaza, the line was
out the door. A few hours later, it was still the same. I think part of
the problem is that before, there was no one monitoring the line. Now,
they have someone by the door restricting the number of people who can
get in at a time.
There are two lines now. The front entrance has a line for people
getting breads. Then there is a separate line on the side of the bakery, for people who
are just ordering beverages. (You can order beverages from the bread
line too; so you don’t need to get in line again if you are buying bread and drinks).
When we finally got inside, a lot of the breads I wanted were not
there. I asked about them, and they were making more but it would take
about 30 minutes. I was then told I could preorder them at the register
and come back later to pick them up. This was a nice option that wasn’t
previously offered. I ordered my breads at the register, and later on I
came back to pick up my breads and was able to bypass the line since I
was just picking up a preorder.
I didn’t take many good pics of the breads since I’ve had them all before. Plus it was late, and I didn’t want to wait for nice lighting. I wanted to eat my breads right away.
The pork sung cake roll was something I hadn’t seen before. It is a typical sweet chinese cake roll, but covered with the savory dried shredded pork and green onions. It was an interesting combination.
This was a coconut cake, also something I hadn’t had before. The coconut cake is more like a flan. Inside were little jellies shaped like stars. I wouldn’t get this again.
The taro roll is one of my family’s favorite breads. It’s a super soft roll. The taro is swirled in. This bread is really popular and it tastes great piping hot and even cold the next day.
I usually don’t get the savory bread options. For me, they taste a bit weird because the bread is still slightly sweet. However, they are also quite popular. BF was in the mood for some of the savory breads. He chose this pizza one.
I think this one had a hot dog inside.
In the same plaza, we visited Bon Epi, a Korean bakery. There were
lots of yummy looking offerings.
Here’s what I ended up choosing:
I also chose a brioche not pictured. I thought the breads were good, but not as good as the ones at 85C. Since it is in the same plaza, I’d prefer to go to 85C.
18040 Culver Dr
Irvine, CA 92612
We ended the night at Wholesome Choice. This market had been recommended to me months ago by Darlene of My Burning Kitchen and her husband Paul of Cool Jerk. They mentioned that they thought I would enjoy the place, and Paul even gave me one of the Cool Jerk collectible cards and wrote down directions as well as a note to try the filet mignon kebabs.
We had planned to arrive earlier, but other places got in the way. Wholesome Choice is a large supermarket that seems to specialize in the Middle Eastern cuisine. They had a lot of cheap fruit on sale as well as a lot of tropical fruits that are hard to find like mangosteens.
One of the things I was most excited about is that the market carries my Mashti Malone ice cream.
I was also really happy with the baked goods aisle. So many different cookies, as well as Middle Eastern pastries were offered.
The food court is much talked about at Wholesome Choice. It apparently is quite large and full of different types of cuisine. Unfortunately, we were there so late that the majority of the food court was closed. What remained opened was a bakery, and a kebab station. I’m not sure if this is the kebab station that CoolJerk recommended, but they did have filet mignon kebabs, so I ordered a plate.
I really enjoyed this market. It had so much variety and reasonable prices. The only one negative thing was that we encountered a not-so-nice lady working behind the food station. She saw me taking pictures of the empty food court, and yelled at me to stop taking pictures. So I stopped. But then she proceeded to glare at me for the next 20 minutes while we waited for our food. At one point, I left to wander around the market. BF told me that while I was gone, a caucasian couple tried to get some food from one the stations that was closed but still had the food on display. They refused to help the couple. Then a Middle Eastern couple came in and the lady secretly helped them. The caucasian couple were pretty mad and BF overheard the conversation. Apparently this was not the first time they had been given unfair treatment from this place.
We got our food to go since we were quite full from everywhere else we had stopped on our trip. The serving of beef was quite generous, as was the rice which I believe was flavored with saffron. The beef was tender and I loved the rice. It also came with some pita-like bread and onions, but I preferred to eat this on its own rather than in a wrap.
I definitely want to visit this market again and hopefully the mean lady won’t be there.
Wow! I’ve never tried that bento place but it looks pretty good for 5 bucks. Mitsuwa is @[email protected] SOOO GOOD, the shimmered chicken plate thingy is amazing. Bon Epi’s “korean” tacos are good and their peach black tea’s okay. I love the milk pudding bread from 85, but I like Bon Epi’s custard bread as well. I love your blog!
It has a lot of bento choices! Hmm, i’ll have to try these korean tacos next time!
Pingback: Irvine trip Part 2 | Online REL
I totally didn’t notice that sign. BF was taking all those bakery shots right in front of an employee and she didn’t say anything. Then I borrowed the camera from him for like 1 second and I got yelled at. heh.
The kebab is huge…I’ll have to remember to ask for the seasoning next time.
I’m surprised you haven’t been to the 85C in Irvine! I think the Missus would enjoy it. But then it’s probably not as good as the ones in Nanjing or Suzhou…
If you are in the area, you should check out 85C. The lines are long..but the bread is great. They literally are coming out with fresh bread every five minutes, so the bread I get is always piping hot. And it’s super soft and stays soft. It doesn’t go stale right away like a lot of other breads. And the line doesn’t move too slowly. On weekdays, there usually isn’t a line.
Glad you made it to Wholesome Choice. One warning: there is a sign as you enter that photography is *not* allowed. When I used to work in Irvine and got the kebab for my (huge) lunch, I would take pictures on the sly. Never ever let them see you take photos! I think the people at the kebab place are know for being the equivalent of Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi.”
Ask for packets of sumac next too. It’s tart-like seasoning you sprinkle over your rice.
Hey Kirbie – We still have yet to make it to 85C – what’s really funny is that we’ve been to the shops in Nanjing and Suzhou…. but not to the one in Irvine!
hi kirbie – ooh, i wonder if 85cis the place i keep hearing about. my sis in law lives in aliso viejo and told me about this bakery where the lines are always super long. the stuff at the korean bakery looked pretty good too!
This was my first visit to Bon Epi, so I didn’t really research what is good here. I only picked up a couple of things since I had just been to 85C. The stuff I tasted was similar to other Korean bakeries. It’s fresh, but it didn’t really stand out and they aren’t coming out with fresh bread every 5 minutes like at 85C.
I like the tapioca breads, which 85C doesn’t have. Also the Sweet potato brioche, but that’s because I really like stuff with sweet potatoes.
Seriously. It’s so successful that they really should open some more branches!
i love this area, i went to college just near here 🙂 im glad you posted about bon epi, ive never been because im so infatuated with 85…but i guess it isnt worth it in comparison? anything bon epi is known for that is worth trying?? xx
that 85 degrees line is crazy! they need to open some more!