85C Bakery: More Than Just Tarts and Buns

The newly opened bakery in Old Pasadena hides a lot behind those doors

Friday, November 14, 2014 | 9:47 pm

When I heard the Taiwanese bakery chain, 85C Bakery, was moving into Old Pasadena, I have to admit I was curious. Growing up in Pasadena, I was very well acquainted with the Vietnamese pastry shops peppering Alhambra as well as trips to little bakeries off the streets and into the alleys of Chinatown.

I don’t recall, however, finding any pastry cases filled with glossy fruit topped cakes and red bean buns in the city.

The hype and the lack of options in Pasadena made this opening very unique in my eyes, so I made sure to get my fill when visiting their location on the corner of Green Street and Fair Oaks.

For the uninitiated, let me tell you– walking into this store is pretty exciting. Initially, I thought the double-wide pastry case was all I had to choose from, which was in no way disappointing. But then I noticed the lines of people carrying white trays with mounds of all sorts of round, golden baked goods so I kept going.

That’s when I saw it. A whole corner of this rather large room was dedicated to stacks of warmed lucite boxes filled with a dizzying assortment of goodies.

Eyes big as silver dollars, I stood for a moment to figure out the etiquette. Stacked neatly on a special stand was parchment paper squares, white trays, and little white tongs. I took one of each and began my painstaking selection process.

While I made my picks, men appeared from the back with large trays of fresh brioche, calling out, “fresh bread!” I instantly became aware that this bakery was more than just about the food– it was an experience all in its own.

In the end, I picked out 5 items and ordered a medium cappuccino. The price tag of my spree? $11.05. I was very pleasantly surprised. My tray consisted of a 85C egg tart, 1 mini pumpkin pie tart (a seasonal item), 1 red bean bun, a raisin milk butter bun, and something called a Berrytale.

The egg tart was my first try and one of my favorite choices. The pastry was incredibly flakey and the custard was not too sweet. At $1.50, I could have gone back for more.

My second try and in fact, my second favorite choice, was the Berrytale. Huge, fluffy and soft with one blue dot in the center, this bun caught my attention immediately. The dough was sweet and the berry filling had enough tartness left to prevent this confection from being cloying.

I realize now I have not even scratched the surface of what 85C Bakery has to offer. As I roamed Old Pasadena, shop keepers noticed by shopping bag and stopped me to make their suggestions, from buns to their sea salt coffee drinks (a specialty of the shop’s).

I have a feeling I’ll be making a return trip. The siren call of, “fresh bread,” is still rattling around my brain.

85C Bakery Cafe is located at 61 S Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. For more information, please call (626) 792-8585 or visit http://www.85cafe.us/


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