Restaurant of the Week: 85 Degrees

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85 Degrees C Bakery, 12959 Peyton Drive (at Beverly Glen), Chino Hills

Sometimes called the Starbucks of Taiwan, 85 Degrees Celsius has been sprouting in Southern California’s Asian enclaves, with locations to date in Irvine, Hacienda Heights and West Covina. A Chino Hills outpost opened in July. It’s the largest at 5,000 square feet and took over the defunct City Broiler.

It’s been radically transformed, with lots of windows and lots of seating, as well as a shady, pleasant rear patio. I met a friend for lunch who had previously shown me the one in West Covina, so I knew what to expect.

Breads and pastries, both savory and sweet, are displayed in clear plastic cases, from which you pluck whatever you want with tongs and place them on a cafeteria tray. If you’ve been to a panaderia, you’ll recognize the concept. When you pay, each item is put into a clear bag. They also sell coffees, smoothies and other beverages.

So it’s basically a bread buffet, a carbohydrate cafeteria. Three pieces will generally fill you up. We had a pork sung bun, wheat germ mushroom, garlic cheese, and ham and onion roll, with red bean bread and mocha bread for dessert. Each was from $1.10 to $2. I also had a taro slush drink ($3.75). So, two of us had a satisfying lunch for $13, and I saved the mocha bread for breakfast the next morning. It was too bready for me, and the pork sung bun, essentially a bun dusted with powdery pork, was too dry for my taste. The rest were delicious, and I liked my drink too.

Definitely worth a visit: The items are different and really good (people rave about the sea salt coffee too), and as there will be more 85 Degrees locations, you may as well try one now so you can brag to your friends when one pops up in, say, Rancho Cucamonga that you already know all about it.

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  • DebB

    I walked in there a few weeks ago, and the pastries looked good. But I’m not familiar with Taiwanese pastries, and I didn’t know what to get for a meal. It just looked like way too much sugar and carbs for me. Actually, even after your description, it still does.

  • Andy Sze

    I’m not a savory guy when it comes to 85c. I also only buy when I can eat it immediately. The draw of 85 is the bread still hot from the oven and with the Irvine and hacienda heights stores the turnover is sufficient to keep the ovens fired from dawn to way past dust. When cold I think the breads loose much of their appeal. You can go to let’s say JJ Bakery and get much of the same thing though less selection.

    As for coffee not a fan of it. At a Klatch, Dripp, intelligentsia, etc you get much superior coffee. The taiwanese like a swettened pre mixed coffee. What I do like a lot is the sea salt tea.

    Cake wise they are not bad. I’ve eaten most of their cakes. The coffee creme brulee is king.

  • Andy Sze

    If they open one rancho I will go broke. My wife is a addicted to that place. It will fill a nice hole as there are no pastry places over here.

    We don’t have a Dolce bakery over here. Dolce in Montclair is my number 1 goto, but Dolce too is Taiwanese inspired but they are much more French and culinarily sophisticated than most any bakery east of the 605

    • davidallen909

      Andy, thanks for your informed commentary! For the sake of your family finances, we can hope they don’t expand to RC soon.

  • Denise Pappas

    My son brought home a selection of treats last night. They were really
    good. One was some sort of tart that was loaded with fresh fruit (apples,
    cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberry, blueberries and a blackberry) on top of some sort
    of cookie/cake. The fruit made it healthy, filling, and almost guilt free.

    • davidallen909

      Almost? Close enough!

  • Meyer Weinstock

    Been going to the HacHts store for some time, happy to see it closer to home. IF I had $500K & a partner, I’d quit my job and open one near Victoria Gardens. Really. I would. I swear. Really. [Excuse me, Dave, but I gotta take another bite of the date-filled moon cake...w/ my sea salt coffee...] -mike

    • davidallen909

      Don’t type with your mouth full.

    • Andy Sze

      … With the completion of their central facility in Brea about a month ago, 85C Announced plans to expand to 50 stores.  They might make it there.  
       
      On another note, DA cited some time back that Seafood City was going to open in Rancho in the former best buy store.  I thought it was misinformation as for months all I saw was Party City moving into that location and tons of parking lot construction.  Turns out, Party City took half the store and Seafood City taking the other half.  My wife also reports that Red Ribbon and Jollibee are under construction there as well.  As with most seafood cities, there is a attached “trifecta of bad taste” Red Ribbon, Jollibee and Chow King.  There might not be a trifecta, but a perfecta ain’t bad… except for your tastebuds.

      • Meyer Weinstock

        thanks, Andy…I think. I happen to like Jollibee, (although not Red Ribbon) so I am curious as to your ‘bad taste’ comment…so of us of a certain age recall SoCal’s own Pioneer Chicken…the original so-bad-it’s-good fast food, and Jollibee is the only product, that I think, comes close. I live far from these places, and I welcome their presence. 50 more….So, know any investors? -m

        • Andy Sze

          that phrase, the “trifecta of bad taste” came from a blog I’ve been reading for years. “mmm-yoso”. Kirk writes about this travels and food adventures.

          years ago, I ended up in the phillipines and I darted straight for a Jollibee seeking their legendary chicken (this was before they had them in the states) and that ended up to be one of my best memories having jollibee in Manila. Fast forward to a couple years ago when they opened in Chino Hills… the food just tasted aweful. Very artificial. I’m not sure if the food tastes the same and I doubt I will ever be back in the Phillipines to compare.

          I remember the covered Wagon of Pioneer chicken.. I never ate at Pioneer, but I do eat at Churchs which also has very artificial tasting chicken, but not sure why I like Churches so much better than Jollibee.

          To Any extent I rode my bike past jollibee a few days ago and the whole Seafood City Jollibee Red Ribbon appeared ready to open. Might be open now. I can smell the Pancit Palabok for dinner tonight.

          • davidallen909

            They opened today!