85c Bakery opened up in San Diego back in November 2014 and I remember there being so much hype about it! There are a few in the north land (aka Orange County/LA) and I read about long lines over opening weekend. I decided to wait a bit before venturing over there last month for the first time. I’d hadn’t been to any of the other locations, even though I’d heard so much about them. Long lines pretty much keep me away from places. I figured I’d just wait for the San Diego opening.
This is inside the bakery. I’m line to check out and snapped a photo of the people waiting to get trays to grab up some goodies. If you’ve been to a Panaderia or Paris Baguette, it’s a similar set up.
(psst – can you spot Jake in this photo? He’s quite tall compared to others. I don’t post a lot of photos of his back though, so maybe not… heehee)
There are trays of breads, tarts, pastries and more. You get a tray and a pair of tongs and grab what you want. Wait a few minutes and you’ll probably hear a worker come out and yell “Fresh Bread!” and the rest of the workers yell it out, too. Then you can watch that person get swarmed as everyone takes the bread off their tray. You basically just have to dart in and around people to get what you want.
I’m good at darting.
This is the line where you pay and get other things. See that case on the left? That one has all the cakes and cold desserts in it. I didn’t even look at it until after I paid for everything. It looked like great stuff – maybe I’ll remember to check it out one of these visits…
My first tray! I had no idea what to get so I just went by descriptions and looks. Like at any other place, really.
A few of these I didn’t even get to try because they got gobbled up and eaten before I could have a bite. The Whole Wheat Mushroom Bread ($1.50) was the first item I tried and it was just okay. I think I would have enjoyed it more heated up and dipped in some marinara sauce. It almost looked like a pizza stick to me for some reason but it’s basically just a breadstick with mushrooms in it. I wasn’t quite digging the taste of the whole wheat, either.
The Berrytale ($1.50) I don’t remember trying. I feel like I had a tiny piece.
The Maple Brick Toast ($1.50) also tastes much better reheated. It’s sticky and sweet from the maple – it’s like have a sweet version of garlic bread… but you know, without the garlic. It’s a nice extra thick slice and would be fun to eat with breakfast.
The Mocha Bread ($2.20) was nice and light. It’s a mix of coffee and chocolate flavored bread with a chocolate and walnut filling. I only tasted the bread part and really enjoyed the coffee flavor and marveled how light the bread was.
The Milk Pudding ($1.50) was eaten by someone else. And the Premium Milk (which didn’t have a tag at the time so I don’t know the price) was my favorite of the bunch. It’s a lightly sweetened, soft bread with white chocolate chunks in the middle and a dusting of powdered sugar over the top. That sounds like it would be extra sweet but it wasn’t! That’s what I enjoyed the most about everything – it all had just a light touch of sweetness to it. The Premium Milk bread was soft and light and I’ve gone back a few times already just to get this one again
The Coconut Custard Roll ($2.85) was a last minute addition so it wasn’t on our tray above. I got this mostly for my mom and I managed to snag a tiny bite before she gleefully claimed it for herself. I liked the spongy texture of the roll with the sweet cream filling inside. It’s got a strong punch of coconut flavor!
I loved how big the Half Moon breads are. We got the Almond Half Moon ($3) but they also have Strawberry (also good) and Blueberry (haven’t tried it yet). I really loved the almond silvers that surround the outside of it. It’s quite a big piece. The bread is fluffy and spongy – almost like an angel food cake but a little more dense – with a light bit of slightly sweet cream in the middle.
They bag up each pastry/bread/yummy treat into it’s own little plastic bag and put it in a box for you. It’s hard to only get a few things but it’ll last you for a few days. Unless your family are vultures. In which case it won’t last as long and someone will ask you to go and get more bread.
On a subsequent visit I managed to only take a photo of the Giant Brioche. I’ve heard the regular brioche is the thing to get but I didn’t see it out there. This one looks kind of like a giant moon crater or maybe a head of cauliflower. It looks like it would be really dense and heavy but again – so light! So airy! The crust on top had a bit of crunch that I liked, too.
I couldn’t resist trying a Sea Salt Coffee the first time around, too. I felt like I had to wait forever for this thing since so many people had placed drink orders. They were really cranking these out! This is the “before” shot – before I shook it up to mix it. Dear god, do you see how much cream is in there?!
All shook up it now barely looks like coffee. I wonder if you can ask them to go easy on the cream next time. I liked the bit of salty flavor you can detect in the drink but it felt it was a little too creamy. I still want to taste my coffee, you know. It was kind of like “coffee lite” after you mix all of that cream in.
We’ve already been back several times and my mom has even managed to drag my dad over there so she doesn’t have to wait for me to go again. I finally see what all the fuss is about!
Balboa Mesa Shopping Center (on the Vons/Kohl’s side)
5575 Balboa Avenue, Suite 330
San Diego, CA 92111