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Taiyaki in San Mateo

Sweet Breams, a store that prides itself in selling chibi-taiyaki (small taiyaki), just opened on Sunday. I tried it out yesterday evening and I actually enjoyed it. The fishies were warm, slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the fillings were pretty tasty. My personal favorites are Nutella and vanilla. The service was friendly, the interior minimalistic and cute (albeit incomplete, according to the owner), and is within walking distance of a lot of places in downtown San Mateo. Wish I'd have taken some pictures of my food--I'd love to have shared it with everyone.

Any thoughts? Has anyone else tried them out? What do you think?

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    1. re: Wendy_san

      Website seems to suggest that way, along with Equator coffee, teas, sodas



      "In the Spring of 2007, two sisters visited Kyoto, Japan and the seeds for what would become Sweet Breams were sown. Now, only a year later, Sweet Breams has become a reality. As the only taiyakiya on the Peninsula, we are extremely proud and excited to bring chibi taiyaki to the Bay Area.

      All of our taiyaki are created fresh every day from scratch. We follow self-developed recipes and use only the finest ingredients such as Scharffen Berger chocolates and Kum Moon bean pastes. We are also a proud purveyor of Equator coffees and teas."

      Per their facebook pages, the two sisters last name Wong (not related to Melanie I suppose). It appears that they imported the casts for the taiyaki and are using local sources for the red bean and chocolate fillings.

    2. Ooh. Taiyaki. My favorites are ones from tan Edo-era bakery in Japan. Was the azuki smooth or did it have bits of the bean (tsubu-an) in it? Also, I can imagine the fillings for the nutella and chocolate, but the vanilla-- was that a custard or a cream filling? Or shiro-an infused with vanilla flavor?

      Must go check this out sometime. . ..

      2 Replies
      1. re: anzu

        The filling is sort of custard/creamy, if that makes any sense :D

        1. re: anzu

          Oh and as far as the azuki goes, I remember it being smooth, but it could have bits of beans in it. I think the sampling is too small to tell. Or i just really enjoyed Nutella and Vanilla too much :D

        2. The photos of the taiyaki on yelp aren't as elegant as this wiki picture, but general idea.

          It says that in Japan occasionally they are filled with sausage.

          From Sweet Breams website

          Secret Menu
          Be in know with the following code words and be a savvy Breamie!

          TOKYO: 13 chibi taiyaki for the same price as a school.

          EDO: Taiyaki sans fillings — they taste like madeleines!

          Sweet Breams
          220 2nd Avenue, San Mateo, CA

          1. I ordered a school today with my secret menu words. They were made to order and delicious. They are the perfect size for my 3 year old. She particularly loved the chocolate and nutella. I liked the azuki. I will definitely try the vanilla next time. She is going to offer different fillings later on. She even said they are planning black sesame. They were very nice and we will definitely be back.

            1. Since I was in the area I decided to try it. Small shop that won't let you take pics of the inside. Some tables in the middle & some chairs on the sides & along the tables. Big screen TV with the menu for Back to the Future (on DVD).

              Taiyaki-Japanese fish-shaped waffle cake filled with 4 signature flavors: azuki (red bean), vanilla, chocolate, nutella. You have to buy either 1/2 school (6) $3.25 or school (12) $5.50. They are tiny so 12 is a good amount for 1-2 ppl.

              I got 3 of each of the signature flavors. $5.50 + tax = $5.95. Had to wait maybe 10-15 min. since they are made fresh to order. It was piping hot when I finally did get them though.

              I liked the vanilla & nutella the best. Chocolate & azuki were just ok for me.

              Other items they have:

              coffee-medium $1.75/large $2
              tea- medium $1.5/lg $1.75
              soda $1
              bottled water $1.25

              Special occasion flavors start at $2.75 EACH. I didn't ask if they had any when I went. Too expensive for me.

              Sweet Breams t-shirt $22 - expensive!

              220 2nd Ave @ Ellsworth Ave.

              Attaching 2 pics.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hhc

                Nice touch of putting the pennies in the picture. How does it compare with the other taiyaki you've tried?

                1. re: rworange

                  RW, those weren't pennies. We were walking on the street for San Mateo's 2008 Festa Italiana Community Street Fair (not worth going) & I got some of the Bot dots from the road in the pic.

                  The taiyaki are ok, hard to taste anything since they are so tiny. I'd stick to May's shop in SF Japantown.

                  Festa Italiana post:

                  1. re: hhc

                    I agree with hhc that May's would be a better choice. We were rather underwhelmed by Sweet Breams.

              2. There was an article on Sweet Breams in the SJ Mercury. They now have TAIYAKI CUPCAKES. From their website:

                "We’re really excited about the response our taiyaki cupcakes are receiving. Thank you SO much for all of your feedback. As you know, we have yellow cupcakes baked from scratch filled with either azuki (red bean) or matcha (green tea). We are also accepting custom orders for taiyaki cupcakes with 48 hours’ advance notice. Please speak to us for more details."

                *Individual taiyaki cupcake: $3.25

                *1/2 school (6) of taiyaki cupcakes: $18

                *School of taiyaki cupcakes (12): $36

                Plus revised batter recipe as of 9/08 so it's supposed to be crisper, with more caramelization and fish detail.



                3 Replies
                1. re: hhc

                  I've had their cupcakes, and OH MY GOSH they are good!!

                  I have no idea how or what or why, but wow. I especially love the green tea ones.

                  1. re: hhc

                    That Mercury News link has problems. This should work

                    The article mentions that taiyaki "can also be bought, imported and frozen, at the Bay Area's Nijiya market stores, $6.99 for a package of 10"

                    Anyone tried those?

                    That was a good link. They also mention they should be eaten warm and when to catch them warm at May's since they are not made to order there.

                    Also where to buy the molds if you want to make your own at home. For some reason that sounds like fun ... use the stovetop ... fill with waffle mix ... go crazy with your own flavors. Sounds like you'd save big $$$ doing it at home.

                    1. re: hhc

                      cupcakes are now "special" and not always available. there were chocolate with strawberry? cherry? raspberry? i forget for valentine's day. apparently the cupcakes had become so popular that she couldn't keep up with the demand and was getting completely overwhelmed, and now i can see why. my SO got me a half dozen green tea cupcakes for valentine's day that he special ordered with the store owner, who also made a school of green tea taiyaki. the cupcakes and the fish were fabulous. so, so good. and the SO said that the store owner was incredibly nice, loved his idea, and was totally enthusiastic, and made him promise that we would stop in this week and let her know how it went.

                      apparently i almost blew it because i dragged the SO into sweet breams last week in search of a green tea cupcake, which i have never been able to catch in stock. so i went in and asked if she had them and she was like, oh, no, so sorry, no green tea cupcakes... but next week we'll have chocolate ones... *big smile.* while i was looking at the case, my SO said she made an ack!!! face at him because they both knew about the special order. but all's well that ends well. she iced them beautifully, with blue buttercream? frosting that had a bonus green tea taiyaki swimming in it, and the box was sealed with a heart sticker to boot.

                      i love sweet breams even more than before. best valentine's day present ever!

                    2. Ive been a couple times now and I really enjoy these taiyaki. Id prefer them to may's. The smaller size lets you enjoy them without having to eat a whole taiyaki.

                      I enjoy the chocolate and nutella, but I think the vanilla is my favorite. Azuki is good for azuki (which isnt my favorite flavor)

                      From the special flavors, Ive had:

                      Cranberry: A little too cake dominated. I got a pinch of the tartness, but would have liked a more pronounced flavor from the filling.
                      Green Tea: Awesome. Cant wait til they have these again. Subtle flavor, but delicious.

                      Peanut butter and banana: The peanut butter was overpowering and made the whole thing taste dry. Id pass on this next time.

                      1. The website says for this week through valentines day they have special cupcakes which sound good
                        - chocolate fudge cupcakes filled with strawberry cream
                        - red velvet filled with cream cheese

                        There are a few more secret words

                        BATSU!: An additional taiyaki is slipped into your school. But beware, it’s filled with wasabi! Recommended by friends of Tiny and Tasty — Play a Batsu! game of chance with your friends! Without looking, each person takes his or her turn by eating a taiyaki. The person who eats the wasabi filled one loses.

                        PEANUT BUTTER: They gave Peanut Butter a permanent home on the Secret Menu. Just mention that you’d like to include Peanut Butter taiyaki in your school, and they will make them for you.

                        CHUM: Extra bits of batter surrounding the taiyaki, “chum.” Sweet and crispy. If you’d like your chum with your order, please let them know to include it in your school box.