JJ Bakery - Recommendations?
On a whim, yesterday, I wandered into JJ Bakery (off Baldwin), while waiting for a take-out order from Din Tai Fung to be finished.
My first time in the bakery and was immediately swept up into the chaos of people snatching things off of shelves. I joined in the craziness and grabbed things myself. Of course, I had no idea what it was that I was grabbing, for the most part - there were several children in the store pulling off all of the shelf tags.
$11.00 some odd dollars later, I was back in the parking lot and doing my best to identify what I'd purchased. Best guesses: almond cookies (size of Nabisco vanilla wafers, with sliced almonds on top); coconut bites (size of a thimble, like a pound cake with coconut); ham and cheese rolls; beef curry bread?; pineapple rolls; maybe bar-b-que pork rolls?; mini croissants; and some fishy-tasting (tuna?) rolls.
So what did I miss that I should have purchased? What are your favorites?
Confession time: I've never had mochi - I don't even know what they look like, but I recall reading somewhere that JJ Bakery makes good mochi - yes? No?
They do some fun things with mochi. The two things that immediately come to mind are the peanut mochi where it is traditional in shape but the outside is dusted with finely ground peanuts and filled with more ground peanuts. Those come in the clear plastic trays and are usually out with the various breads and cookies. The other more innovative mochi creation is their mochi that encases slices of flavored cake topped with like-flavored pastry cream. The mochi "shell" is very thin, a little sweet and very soft. Those are found in the refrigerated pastry case. They normally have strawberry, mango, and green tea - all are delicious and addictive but be warned that the green tea is heavy on macha so the aromatics and taste can be stronger than one might like. For me, it's great!
I don't recall the name, but they have another version of almond cookies that are rectangular - about 3/4" by maybe 2", in those small cellophane bags. Those come in almond or chocolate-almond, are filled with shaved almonds, a little hard with a nice bite, and very buttery - those are my personal favorite cookies there.
They do a nice green tea ampan (big individual-sized dome-shaped bread) filled with azuki and cream. The combination works well.
Our kids really like the various pastries and bread that are filled with wieners. Those are a slam-dunk for tikes...
What I like at JJ, in no particular order:
- Tarot bread
- Chinese potato salad bread/sandwich
- Egg tarts
- Caramel flan
- Green tea cookies
- Red bean buns
- Mooncakes (just kidding)
I think it comes down to taste... everything I've tried there has tasted generally what it looked like (i.e. if it looks good to you it probably will be good), and never been disappointed....
My favorite are the cheesecake sticks in the refrigerator case. Wow.
Also love the little soft cookies that look like two tiny hamburger buns stuck together (in a bag on the shelf of wall on your right when you walk in.) Both vanilla and chocolate flavors are fab....
The hot dogs wrapped in a bun for a buck each are also awesome!
My son loves the hot dog bun there also. I don't know why, but I like the egg salad sandwich (triple decker, with cucumbers on the other side).
Other favorite is the cheesecake topped with blueberries in puff pastry. They used to put a little brownie bit in the center underneath the cheesecake, but last time I got a vanilla square instead. Second their peanut mochi as well.
I LOVE the breads with dried buttermilk. To me, they are almost like a cheese danish. Also any with taro or coconut in addition to the dried buttermik. My 9 year old loves the milk sticks, (cookies that are very dry and look like rectangular bread sticks). The thick sliced white bread on the top shelf makes great toast. I love ipsedixit's comment about Mooncakes. It's because of those darn Mooncakes that my son couldn't have his milk sticks when we were in 2 weeks ago! Oh, they make this cake that reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream that they keep in the fridge to your right as you face the counter. I like the sandwiches too. Every time I go in, I try something new, it's a lot of fun!
They just added some vegetable buns and red bean buns recently to their ever changing menu. I personally don't like the red bean buns which are actual squished red beans ( with skin, very tart. I prefer paste). Also their vegetable buns are VERY good. They come in the same packets as the mochi (Clear plastic cases).
Other than that I usually get the expensive, but VERY good almond milk candy in the brown bags. Under the loaves of bread.
The strawberry and mango mochi are awesome. My wife and I lilke them so much that we ordered 325 of the strawberry ones for our wedding. JJ actually gave us a mochi tasting and made us chocolate mochi, creme brulee mochi, and raspberry mochi as well, but we liked the simplicity of the strawberry ones. You can special order the other mochi flavors if you like. Oh... but if you are ever in Osaka, there is a bakery there that makes the best kind of this dessert.
The mochi was the hit of the wedding (in terms of food, that is). We were a bit upset that JJ Bakery did not give us a discount on the order, because we gave them a lot of free advertisement as well, and supposedly, our guests went back out and was giving them business for the next few weeks introducing it to all of their friends. Well, bulavinaka, I'll send you one of those "virtual mochi" through the facebook page. LOL. GO NOMO!