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Cream Pan, Tustin

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#1 Priscilla

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 09:50 AM

Cream Pan

The greatness that is Cream Pan has been much expounded upon.

And yet, here's more.

It only has gotten better with the advent of cafe livin'. Eat-in breakfast? Yes. And of course the breads remain as perfect. Sandwich, toast, and ciabatta, oh + butter rolls, are staples. Everything is good.

My b.d. cake for several years now has been a CP cheesecake, which is unlike any American/NY style cheesecake. Refined, like. Good with champagne, which it is usually accompanying on my b.d. They think we are freaks (go fig) because Ivan always brings some elaborate sketch of what he wants piped onto my cake. One year it was the Earth symbol from the chevrons of Stargate SG-1, I remember. (Always in chocolate or something else real -- there is nothing artificial in the whole place.) And even after all that they are still so nice to us.

#2 Joan

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 02:20 PM

I'm not a huge fan of their croissant type stuff, except maybe the blueberry one, for some reason. However, their breads are unparalleled. They even have one I can actually eat, no milk or eggs. I think it's called the Yamo bread. Awesome.

I love their new eating area too.

#3 Priscilla

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 01:44 PM

Breakfast today, just as good as always. So nice, sitting in there. Lots of other people enjoying same.

Ivan since cafe livin' began has ONLY gotten the prosciutto open face san, and shows no sign of branching out yet. He does add in a pear-almond croissant. I got the bagel san, although I do also like Set A.

Good coffee, too. AND we scored the very last ciabatta to go with our beef stroganoff tonight, a good thing.

#4 alosha7777

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 10:48 AM

I've had this place bookmarked forever. It's so close to me too, I really need to get up early and GO!

#5 Priscilla

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:29 AM

You are SO LUCKY if you are proximate to CP/J.

7 a.m. open, but I think the cafe menu is from 8 a.m. Sat and Sun too of course. Baked stuff from 7. (Closed Mondays, though, you probably know.)

Tomorrow January 15 will be our 4 year anniversary of our very first CP visit, a red-letter day I would mark with a big giant florid heart drawn around it in wide-tip hot pink felt pen if I had a paper calendar to draw on. It's also our wedding anniversary! But more than 4th, WAY more.

ALL credit going to our own Joan, who clued me in to Cream Pan's existence on account of her love of Yoshi's creme renversee-type egg custard.

#6 Priscilla

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 05:40 PM

Today for wedding and Cream Pan anniversary breakfast I had the grilled veg san and tomato-basil soup, the Cream Pan Special on the menu... you get to choose which san and which soup. Also had a nice beautiful pile of salade with delicious dressing. Really really good.

Ivan had, wait for it, prosciutto san. The non-prosciutto san day may indeed never come.

And we figured out it is actually our 5th Cream Pan anniversary, not 4th. So, even better. Wedding anniversary is still way more.

Montblanc made w/fresh chestnuts had appeared in the case, so we had to bring one home for later trying w/anniversary champagne.

#7 alosha7777

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 01:32 PM

Okay, I have to come out with it. I've gone twice in the last few weeks, thanks to your reminder to move it up my list of bookmarks... and I thought it was just okay. huh.gif

I am copying this from my unfinished Yelp review. I'm waiting to publish it until after I have gone one more time, and I need your help with that... but first, here's what I've had/taken home:

Strawberry croissant - I've had two now and yes, the croissant is good, very flaky, custardy filling not too sweet... but it didn't blow my mind. And it needs more strawberries - three tiny slices which constitute maybe one medium strawberry does not make it a "strawberry" croissant in my opinion.

Egg sandwich - loved this, with the soft roll and great egg salad, but not worth going there for since I can make that just as easily at home.

Croquette sandwich - I asked for pork katsu - do they not make those any more? I ate it anyway, the slaw was good, but the croquette was nothing but sweet mush. Ehhh.

House omelet - got it with spinach, bacon and onion. My three chosen ingredients were great (crispy bacon, sauteed spinach, just-cooked onion), but the eggs were not cooked with any seasoning at all. *Incredibly* bland and only saved with salt and hot sauce. It came with salad, which was mixed greens, a slice of tomato and *no* dressing, which was odd. I asked for fruit but got pasta salad served to me instead - good thing since it was the best thing I've eaten there. It was peppery penne with a bit of oil, basil and tomato - just like the "Caprese pasta" I make myself at home, but with no mozzarella.

Chicken katsu curry - chicken was tasty and crispy, the curry was just alright. Only six bites of chicken though? The salad it came with was just iceberg and cucumber, with a sweet dressing.

So, Priscilla, I am willing to make another trip or two before calling it a day. On Yelp, this is one of the first places that pops up in Tustin and has 4.5/5 stars after 189 reviews (and another 4.5/5 stars out of 41 for the Japonaise listing, though they shouldn't be separate) - VERY very high for Yelp after so many voices have chimed in. So I feel like I am missing something. I looked at more of their items and told my husband I will bring home some stuff this weekend, perhaps the ham and cheese croissant, and maybe some baked fruity goods and we can both decide if I am crazy for not being as excited about this place as I wanted to be...


#8 Priscilla

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:22 PM

Melissa, not everyone is going to be as attached to Cream Pan as I am, I know this!

I like your detailed writeup and, esp., your openmindedness about trying multiple times and multiple items. (Times/items: Anagram!)

Our first visit those several years ago after commendation from Joan (whom I knew only online at the time) enthralled us. To us is was very like a place that might appear on the Japanese Sunday night dramas we watch (subtitled in English) on KSCI. Dishes right off of Dotchi Cooking Showdown, a cooking game show we also watched on that channel, were right there in the case: Curry pan, hot dog pan, croquette sandwich -- we were thrilled to find these things, and so well made.

The pastries came the closest to pastry in Paris we'd had since being there -- even just this past weekend Ivan gave me a little crust from his pear-almond and the aroma rising through my upper palate just gave me unstoppable thoughts of France. That just doesn't happen anywhere else.

I attribute at least part of the powerful mystique of the strawberry croissant enjoys among the Yelpers to this ineffable, magical element. That particular pastry is not too French, but there is just something about its balance of flavor and texture, necessarily including the few careful strawberry slices, so that, as you know, everybody goes wild for it.

(Interestingly, she said, meaning it was interesting to HER, on two recent visits we eavesdropped on two different French families there -- I'd wondered if French expats had found CP, but it took all these years to hear the proof.)

With all the hundreds of CP things we have had over the years, we haven't had strawberry croissants much, Le Mangeur a couple of times, maybe. But I will say when we brought dessert to Ivan's parents recently we went for the strawberry croissants, because of their wide popularity, and they did their job. AND a tray of mini ones bought over this past New Year's holiday wielded some kind of something over our household. Clearly we are not immune, though it's not a regular item for us.

As a bread baker, sort of from wanting to but mostly because finding good bread is difficult (and was more so years ago), I was just floored by the quality and purity of CP breads. Once I was lucky enough to see the poolishes bubbling in three bowls -- THREE poolishes, three DIFFERENT poolishes, for what was (especially then) a teensy operation. You rarely find a great patissier who is equally as good with boulangerie.

And stacked up bags of what I consider the ONLY correct flour, hi-gluten unbleached, for bread, and C&H Sugar (which really is the best) and Plugra butter, and so on. I could go on, in fact I usually DO go on. Commitment to good ingredients is vital to good result, and there are just a lot a lot a lot of bakeries using such awful stuff you might as well just get a Costco cake.

But the proof, as always, is in the pud. We rely on the perfect sandwich bread, and the thick-sliced toast bread for toasted open-face sans, and the ciabatta is our regular dinner bread. The baguette is assertively crusty, more so than many baguettes, but its highly developed dough is just 100% nutty, as only properly aged and developed dough can get. The butter rolls save me from making my signature Squishy Rolls.

As I have said elsewhere, any time I can buy something of sufficient quality, esp. made by a full-on expert, so as to relieve me from having to make it myself, that is a good thing. Frees me up to cook more, more of the things I want to cook. Which is pretty much an infinitely continually increasing list.

As for cooked food, Ivan continues to only get the prosciutto san, and still likes it. I have been impressed by the sight of the omelettes going to other tables, but never order them in restaurants. I'm glad your fillings were good, dunno about the unseasoned eggs. I approve of the chef's egg cookery as it pertains to the egg on my bagel san (which usually has visible s & p, but one time did not). And eggs are like in my top 5 foods.

There is usually pork katsu lunch box in the case... but also there used to be a chicken katsu sandwich on the butter roll sans -- maybe they were out when you were there? Having said that, misunderstandings are not unknown at CP, but everybody is so nice about it.

So, going forward, since you are willin', maybe do try the fruity baked stuff. Ivan's been really liking the fruit tarts and the rose/raspberry macarons, but also does not say no to the more rustic apple or blueberry pastries. Have you tried the curry pan? It is yum.

Everything about Cream Pan is subtle and idiosyncratic and uncompromising, reflecting the personality of an actual person behind the business. I love that! I bet you'll find something you really like there, Melissa. There's other mystiques besides strawberry croissant.

#9 Joan

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 08:25 PM

I've never seen French people here. I've seen them at Pascal Epicerie (actually that's where I took my French tutor and she fell in love and never looked back). Also, I've seen them at Pierre Boulangerie et Patisserie in Westminster, which I am not really that fond of anymore (prices went up, quality went down).

--oh yeah, I LOVED that Yamo bread you got me. I love the breads here but as a vegan that's the only one I can eat. I ate it for lunch with a big, luxurious blanket of this organic peanut butter I bought, spread all over each big fluffy slice. Oh man.

I actually am not the biggest fan of the croissant type items, except maybe the blueberry croissant. I think their regular croissant is a little weird looking and kinda hard, but that's just me. Boule in Los Angeles had what I thought was a GREAT croissant (flakey, crusty, buttery), but haven't had it in a while so I don't know if it's still good.

I used to LOVE the caramel custard (flan?) here, but haven't had it in a while. Haven't had a lot of things in a while. :-(

Edited by Joan, 12 February 2009 - 08:29 PM.

#10 alosha7777

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 01:18 PM

How about emits? Or mites? Or smite? Okay, I'm done hehe. I love words...

Thanks for the detailed commentary Priscilla, which I knew I could count on. I absolutely agree that in everything they make CP uses fresh, high-quality, "correct" ingredients. And no matter what, I would include that in my assessment of them. It's the kind of attention to detail that makes them admirable in what they do.

And as I indicated when talking about the egg sandwich, their soft roll was fantastic. I know they are wonderful bakers. No doubt.

So yes, I will be going again. I mean, really, they're 2 minutes away, so there's no reason I can't eventually try nearly everything on their menu. And I may. Give me some time. I'll try the prosicutto sandwich - I nearly did last visit - and like I said, also the ham and cheese croissant. And I'll also grab a ciabbata to use at home. Perhaps that's what I should focus on here - finding wonderful bread for my own use since I am not a home baker. I'll report back. smile.gif Thanks again!

#11 alosha7777

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:55 PM

Two more visits!

Saturday I went and brought back a bunch of stuff for me and Steve.

  • Blueberry croissant, slightly warmed - wonderful and it had lots of fresh blueberries
  • Hot dog thingies - pretty good
  • Sandwich stack with four tiny sandwiches - one ham/lettuce, two egg/tomato and one tuna/cucumber - Love these!! And their white bread is like a pillow around the fillings.
  • Cinnamon roll with pecans - far too dry
  • Ham and cheese croissant, warmed - my lord, so good, I wanted to get in my car, go back over there and ask for two more. I can't wait for this weekend to get one again.
  • And yes, another strawberry croissant - I wanted Steve to try it to see if I was crazy not to be jumping up and down about it the way everyone else does. He liked it, but not any more than I did.
Then yesterday for lunch I had to run by my house for a minute, so I went by for lunch and got lentil soup and one of those fantastic little sandwich stacks. Healthy and light and perfect.

I'll admit that overall, I'm won over. I seriously think I will eat their whole menu before all is said and done. I've found enough good stuff to keep plowing through it hehe.

Gotta grab a ciabatta or half a loaf next time so Steve can try the bread, which is, of course, their finest product.

Edited by alosha7777, 18 February 2009 - 02:57 PM.

#12 Priscilla

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:41 PM

Melissa I am so glad you found things you like! I am not surprised but that doesn't make me any less glad.


Ya, CP sandwich bread, now THERE's a mystique. It is so good, its goodness is ineffable. And the lunch box is just perfection. It just is.

Lately there has appeared a jalapeno bagel... well, we like CP bagels anyways (not a superdense NY-style, which we also like, but a vision of a bagel through the particular prism of a fanciful Japanese French baker/pastry chef) and then to see jalapenos and yellow cheese baked on... delicious. Seem to have gotten pretty popular too, sometimes they are sold out.

I was hoping you would find something useful about Cream Pan. That is the deciding factor of any new place: Is this place of any use to me? Aside from all the great prepared stuff, being able to buy a worthy ciabatta to accompany what you're cooking at home is MAJOR usefulness.

#13 Priscilla

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:04 PM

CP/Japonaise is expanding again! This is very exciting to me, because I want them to stay stay stay thrive thrive thrive.

Had whole wheat butter rolls and ciabatta rolls w/our Easter brunch.

Did I forget to post about my this-year's birthday cheesecake back at the end of March? Yet another weird custom dec conveyed by Ivan to the nice CP people, and they are STILL nice to us!

Cheesecake ethereally light, beautiful, wondering. Did I mention it is a white chocolate cheesecake, even though they no longer put that on the sign? But it's in there, and no mistake. I don't like the baby-food aspect of most trad cheesecake, but CP's is a whole 'nother animal. Totally due to the hybrid vigor of its multi-cultiness. Yummers.

When getting the Easter rolls on the Saturday before we hopped over to Claro's after for more big green Sicilian olives and some other stuff. Love going to Claro's at holidaytime. That week would have been one of two, too, where the Wednesday farmers market on El Camino Real there could match up with Claro's, since they deign to open 2 Wednesdays a year, the week of Easter and that of Christmas.

Did not make use of that congruence myself this year, but was glad to get my olives on Saturday.

#14 Priscilla

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:41 PM

OK the BIG NEWS IS Cream Pan is BACK!!!!

The regular Cream Pan of history, I mean, and that hardly EVER happens!

We, all us Cream Pan devotees, have been watching the mysterious build-out occurring down at the other end of the strip there, where the bead store vacated (moved elsewhere nearby in Tustin as I recall).

Last week the lovely Cream Pan signage was moved down thataways, and today, TODAY, glorious today, Cream Pan was open, a walk-in bakery takeaway very like what Cream Pan started out as only bigger inside, more cases, and next door to its original location, which now anchors the middle of this new, dareIsay improved Cream Pan and its larger sibling Japonaise, down at the other end.

So of course, before we went to see the North Tustin garden participating in Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour's Sunday lineup, and (of course) after we had breakfast at the Japonaise side, strangely empty for a fine Sunday morning such as this but still, sort of bustling with that good buzz it has, we walked into the Cream Pan side and got our usual takeaway supplies.

Yay. Hope it is a HUGE ONGOING SUCCESS, is all I can say. Well, probably there'll be more, but that is it for the time being.

#15 Priscilla

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 01:47 PM

Took my sister and our niece to Japonaise/CP today for late breakfast. Everything was so good as usual. I had the chance to NOT have A Set since it was long after its 10 a.m. cutoff and took the opportunity to have shrimp curry, which has been hovering there on the handwritten sheet lo these many months but I'm always ordering A Set. Usually. Finally, today, shrimp curry. So good! The excellent curry sauce from the other curries but sauce only, and three elegantly arranged and prepared tempura shrimp, the style also having panko, and delicious rice. Also the red daikon pickle (think it's daikon)... sososo good.

Such delicious coffee, as per usual, and good dogwatching, and Cream Pan bread provisioning.

#16 Priscilla

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 10:46 PM

Kind of shocked today to see a sign on Japonaise's door, that it will be closing and reopening in September as Kappo Udon. Our breakfast server said it'll be open 10-10, there'll be a Japanese chef.

POSSIBLE, she said, breakfast will resume on the Cream Pan side.

Oh well, I'll miss my A Set. But lunch box ain't too bad a fate, if it comes to that. There'll still be the excellent cafe, and the essential bakery goods.

I just wonder, is Yoshi giving up the cafe side or is the new concept his as well? Perhaps the facts will float to me over the Cream Pan transom.

#17 Priscilla

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 01:18 PM

Saw the Japonaise chef, Nino, in Cream Pan, where he's working out the menu for the new Kappo Udon! So glad he's involved I thought he was really good.

Today, saw something that really made me glad: omurice! Since Maestro in the Mitsuwa food court changed hands and changed its menu, no more omurice for us. Until now! By our favorite Japonaise chef! So, that is good.

His takeaway dishes look very very good. I had my eye on a cold soba tray, but couldn't not get a ham and cheese croissant. But there is omurice in my future, in my near future, that is a fact.

#18 Priscilla

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:12 PM

Cream Pan is on limited hours through October 30th (Friday), 6 a.m. to noon, while the owners are away and baking is limited.

(6 a.m. is actually earlier han the usual 7, so that's nice.) There was a pretty good selection today midmorning, and Chef Nino was on the scene so there were prepared dishes as well. Sandwich bread was in good supply, luckily, since everybody's always buying it.

#19 Priscilla

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 05:04 PM

And no rustic breads or baguettes either, for the duration. And no pastry fahncies except the mystique-imbued strawb croissant.

But there is plenty of delicious stuff even so. Plus Chef Nino's prepared food, which people seem to be buying in multiples.

And the coffee's excellence is unaffected, thank God.

#20 Priscilla

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 11:59 AM

Yoshi is back in black and so are his rustic breads. Availed ourselves of ciabatta this a.m. with a strong feeling of relief. Other things too, but not so relievedly since they haven't been on vacation.

Saw a very very cool ultra-blacked-out Lamborghini on the way to CP, turned up El Camino Real there but went elsewhere. As always, heard it before we saw it, and then could hear it nearby somewheres as we parked in the CP lot, but it was not to be seen again. Unfortunately.