Cream Pan is a great place for Japanese breakfast: not the age-old, traditional repast, but the breakfast of modern Japan, deeply informed by a European interest. It’s run by Yoshi Inada, who fell in love with baking in Osaka and studied it in Boston. Pan means bread in Japanese, incidentally.
The bakery’s bestseller is its cream pan: a soft, fluffy pastry filled with a large dollop of freshly made cream. That cream filling is velvety; much more like a custard than your typical pastry cream. It’s excellent, says exilekiss.
Cream Pan also offers fresh-baked melon pan. “We were greeted with a flaky, crispy crust, and as we broke into it, it gave way to a fluffy, airy and semi-moist interior,” says exilekiss. It’s the best melon pan he’s had in Southern California, though not quite as great as the best, fresh-from-the-oven melon pans he’s had in Tokyo. Warning: The melon pan doesn’t hold up well over the course of the day. It’s better early in the morning.
Pear almond pastry is wonderfully light and flaky, says exilekiss, filled with half a sliced pear and almond custard. Pain au chocolat is just as nicely textured, and the croissants are good too, especially the strawberry version, filled with fresh strawberries and fresh-made custard. The umeboshi onigiri—plum-filled rice ball—is made with fine rice, the “entire onigiri still moist with a fragrant, spring-herbal scent of Japanese plum permeating throughout,” says exilekiss. They also have kare pan (curry bread), pastry filled with spicy homemade beef curry and deep-fried. It’s very fragrant from an infusion of garam masala.
Cream Pan has excellent sandwiches in a box, and excellent orange juice and coffee, says OCAnn. “They truly are heaven-sent and I wish they were on my commute to work.”
Cream Pan [Orange County]
602 El Camino Real, Tustin