Foodie Friday: Clover Bakery & Cafe

One thing that surprised me when I lived in Japan was the number of bakeries around. Not only for their sheer number (think Starbucks-around-every-corner-of-the-city number), but also the popularity. Like most Asian countries, rice is a central part of a meal, and in most Japanese’s minds, bread is associated with western countries. Then again, in Japan one is always on the go, whether from commuting or staying out late working. It’s a quick, cheap, and very portable meal to bring with you when traveling or rushing to work. Vie De France, one of the more famous bakery chains, was a usual go-to for my Peach sisters and I before heading out to travel.

Bakeries. Another reason why Japan is a dangerous for me and in my top ten of things I miss about Japan. Which is why I was sooo dismayed happy  to find Clover Bakery & Cafe: a Japanese bakery which is next to a Japanese supermarket and Kinokuniya no less.  Saratoga just got *that* much more dangerous.

 

Clover Bakery ♧
♧Clover Bakery ♧

 

Unlike America where you just go up to the counter in the bakery section of a supermarket and order what you want, a Japanese bakery tends to use a more cafeteria-like approach when purchasing your carby goodness:

 

20130213_170008
#1: Grab your weapon and shield! I mean tray and tongs!

 

Next…the hardest part…for me anyway:

 

Choose your poison~
#2: Choose your poison~

 

In addition to the standard fruit pastries, anpan (red bean-filled bread) and cream pan, Japan truly makes bread their own when baking savory types including カレーパン、or curry pan (bread), mentaiko pan (ew), the odd corn and mayo pan (honestly, what is UP with the corn+mayo combo Japan?!) and the ultimate carb selections like spaghetti, yakisoba, or okonomiyaki bread. Let’s not forget the cute Anpanman, Hello Kitty shaped anko bread too! If you go to a lot of bakeries, ahem like me , you’ll notice bakeries tend to usually sell the same things. If you’re lucky they might sell artisan breads for a slightly high price. Of course in addition to bread, bakery/cafe combos including Clover sell your standard coffee/tea/juices. When I went with my aunt we both ordered a matcha latte, which was so-so to be honest, but we didn’t go there for the drinks!

Clover was a home away from home for me. It reminded me of the little bakery in my little town in Okayama. Sigh, good times. If you have the chance to visit a Japanese bakery, DO SO. And eat a cute face-shaped bread for me. Oh and if anyone knows some good bakeries let me know! I’m a sucker for bakery/cafe shops.

For those around town and would like to try:

♧ Website

♧ @Cloverbakery They post deals on their twitter. Sadly they’re on weekdays from what I’ve seen.

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