Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Beyond Conchas: La Monarca Bakery in East L.A

About three years ago, I remember reading the L.A Times Food Section and feeling proud, surprised and excited.

They had done a front-page article on Ricardo Cervantez and his groundbreaking demographics upon opening La Monarca Bakery in Huntington Park. Finally offering a little more sophisticated Pan Dulce fare to the Latino market...which is often neglected in the eyes of much of the retail food industry. Stepping beyond ultra-traditional Conchas and Cochinitos and supplementing the usual Mexican Bakery arsenal with things like Napoleon's (Mil Hojas), Tiramisu and his very own Goat-Milk Caramel Dulce De Leche Cake. Avant-Gard pastry thought carries out through beverages as well, organic brew in East L.A? Never thought I would live to see the day...

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Sticking true to his word, another Monarca Bakery has opened up in East L.A in the Commerce Shopping Center, where just about every Latino East Sider goes to hang, buy socks or even watch a flick. The new location also happens to be just a super-powered stones throw from my house.

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Also offering house-made, sorbet-like "Ice's" (Nieves de Agua), including the rare water-based Coco (coconut) with tiny morsels of mature rich, coconut flesh.

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Not forgetting his roots, Conchas, a yeast bread with a lard/butter-sugar-crumble topping shaped in the pattern of a sea shell and probably the most traditional of all Pan Dulce--are redefined. Light, spongy with a perfect bread-to-topping ratio, the difference here in quality of ingredients is vastly noticed, the paper bag here will hold up grease-less, unlike the Concha's in just about every bakery in East L.A.


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This goes for the plethora of delicate Polvoron style butter cookies too, so tightly packed but gives away elegantly at the bite. Pecan, powdered sugar 'Wedding cookies', Cinnamon, options abound...but all superbly consistent.

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East L.A...why not?

5700 E. Whittier Blvd.
Commerce CA.
90022

(323) 869-8800

6 comments:

jen said...

Thanks for the tip! And not too far from Chago Ahogadas, so you can burn your tastebuds off then revive them with some sweets later...

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Teenage Glutster,

La Monarca seems really cool. Thanks for the info! :) I've been looking for a good bakery when I stop by East L.A.

SinoSoul said...

man! I was so keen on trying this place last nite but Googling last nite gave me NO address. Where exactly is this joint J?

jen said...

You mean there are people who don't know where Commerce Center is? Just kidding, I too was once an East Los newbie.

Thanks for the blog visit, Glutster. sorry the first post was me dissing your hometown, it's just been a rough and somewhat violent few weeks at work.

Food GPS said...

Good report. I've driven by the Huntington Park original many times on the drive to La Casita Mexicana, but Jaime and Ramiro always feed me so well that I've never had room for La Monarca. Sounds like the bakery is worth its own drive. Dulce de leche cake, here I come.

Anonymous said...

Men , this guys hit a homerun with this bakery. The cakes are to die for, they mentioned 12 different flavors? Keep it up.

Pastel lover