La Monarca Bakery
Scene of the Crime: La Monarca Bakery
1300 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(With locations in Huntington Park and East Los Angeles)
www.lamonarcabakery.com (They have an English and Spanish version of the site!)
I have a confession to make: sometimes I think I love Mexican food more than I love my husband. Not a lot more, but definitely more. Mostly because my husband is not covered in cheese and mole sauce, which puts him at a serious disadvantage. You know what I don’t love, though? Mexican desserts. I usually have my birthday dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and every year I’m having a tremendous time gorging myself on enchiladas and getting margarita drunk (the best kind of drunk) when all of a sudden the candle laden plate of flan comes out like a giant gelatinous buzz kill. And just like that I’m reminded that I’m not getting any younger and that tomorrow I will have a margarita hangover (the worst kind of hangover).
But when La Monarca Bakery opened up a west side location (in addition to their Huntington Park and East LA locations), I thought maybe it was time for me to give Mexican desserts another try. Owners Alfredo Livas and Ricardo Cervantes, natives of Mexico, met while attending business school at Stanford University and opened the first La Monarca in Huntington Park in 2006. Since then business has been booming and La Monarca is widely regarded as one of L.A.’s best Mexican bakeries. So I tweeted at La Monarca to give me some suggestions about their yummiest offerings and I bought myself a smorgasbord of Mexican pastries. (Fun fact: When you ask Google how to translate ‘smorgasbord’ into Spanish it tells you that the answer is…smorgasbord.)
First up? The guava taquito, which is a sweet version of the traditional Mexican taquito that is stuffed with a guava/cheese filling and coated in sugar. The filling was absolutely delicious and I wish that there had been even more inside the crisp, flaky taquito. Definitely my favorite of the La Monarca offerings.
Next up was a dulce de leche empanada, which is another sweet twist on a traditional Mexican dish. The empanada was filled with a mildly sweet dulce de leche paste and was covered with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar that was delicious.
La Monarca’s twitter guru also recommended that I try the coconut flan. I won’t lie, I was skeptical. I love desserts of all shapes, sizes, varieties and flavors, but flan is the one dessert that I have never been able to get behind. It’s a SLIMY GELATINOUS CUSTARD. I mean, come on. But I wanted to patrol La Monarca properly, so I bought myself some coconut flan. And you know what? It was better than any other flan that I have ever tried, but I am still not joining any flan fan clubs. If they exist. SHUDDER. But if you like flan then you will love La Monarca’s coconut flan.
I also couldn’t resist grabbing a chocolate concha (perhaps the most traditional and well known Mexican pastry) and a cinnamon cookie called an hojarasca (they put them right by the register so HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY NO?). The chocolate concha was essentially just slightly sweet bread that will definitely not sway anyone over to the cause of Mexican desserts. The cinnamon cookie, though, was a nice little treat that tasted particularly good when dipped in a steaming hot cup of café de olla, which is a La Monarca specialty coffee that is brewed with cinnamon and brown sugar to give it a hint of sweetness. The café de olla was light and savory, providing the perfect counterpart to my sweet treats.
Overall, I think that those who love Mexican pastries will adore La Monarca’s wide variety of tasty and authentic treats. And those who don’t already love Mexican pastries will be pleasantly surprised by all that this specialty bakery has to offer.
- dessertpatrol posted this