A Piece of Mexico in Santa Monica
I love my Mexican culture and when I find a store, restaurant or any other business that reflects that (especially on the Westside), I must check it out. I was invited by the lovely Yvonne to a tasting at La Monarca Bakery in Santa Monica. The first question I asked was “Can I bring my 3 year olds?” because up until then, it was difficult to attend with 3 year olds or I could not make it due to lack of babysitter. Needless to say, the answer from Yvonne was yes! As I arrived to La Monarca, I whispered to the Virgencita, “please let the kids behave.”
We were greeted by Mary of Wagstaff Worldwide and she then introduced us to Ricardo. Que simpatico! He not only greeted me but Gael and Luna (3 year olds) and made us feel very welcomed. Ladies, Ricardo was having a great conversation with Gael and Luna. How many single men do that?! This is the Gael and Luna that decided to start with the “conchas” de chocolate and vanilla. It was such a success that they asked for seconds. Before the tasting began, I asked for the Café de Olla (coffee brewed with cinnamon and brown sugar). The coffee beans come from the organic farms in Oaxaca. Ricardo mentioned that they went personally to different states in search of the coffee beans for La Monarca Bakery. The smell and the taste of the Café de Olla is delicious! This is one of the choices from their specialties menu for coffee. They also have Café Latte, Cappuccino and Café con leche. Did I mention that the Café de Olla makes you do the happy dance?
On to the food….the delicious food… All the food is made from scratch. There are no mixes or cans in this bakery. The molletes are toasted “bolillos” with beans and queso asadero. It is comfort food at its best. They also have a tasty soyrizo that you wouldn’t know is not real chorizo because of the onions, garlic and other secret seasonings he wouldn’t give up. The machaca is a chipotle braised beef and your other choice is a braised beef in tomatillo salsa verde with cotija cheese. You also have your choice of quiche ranchero or quiche chorizo made from scratch. You find yourself letting the food melt in your mouth while your brain is trying to figure out what spices he used and what the possibility of you trying to duplicate this at home is.
Last but not least are the desserts. In many bakeries, the pan/bread is basically made from the same dough but with different toppings. I am not sure if this is a time saving concept or a budget decision but at La Monarca, each type of pan dulce has its own dough. From the conchas, to the elotito (corn bread so moist, you will scream from delight) and my childhood favorite, the puerquito. The chocolate croissant will make you curl your toes and the puff pastry filled with guayaba is a tasty treat to go with your coffee. Besides, the pan dulce, they also bake bolillos, baguettes, brioche and other artisan breads for you to take home.
I have never been a fan of flan because it is usually too sweet which brings on a headache. I decided to try their flan and it is delicious! It is not too sweet or syrupy. It is in the words of my family “a keeper.” They also have tres leches, dulce de leche, napoleon, fruit tarts in bite size pieces or whole cakes. La Monarca also carries pan de muerto for Day of The Dead celebrations, buñuelos during the Christmas holiday and for the New Year, Rosca de Reyes (plastic babies included). There are not enough adjectives to describe how good everything tastes. Everything is fresh and the flavors are authentic to Mexico.
If this wasn’t enough, La Monarca offers free wi-fi and a free pastry with a purchase of coffee from 6-9 p.m. Did I mention the café de olla?
I was not compensated for this post but I may have gained a pound.
photos of La Monarca Bakery by Yvonne Condes
Yours truly also blogs at I Used To Wear 3 Inch Heels