Petaluma - Karinas Mexican Bakery Tambien Oaxacan Pan de Muertos
Three years ago, Melanie did an excellent report about this great little Mexican Bakery (link below). It is still going strong and I would guess a bit better. There are a few different things.
Theres also a link to a best of article that gives a little more info about Karinas.
Albino Carreno, the owner dropped by, but it is Harry who runs the counter during the day and makes the lightest, most flavorful sopes.
Harry said that Carreno goes to Oaxaca once a month and brings back supplies including the quesillo de Oaxaca. Harry gave me a generous sample of shredded cheese which is lighter and milder than mozzarella.
For Halloween they had the traditional Oaxacan bread of the dead (pan de Muertos). It is a large loaf of sweet bread sprinkled with purple sugar and decorated with a plastic skull.
Very, very good champurrado, hot chocolate thickened with masa and
flavored with piloncillo (a Mexican brown sugar sold in cone shape). Sometimes these atole drinks are too thick and bland. This was lighter and full of chocolate and a comforting drink on this chilly day. I guess hot chocolate season is here.
I was only going to stop by and check the bakery out, but asked two women who were in the parking lot what they liked and they said the tamales. Harry said they couldnt keep up with the demand today and a new batch would be ready in 20 minutes. So I had a hot chocolate and the sope while waiting. .
Mildly spicy chicken, coated with red chile sat on a oval shaped and almost flakey corn based disk. It was really light. There were also some black beans, chopped lettuce and a nice crumbly white cheese.
On Melanies visit, they didnt have tamales Oaxacan-style wrapped in banana leaves. Today they had a banana leaf wrapped chicken mole tamale. I liked this most of the three we sampled. The other two, chicken and pork, were wrapped in corn husks and like all tamales, best straight from the steamer where the masa was very delicate and light. I tasted a bite immediately. At home, they were fine, but didnt have the same airiness. .
The tlayudas, the huge tortillas of Oaxaca, have their own glass case are were looking fresh and delicious.
The bottles of Noni juice they sell ($45), are not available by the glass. Turns out they are some sort of herbal health drink, More info in link below.
There is a case of Mexican baked goods.
The custard empanada was a little doughy but had a generous sweet custard filling. I tried a thick slice of their special Pan Fino, a thick, almost babka-like bread. Harry says it makes excellent French Toast and that lots of restaurants order it for that. It had the slightest whisper of an anise-like flavor.
While waiting, I was looking at the glass deli case with bags of pumpkin seeds on top. Inside were cakes, sodas, bags of mole, whole leaves, fresh chiles, tamarind-like pods that I always forget the name of.
I didnt remember that Melanie had stopped by this bakery until I saw the bags of chapulines (fried grasshoppers). I passed on these as well, but if we ever have that tequila chowdown, I may bring a bag along. Im sure by the end of the evening, Id take a try. After three years, the mention of those grasshoppers made that post stay in my memory.
I didnt expect to go to Karinas so I dont have an answer about the type of mole they sell which was mentioned in the post below. Im probably going to be up in Petaluma soon, so Ill ask next time. I want to try the tortas which are grilled on the house made rolls maybe with a licuado (milk shake).
Harry has excellent English & Spanish and is very personable. I asked him what part of Mexico he was from. He said India
Karina's Mexican Bakery
827 Petaluma Blvd N
Petaluma, CA 94952
Hours (changed slightly since Melanies Visit)
Open 7 days: 5:30 am - 7:30 pm
More about Karinas.
More about champurrado
I'm glad you got to try Karina's. It has many things that are hard to find, and they're high quality to boot. On the weekend they make churros, but I've never been there early enough to get one.
Someone has quite a touch with making custard, as you found out with the empanada. The cream horns filled with that custard are just fabulous and the tres leches cake is still the best one to my taste. When I was working in OC a couple years ago I had a chance to try the tres leches that the LA 'hounds said was the best in SoCal. Not even close to Karina's. On the weekends, the case usually has several large ones wishing "happy birthday" to this person or that. I imagine it's a very popular party cake in this town. In fact, we got one for Windy's birthday party in Petaluma a couple years ago.