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Aug 1, 2010 08:59 PM

What are the top 5 panaderias in la county?

Help. I'll be in town soon and I'm on a mission to find the best mex bread in la.
I wonder if any of them use a sourdough starter or organic ingredients?

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  1. Don't know about the sourdough starter (is that something that is typical of Mexican or Salvadoran bakeries?) or organic ingredients, but the one Mexican bakery that I've liked in the past has been La Perla in Highland Park.

    6645 N Figueroa St
    Los Angeles, CA 90042
    (323) 255-1688

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Yeah, I don't know about the starter. That's why I ask.
      It's impossible to find a baking book that includes mexican breads.
      So, I have'nt been able to research that.
      Anyone else? best la panaderias?

      1. re: ChrisG.PersonalChef

        I wonder if you could work at one of the better panaderias for a week or two to get an inside look at their baking practices and customs. I'm sure it might be possible to exchange some knowledge so that both parties benefit.

        1. re: ChrisG.PersonalChef

          I'm not esp. well-traveled in Mexico, but it's never struck me as a place known for its bread. In L.A., the panaderias/pastelerias are about as cookie-cutter as Thai restaurants. Aside from bollios, what sort of bread did you have in mind? I may be out on a limb here, but I'm thinking what you're looking for may not even exist in Mexico.

          I have my favorite places for certain standard pastries (orejas, etc.), but this isn't what you're looking for.

      2. FIVE? I can't get past La Mascota and La Monarca.... LOL!!

        I am not sure about the Starter, Mexican Bollios are done in the french tradition. Here is a report I did a while ago on Yucatecan Panaderias....


        11 Replies
        1. re: Dommy

          "FIVE? I can't get past La Mascota and La Monarca.... LOL!!"
          _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

          We love La Monarca! We tried the Santa Monica shop yesterday and everything we tried was delicious!

          I like that their sweets are a little less sweet and lighter than most bakeries.

          Our service was with great enthusiasm and energy. The owner?/manager walked us around the cases and described each item as though these were his babies.

          Choosing what not to have was most difficult. The pastries are Mexican, but the French chef has his way with each one...the textures are French pastry-perfect and that is the soul of La Monarca.

          La Monarca Bakery
          1300 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica
          Open 6:00am to 9:00pm every day, we were told.

          1. re: liu

            I always hold back my indignation when people compare Mexican pastries to french as a mark of 'superiority'

            Actually viennoiserie is named after Vienna, because fine delicate pastry actually has its origins in Austria. And it just so happened that Mexico has an Austrian King (placed by france) in the mid 1800s as the 'Mexican' identity was a finally taking shape. Although hardly beloved even to this day, Maximillian had a profound effect on 'Mexicaness" (As did the cultural beliefs of his arch-nemesis Benito Juarez)

            Fine, delicate, buttery, amazing pastry is made throughout Mexico... in some areas that has never seen a 'proper' Croissant (which would be called a Cuerno anyway... ;)). I am SO happy that the folks at La Monarca care THAT much to bring it to the U.S. instead of the usual "Well, it's better than nothing" attitude that permiates most Panaderia... Now if only someone would set up a REAL Mexican Tortilleria... then my life would be complete...


            1. re: Dommy

              > Now if only someone would set up a REAL Mexican Tortilleria

              Is there anything that comes close?

              1. re: Peripatetic

                NOPE.... you can see my report on REAL Mexican tortillas here... a completely different beast in texture and taste and thickness...


                *le sigh!*


                1. re: Dommy

                  My favorite are the enormous "Blanquitas" made in Oaxaca and Teotitlan de Valle. They are so very thin and delicate.

                2. re: Peripatetic

                  Tortilleria la California on Cypress in Glassell Park. Corn and Flour tortilla factory with a little service window in the back where you can buy fresh this what you are looking for?

                  1. re: jackattack

                    It's funny because I just went there last week in hopes of finding something special... The tortillas were good, but did not have the same sort of texture, flavor and weight (The weight thing is essential... the tortillas must PUFF when they bake) . Also their handmade Flour tortillas are SUPER thick. For the BEST handmade flour tortillas, I perfer La Azteca Tortilleria, not quite there... but very good and THIN!


                    For a point of compare though, Go to Mexicali Taco Co. They drive to Mexico every week and pick up their tortilla stock there (SUPER thin). The only issue is by the time they set up, the toritllas are a little old... nothing beats these thin flavorbombs fresh...


                    La Azteca Tortilleria
                    4538 E Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                    Mexicali Taco & Co
                    1820 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

              2. re: liu

                I was so excited when La Monarcha opened in Santa Monica. It's a lot closer to where I work than Highland Park.

                The great thing about that store is the people there are the nicest staff in the world. They always come around with samples. The first time I went there I bought some pan dulces and they gave me a bag of cookies for free! Really good coffee too!

                1. re: bsquared2

                  I had their Cafe de Olla yesterday and it was okay... missing some notes, but otherwise nice and smooth. I did however LOVE their Hot Chocolate. Like a completely refind Abuelita... so SMOOOOTH and frothy! :) They sell the mix at the store too! Makes a great gift! ;D


                  1. re: Dommy

                    We had their regular coffee...very reasonable at $1.70 for a gigantic cup. I agree with you, Dommy, that it was not remarkable, as I had hoped, but it was a nice accompaniment with the pastry. And as bsquared2 mentioned, "...the people there are the nicest staff in the world," so we were happy just being there!

              3. re: Dommy

                I second La Mascota. Pick up some tamales while you're there...

              4. I don't know about top 5 but El Gallo in East Los Angeles draws a humungous crowd of mostly Mexican/Mexican American and other latino population than most in that area. Their product is always fresh and plentiful. Their rolls are the star of their offerings and people come from wide and far to buy them. You either have to pre-order them or get there pretty early to make sure they have them. I don't know about sour dough starters or organic ingredients. Never looked into that.

                El Gallo Restaurant
                4421 Las Posas Rd Ste C, Camarillo, CA 93010

                1. One that I've been enjoying lately is Los Reyes, that's in Bell next door to La Casita Mexicana on Gage. Really good flavor of Mexican bread, interesting pastries that I haven't had anywhere else. Lots of canele flavor, good rolls. My wife swears by their pan de huevo and cuernos.

                  I also like how they often just roll out the bakery racks into the bakery to cool off, and you can get your selection off the racks while they're still warm.


                  La Casita Mexicana
                  4030 Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201

                  1. "le sigh!"
                    My feelings exactly :-(.

                    However, I just discovered some above average bread in an unexpected place - El Super!
                    The one in Inglewood is now carrying some new fresh breads labeled 'Birote Estilo Guadalajara' which are quite good. Think of a bolillo with a more substantial crust combined with a dense, moist center that many good sourdough baguettes have (btw these are not sour). Very good for deli meat sandwiches, not for tortas. Can't beat Four for a buck.

                    The regular birotes have a different texture probably because they are effing Huge ($1 each) - what would you use those for?

                    El Super
                    3321 W Century Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90303

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DiveFan

                      Birotes are the proper bread for tortas ahogadas, the famous Guadalajara pork sandwiches drowned in hot sauce. The more substantial crust helps the bread stand up to the crimson onslaught.

                      1. re: DiveFan

                        After reflection that does make sense, I just had a mental block against cutting out the nice dense crumb.
                        BTW the ones mentioned would make fairly small tortas (~ 5 - 6 inches long). The bread to filling ratio may work out better like double 4 inch 'mini' tortillas do for tacos.