Richmond, CA: Linda's Bakery - Tamales negros and fresh chipilin on Friday
When I left for a year in Guatemala, LInda's was a Mexican bakery under anoher name. It didnt look very different when I returned, just like it had developed over the past year. I never noticed the name change until looking for the restaurant record.
However, there was a sign in Spanish on the wall about chipilin and Friday. I learned that on Friday they sell fresh chipiliin, a leafy green used in Guatemalan cooking. Then I learned that Linda is from San Marcos, Guatemala and on the weekend they make Guatemalan tamales, chuchitos and atol. Chuchitos are similar to a small, round-ish version of a Mexican tamal
I asked about tamales negros because those were one of my favorite tamales in Guatemala ... made with a chocolate sauce and filled with nuts, raisins, prunes and pork. Linda's makes these at Christmas time which is when these tamales are made in Guatemala.
So far I've only tried the chicken tamal ($2.50) which is the moist type typical of Central America. It had a strip of red pepper and a bit of white meat chicken. There is a dab of tomato sauce. It is wrapped in a plantano leaf and then wrapped in wax paper. t was a bit on the salty side which I'm guessing it got from Mahler, powdered chicken boullon that is used for almost EVERYTHING in Guatemala. It is to Guatemalan cooking as msg is to Chinese.
I like Linda's pan dulce. Though it is slightly a bit more expensive than most (10 - 20 cent difference), it is also a bit better quality. Bags of about a half-dozen day old pan dulce are on the counter for $1.50.
There is a small selection of groceries which I haven't looked at very closely.
As to chipilin, seriously it just seems to add color. I had a chipilin soup that I liked at a well-known Antigua restuarant, but if I didn't know better I'd say it was chicken broth with spinach though chipilin doesn't have the tanic quality of spinach This blog had a good description and photos.
More about chipilin
On Friday they also sell Pollo Comparo that is 'imported' from Los Angeles.
There are two tables if you want to eat in.
Someone on yelp said the baker is from Oaxaca, Mexico. I didn't get too many details. I went to Linda's because, frankly I'm burnt out on food. I'm just tired of if. I figured that there would be nothing to report here. Oh well.
Flickr photostream with additional photos
3431 MacDonald Ave, Richmond, CA