This is the first repeat review ever on this blog. In December, I wrote about the delicious tamales from Casa Latina. Since then, I’ve been meaning to go back with a Mexican so that s/he could provide expert advice on the huge assortment of authentic Mexican baked goods. Luckily for me, my very authentic Mexican friend MA picked up my broken-ankled mess last month to get dinner and sweets at Casa Latina.
Before I get to the sweets, let’s start with the savory. Last time I had the tamale plate with one chicken and one pork tamale, served with rice and beans. This time, to save room for dessert, I got one pork tamale and one chicken (soft) taco. Very important note: I (wo)manned up and got the hot sauce this time. And it was GOOD. So much better than medium. MA said that no real Mexican would get the medium salsa. (She didn’t actually say that; I inferred it from the quizzical look she gave me when I said I got the medium sauce last time. Her look said, “Why the hell would any sane person ever get the medium salsa?”) At $2 a piece for the taco and tamale, dinner was not only delicious, it was a bargain.
MA went straight for the carnitas tacos. What can I say — she doesn’t mess around. She gave it two thumbs up (thumbs not shown).
After dinner, it was onto the baked goods! I bugged MA to tell me about every single pastry and bread in the case, and we put our selections on a big metal round tray.
I don’t know why I think this, but I almost always assume that, in a pastry wrestling match, any non-American baked good will kick an American baked good’s ass. I just assume foreign bakeries are superior. That said, I am still undecided on the Mexican baked goods. I really, really, REALLY wanted to like what I got, but I have to be honest: I really disliked 2 of the 3 items.
1. Custard thing. I love custard in many forms: flan, Chinese egg custard, custard pie. But this thing, I did not love one bit. The filling caught me off guard, as it was not really pudding like, nor was it thick and egg-y. It was more like cheese danish filling, except stringy. Gag. However, the crust was pretty good — a lemony, cookie crumbly thing, which I ate sans filling.
2. Pineapple empanada. This time, I didn’t have any issue with the filling, which tasted like your standard dessert fruit filling. The crust, however, was dry and not a good texture. It sort of reminded me of cardboard or construction paper. Sorry.
3. Chocolate molasses bread. This one took me by surprise, because I was initially VERY scared. It weighed, like, 3 pounds, and was half the size of my head. Basically, it was a dense, sweet bread made out of molasses and covered with chocolate. MA said that it is usually much smaller and traditionally made into the shape of a pig, which I thought sounded really cute. (Casa Latina also bakes the pig-shaped ones, but they were already sold out that day.) Initially, I was overwhelmed by the density of the bread, but then it really grew on me. I would definitely buy this one again.