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the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Jury’s Still Out

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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.

Just a third of the baked goods at Casa Latina

Just a third of the baked goods 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.

Yummy tamale!

Yummy tamale!

Chicken taco. The garnish was onion-cilantro deliciousness.

Chicken taco. The garnish was onion-cilantro deliciousness.

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).

Carnitas tacos

Carnitas tacos with a bottle of tamarind soda.

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.

Selecting the pastries

Now here comes the hard part: selecting the pastries.

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.

From top left, clockwise: custard thing, pineapple empanada, chocolate molasses bread.

From top left, clockwise: custard thing, pineapple empanada, chocolate molasses bread.

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.

Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

6 thoughts on “Jury’s Still Out

  1. This is adorable. M’s looks are unmistakable, no? I remember really loving the carnitas she brought home for me that night, though like you, I was unimpressed when I tried the pastries with my coffee the next morning.

    Int’l has GOT to have improved pastries. We should have a field trip soon!

  2. In MY next blog, I will be borrowing the tomboy for a sampling of Southern food.

  3. I usually go for the more bread-like pastries and they’re not nearly as sweet as American scones, muffins, etc. They’re good after a spicy taco to sort of calm your senses down, but I don’t generally like them on their own. In isolation, I prefer something sweeter or less-sweet, not something in between.

  4. @ SBJ: Yay field trip! What did M think of the pastries?

    @ BangieB: Tomboy’s in heavy demand! But I guess SBJ already knew that.

    @ em: Also, I think some pastries are meant to be dunked in coffee or Mexican hot chocolate. I still prefer churros though. 🙂

  5. the bread was definitely not as good as their pork! of course, I’ve never bought bread at 8pm. Seems wrongful. let’s all head to mexico and do this the right way!

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