Since I was already on the Southside, I thought that I would stop at a favorite panaderia of mine, Lupita’s Bakery. I found this bakery a few years back when I was volunteering to teach math at a school on the Southside and just happened in to get some good pastries.
The thing that amazes me the most about the bakery is the hours they are open – every day they are open from 6:00A–8:00P, except that on Sundays they close at 7:00P! That work ethic just amazes me, and you can really taste it in their creations.
Let me be the first to tell you that I do not know many of the names of the pastries, so you are going to just have to go in there and try them for yourselves. The empanadas are good and they have a pumpkin one that is probably my favorite. One of my Mexican friends is a big fan of their pan de huevo and I think it is good too. This past time I learned of a new name, piedra, which literally means stone or rock in English; this is a pastry that is not soft but kind of “rocky” if you will that had a stripe of chocolate done the middle.
The thing that I enjoy most about the Mexican pastries is that they are sweet but not overbearingly so. It is almost like an understated sweet that is refreshing to have after being bombarded by the Krispy Kreme donuts of the world. The other thing that I like about Mexican pastries is that they are cheap! I think everything in the store is like 40 cents, so whenever I am there, I just start pointing and loading up a bag full of all the goodness.
One of the things that you need to know is that most of the staff (particularly the older people) does not speak much English. This is ok because one of two things will happen: (1) if school is out, they will ask their grandchildren to help translate (there is a sweet little girl and her younger brother) that will tell you all about the fillings of the different pastries and help translate which ones you want, or (2) you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish by being patient, smiling, and pointing and saying the occasional “Gracias” as you go along. At any rate, do not let your lack of knowledge in Spanish keep you away from this treasure on the Southside.
Value: 9.5/10 (at 40 cents a pastry, who can deny it!?!)
Atmosphere: 9.5/10 (you feel as though you are transported into a bakery in old Mexico)
Service: 10/10 (the owners are incredibly friendly, just remember you have to be patient if you don’t know any Spanish)
Taste: 9.5/10 (you can taste the difference in these pastries as opposed to those at a big box store)
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