Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Bakeries of San Miguel

I know people who eat to live and others who live to eat. I am the latter. I'm often planning my next meal before I finish the one I am eating. And I seldom finish a meal without having dessert.

No problem here in Mexico where, with a 20 peso note in hand, you can go into any bakery and come out with not one but a whole bag of goodies...and some change.

Remember, Mexican bakeries do not use preservatives so things should be eaten within a day or two or put in the freezer.

Here are some of our favorites we found around town.

Correo 29
Favorite: Croissants and Brioche.

Perfect French pastries are hard to find. In fact, baking them is so complex, I took classes back in Chicago just to learn how. I can tell you it is a real art.

In Chicago, La Patisserie P on W. Argyle St. was my go-to spot for Croissants. Here in San Miguel, it's Cumpañio (owned by Dos Casas) where the Croissants are 14 pesos or just $1.09. When was the last time you got a Croissant for $1 and some change? And not just any Croissant but a near-perfect one.

These Croissants are better than many of the ones we had in Paris. A delicacy that lives up to the truth that one can never have too much butter.

The Prosciutto and Fontina Cheese Brioche at Sarah’s Pastries and Candies in Macy's Chicago was my favorite brioche in the city. In San Miguel it's Cumpañio again.
And Bostok...slices of butter-loaded day old Brioche soaked in liqueur-infused almond and orange flower syrup often topped with frangipane and slivered almonds and cooked to a crispy-edged perfection. It’s then baked a second time and rounded off with a dusting of powdered sugar.

I recently met Master Baker Raul who also knew that he turned out the best French pastries in town. Honestly, it just doesn't get any better than this.

El Petit Four
Mesones 99
Favorite: Anything chocolate

At this bakery-patisserie, the French-style cakes and cookies are so good that they supply some of the better restaurants around town.

Try their éclairs and fruit tartlets which are delicious. And of course anything chocolate. I'm seriously addicted.

They also serve coffee drinks and sandwiches made with the house-baked baguettes. This one, made with tomato, buffalo mozzarella and olive oil is just 40 pesos.

Ask about their cooking classes. Chef Paco Cardenas first takes you to the market to introduce you to all of his prime vendors. I knew exactly where to shop for the best produce and meat the first month I was here. Definitely worth the price of the class.

Mi Vida
Calle Hernandez Macias 97
Favorite: Onion Focaccia and French bread

I’ve tried the specialty breads at many of the bakeries in town and Mivida’s is the best. You know, the kind that is so crusty that it litters the table with crumbs when you take your first bite.

Great onion and tomato Focaccia. Best French bread in town.

Panaderia La Buena Vida
Hernández Macías # 72-5 and Saturday Organic Market
Favorite: Doughnuts and Brownies

This little bakery turns out the best doughnuts, morning buns, cinnamon rolls and brownies in town. All under 20 pesos.

I also like their multigrain bread and homemade crackers.

I'm not sure what they use to make their doughnuts but the texture is different from every other one I’ve had.

La Espiga
Favorite: Puerquitos

Since 1976, this super-bakery has been turning out traditional Mexican baked goods.

I got 3 pastries and 5 pesos back from my 20 peso bill.
Puerquitos? Come in the afternoon. Puerquitos are 'Gingerbread Pigs,' although they don't actually have ginger or cinnamon in them. They get their spicy-brown goodness from molasses.

Panadería San Sebastián
Calzada De La Aurora 24
Favorite: Empanadas

Some say that their Empanadas are the best. I really like them because they are so thin.

They also bake a lot of classic cookies. These powdered sugar galletas and chocolate cookies are easily washed down with a large glass of ice cold milk.

The almost-as-good-as-my-grandmothers butter cookies are 2.5 pesos each. Yes, I came out with a huge bag. Sorry- not sharing!

La Colmena/The Blue Door Bakery
Relox 21
Favorite: Rosas

Perhaps the most famous bakery in San Miguel, I bought a Cheese Empanada and a famous Rosa for 15 pesos.

Many other Mexican sweets treats line the shelves. Go early when they have just been baked and are still warm.

Panaderia La Purisima
Hernandez Marcias 120
Favorites: Decorated Cookies

A good variety of baked good but their thing is an elaborate, decorated cookie. The perfect gift to tell someone in your life they are special.

The Mesa Grande
Zacateros 49 (at the corner of Pila Seca)
Opens: 8 AM
Favorite: English Muffins

I’ve tried for years to duplicate the recipe of the woman who sold homemade English Muffins at the Lake Bluff Farmers Market. I use to make BLT’s on them every day in the summer. These are almost as good and I got 3 for 18 pesos.

This restaurant/bakery also has good thin-crust pizza and for 60 pesos you can pair it up with a Bohemia for lunch.

Stirling Dickinson, # 52
Favorite: Butter Cookies

It was not the beautiful Lebanese pita bread but the butter cookies that got my attention. Tastes a lot like the cookies my grandmother use to make. In fact, I had to eat 4 of them just to find that out.

It opens at 9:30 AM but go early. She is selling out of everything quickly.

Her lemon cake was also very light and really delicious.

You never know what you're going to find daily. Promise you it's always delicious.

El Maple
Salida a Celaya 43
Favorite: Bolillos

Best Bolillos in town. Other good soft breads and mini pizzas.

Chef Isabelle Ortega
San Miguel’s Saturday Organic Market
Favorite: Classic Quiche

I loved the taste of this quiche the first time I had it because the custard base is thicker than a quiche made any place else. Her fruit and dessert quiches are a treat as well.

Claudia's Bakery
Bakeries/restaurants around San Miguel
Cell: 415 1510146
Favorite: Lemon Meringue pie

Maybe it's the lack of lemons in San Miguel that I've been craving everything lemon. I was not a fan of Lemon Meringue pie until I tasted Claudia's.

Gluten free pies are also available at Via Organica, Calle Margarito Ledesma 2, Guadalupe.

Apple, Pear, Peach, Plum, Blueberry, Blackberry or Raspberry or savory pies of Chicken, Tuna Fish, Spinach and Goat Cheese or Tomato and Goat Cheese.