>> La Monarca Bakery | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday, 20 April 2020

La Monarca Bakery

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(NUEVO LEÓN)

[COVID-19 UPDATE: You can pre-order on La Monarca's website for pickup, or they are available for delivery through Postmates.]

Sure, La Monarca might seem a little flashier than your usual corner panaderia, but the processes are still the same. Pick up a big round metal tray, a pair of tongs, and go to work on the cases full of pan dulce and savory baked goods. Everything has been baked at each of the 12 locations and always looks just as fresh as you would demand.

Often times you will hear fans of La Monarca compare and contrast it to Starbucks, which has 12 million locations in Los Angeles. In some respects this does make sense, but in all honesty it is far too flattering for Starbucks, starting with the simple cup of coffee (which is from Oaxaca and organic) and going all the way through to the general friendliness of almost everyone here.


While picking pan dulce like the guayaba cuerno ($1.35, above) off the shelves, it is hard not to feel somewhat competitive with other customers, who are using every square inch of their tray and piling breads up high, especially at one of the nine Eastside locations. You might have more of a chance at this game at one of two Hollywood spots or in Santa Monica.

Only open since 2006 but already part of the fabric of the city, La Monarca Bakery has that common origin story of an owner who could not find what he or she wanted from back home and decided to do it better. In this case it was pan dulce, and judging by the crowds even in neighborhoods with very good panaderias, there is room for everyone.


If you have ever done any traveling in the northern Mexican states that border Texas, or in Texas for that matter, you will have probably come across hojarascas (above), the ubiquitous sugar cookies made with cinnamon that are baked and beloved throughout the region. These are one of the items you can always find here at La Monarca, whose owners are originally from Monterrey in Nuevo León.

There may be no more pleasure than enjoying a few of these with a cup of single origin Oaxacan coffee that is the standard cup here at the bakery. Possibly even more popular is the café de olla (not shown), which has been brewed overnight with more cinnamon and plenty of sugar.


Wheat flour is used for baking these cookies, and as is the case in much of the north of the country, is also used for making delicious tortillas. Bags of these are available for takeout, but they can also be sampled by getting one of five available tacos. A taco de machaca ($2.85, above) is filled with a chipotle beef guisado and wrapped in the beautiful tortilla.

There are other flour tortillas around town that get more attention and win awards, but for the price point the consistency is really nice here and always satisfying.


The breakfast menu is available throughout the day, and of note are impressive molletes, open-faced sandwiches also with origins in northern México, served on a freshly baked canoe-shaped bolillo. The mollete tradicional ($3, above) looks simple but has the flavor of something much more complex. The beans are infused with chipotle and topped with jack cheese. The toasted bolillo underneath is just about perfect.

The biggest "mistake" you can possibly make here is coming in for a coffee and maybe one pan dulce. By the end of your stay, you will have returned to the register multiple times, eaten sweet and then savory breads and baked goods and moved onto to tacos and molletes and possibly back to sweets. While dining like this is unfortunately not possible at the moment, La Monarca is one of the places looked forward to the most to return and enjoy.



🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽
HUNTINGTON PARK Southeast Los Angeles

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