Thursday, January 15, 2009

Salvadorean Bakery

The Salvadorean Bakery

From pho to porn, Walgreens to Bartell's, there's not much you can get in White Center that you can't find more conveniently on the sketchier stretches of Aurora Avenue. With one mouth-watering exception: the Salvadorean Bakery. Somehow the collision of colonial and native traditions in the tiny Central American country of El Salvador resulted in a profusion of stellar cakes and pastries.

Housed in a misleadingly drab wood-panel store front, every nook of the Salvadorean Bakery is stacked with treats. An overwhelming array of baked goods peer out of an expanse of glass-fronted cases: wedding cakes, wedding cookies, jam cookies, rice-flour cookies, walnut-and-chocolate cookies, turnovers stuffed with exotic fruits, jalapeño rolls, flaky ear-shaped orejas, and borrachos, plump "drunken" cakes soaked in sweet rum and doused in cinnamon syrup.

Above, my paramour Maria Luisa de Leche ($2.25); I break my try-something-new-rule by buying a Maria Luisa on every visit to the Bakery. She's a plank of dense, rich Salvadorean egg custard, lightly glazed and dusted with cinnamon, resting on a sliver of meltaway crust of mixed white and rice flours.

The alfajor ($1.25) is a triple-decker treat, a "Short bread cookie filled with Dulce de Leche (caramel)." The cookies melt away like buttery snow, and the dulce de leche is pleasantly gummy. Sometime I'll try making my own, using this video recipe.

The quesadilla is "A muffin made of rice & wheat flour, Salvadorean cream & cheese, eggs, and butter. It's a very popular Salvadorean exclusive!!!" I opted for the mini version ($1.25), which was mildly sweet and very rich--like cornbread without the corn, or the casutera of my dreams.

If you want to cushion your system against impending sugar shock, the Bakery also sells savory food, including a full range of pupusas, grilled cornmeal hot pockets stuffed with your choice of meat, beans, cheese, etc., and served with curtido, vinegar-soaked cabbage, and spicy tomato sauce. Slide into a blue vinyl booth, belly up to the faux lapis table, and dig in!

Salvadorean Bakery
1719 SW Roxbury
White Center, WA 89106
Daily 8 am-9 pm.

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