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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maria Luisa

So this is going to be third blog about food, but I really have to mention this bakery. It's called Pacita's Salvadorean Bakery. The Excelsior has no shortage of Salvadorian restaurants and bakeries but it's the first that I've tried and I wasn't disappointed. 
I bakery is on Persia street just off of Mission. Because the neighborhood is predominately residential there aren't too many businesses outside of Mission and Geneva. The fact that it's tucked off to the side confirms my suspicion that the places that are well hidden are usually the most surprising and addicting. I ignored the fact that I had to park about two blocks away to find a parking space to go to a place that I wasn't even sure would be worth the walk. Walking down the street I noticed a barbershop at the corner and a papuseria right next door to the bakery. The fact that the bakery was this close to a papuseria earned the business major brownie points for me. 
I walked in and the place was sort of cramped. I could have walked the length of the entire store in no more than five steps. The owner was behind the counter and she was shuffling around behind the counter as if she were an Olympic ice skater. "Hi" she said to me and smiled a very warm smile that already made me feel at home. "I just mopped back here. I'm trying to dry the floor," she said next. I must have had an inquisitive look on my face that I was unaware of by the sudden offering of this information. I looked at all of the goods in the glass container. Sprinkles and chocolate and frosting, oh my! I was stumped when she asked me what I wanted. It was like my brain caved under the pressure of being in a new place and being around the sweet smell of butter and sugar that hit me before I even walked inside. So naturally I did the only thing I knew would yield some results I asked:
"What's your favorite?"
"Um...My favorites are the cookies here," she said while she pointed to the little round mounds of dough that were filled with different fruit. After overcoming the decision of which fruit-filled cookie to take (guava, apple and strawberry) I moved onto the little cakes that had the a small layer of pink covering them. 
"What are these?" I asked her. She went on to explain that they were Maria Luisa's and they are a small cakes with a layer of custard in between the layers. I know nothing about custard but something that cute couldn't be that bad I reasoned and I asked for half a dozen. When I asked how they got the name she admitted she wasn't sure but she said, "I think the cook was in love with someone named Maria Luisa. Men always name things after a woman," she said. This begged the question: Why do men always name their objects after women? I'm sure Freud would have a field day with this question, but it is beside the point. I just want to put it out there. Back to the important topic at hand: pastries. I left the bakery with two large pink boxes of culinary promise. And I have to say that the guava cookies deserve much of the hype surrounding the taste. 

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