Tag Archives: Puerquitos

La Monarca: Pan dulce meets coffee in LA

One of the main things we miss since we move away from Chicago was its proliferation of amazing Mexican pandarias and their huge assortment of pan dulce – Mexican sweet breads and cookies. When we went to LA we knew we would be able to get our fix. One of our friends tipped us off to a place in particular – La Monarca, which is an upscale pan dulce (traditional Mexican sweet breads and pastries) shop with espresso drinks and light bites.  La Monarca is a small but flourishing chain of cafes with about a dozen locations in the LA Metro area – think Mexican-tinged Starbucks, but with better everything. We visited the Santa Monica location (1300 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403). The cafe was bright and airy, and was filled with a combination of people on their laptops, students and patrons grabbing a quick coffee and pastry before work.

Once you enter, on the left is the traditional case of pan dulce – you grab a tray and a set of tongs and load up the tray with whatever you want. Of course there are conchas, orejas (palmiers) and puerquitos, but also a few more unusual options like cuernitos (croissants) filled with dulce de leche, chocolate, cream cheese or guava and dulce de leche bread pudding. You can also go a bit more savory with bollilo bread rolls, baguettes or cornbread. We selected a mini cinnamon sugar concha, a puerquito and a a dulce de leche croissant, which had been particularly recommended to us. Of course we had our eye on the drink menu, which boasted single-origin Oaxacan coffee alongside cafe de olla (hot or cold coffee brewed with brown sugar and cinnamon), Mexican hot chocolate and champurrado (a sweetened chocolate elote drink). We get champurrado whenever we can find it, so we were extremely excited!

The refrigerated case is also full of other tempting looking cakes including tres leches, flan, dulce de leche and tiramisu. For heartier appetites they have salads,  quiches, molletes (open faced sandwiches), and breakfast tacos, all with a Mexican twist including options with chorizo, huevos rancheros, chicken mole and salsa verde. We snagged an extra yogurt parfait for some protein. Everything at La Monarca was delicious (if a little pricey), and we enjoyed their modern twist on the traditional Mexican panaderia. We could definitely see ourselves becoming regulars if we lived closer!

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Marranitos/Puerquitos for Dia de los Muertos

Marranitos made by the Muy Bueno Cookbook Blog

Dia de los Muertos is less than two weeks away – so it’s time to start gathering some recipes to celebrate. We’ve previously featured sugar skulls, but for those looking for a different sort of treat for the Day of the Dead might want to try these delicious gingerbread pigs called, alternatively, marranitos, cochinitos, or puerquitos (all variations on “little pig”). These little pig cookies are made with a generous helping of molasses and unrefined cane sugar, piloncillo, giving them a rich gingerbread-y flavor. The marranitos above were made by the Muy Bueno cookbook blog, which provides a recipe as well as a lovely photoshoot and accompanying story. Marranitos are cut using a special pig-shaped cookie cutter, and as you might be able to tell, they are quite a bit larger than the typical cookie. Not strictly a “Dia de Los Muertos” food, marranitos are enjoyed year round and are especially good with coffee for a light breakfast. We found a large pig cookie cutter for sale on CopperGifts, and we definitely think we need to add some of these pig cookies to our repertoire.

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Filed under Holidays, World Eats