Best of 2001: Best Mexican Desserts

Panadería Nacionál
1701 National Avenue, Barrio Logan

Outside, you're near the Coronado bridge. Inside, you might just as well be in, say, San Salvador, Mazatlan, or Tijuana. It's a little dark. Behind old varnished wood and glass sliding doors sit piles of cakes -- pasteles. Emilio, grandson of Feliciano Moreno, who opened up here in 1962, says everything today is as it was 40 years ago. The postres (dessert treats), anyway. Traditional postres include barras -- bars of sweet bread flavored with egg and cinnamon and topped with thick layers of margarine and sugar -- and riels, turnovers stuffed with pineapple or apple. Called "rails" because rows of them look like railroad tracks. Or shocking-pink pastelitos, called polvorones because you press them and poof! They pulverize into red clouds.

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