La Monarca Bakery sells a variety of breads and pastries, salads, tortas and specialty coffees. Photos by Art Torres.
There is a new bakery on the block””one that offers unique coffee flavors and some pretty good eats. La Monarca Bakery recently celebrated the official grand opening of its seventh location at the Boyle Hotel Apartments in Boyle Heights.
Just as any predominantly Latino area, Boyle Heights does not lack the presence of bakeries. In this neighborhood, you can find a bakery on nearly every major corridor. While many people like to stick to what they know, others may be searching for a little change. With its one-of-kind of a kind approach, La Monarca may just have a leg up on the competition– or it may be the one thing that hurts it.
I stopped by the increasingly-popular bakery to find out. It was a cold night in Boyle Heights. It had just rained and I decided to grab a coffee to go. I choose a Café Oaxaca and it was perfect to drink from the cup. I always have to put something in my coffee to make it to my liking””but not this cup. The coffee, a blend of espresso, Mexican chocolate and steamed milk, had a rich and sweet chocolate flavor, but didn’t overpower the bold brew.
I paired my coffee with a chocolate concha (40 cents), which was very similar to those from the bakeries around the area. I love conchas, the soft, sweet nibbles atop its filling white bread are delightful. I also tried the elotito (80 cents), a denser, sugary bread shaped like an elote, of course. It was small; perfect for me since I tend not to eat some of the bigger breads that are usually sold.
I was also lucky enough to sample three of their cakes. The Mexican mocha cake was decadent and moist, not too rich or bland. The strawberry shortcake was full of strawberry flavor, yet light. And the strawberry cheesecake was delicious. I am pretty picky about cheesecakes and this one really hit the spot. It was creamy, flavorful and again, not heavy but just right (cakes, 3.99 per slice).
I didn’t have the chance to try any of the food, but I hear their tortas and open-faced sandwiches, called molletes, are something to go out of your way to try. La Monarca has a unique menu: chicken mole tortas, vegetarian chorizo tortas ($2.25) and molletes ($1.75). They also serve breakfast and lunch, with a variety of savory croissant squares, quiches and salads.
I walked in knowing that La Monarca was different, and I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it’s because I was a bit deceived by the “bakery” name, and it was more than that.
My favorite thing is how the traditional bread I grew up with was incorporated in the same menu as their signature items, something I had not seen anywhere else. The variety of drinks was also very surprising. At most local nearby bakeries, the only drink choices are regular coffee, atole or champurrado””staples of what this community embraces.
I will have to go back and see what the food buzz is all about. If you make it there and have something to suggest, feel free to leave me a comment and I will give it a shot.
ADDRESS: 101 N. BOYLE AVE
LOS ANGELES, CA 90033
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Mon-Thu 6:00am to 9:00pm
Sat-Sun 7:00am to 10:00pm