Thursday, January 29, 2009

Porto's and Sarkis Make LA Magazine's Top Bakery List

Last month, Los Angeles Magazine named Glendale's Palate the best new restaurant in greater Los Angeles. This month, they've named L.A.'s top 20 bakeries, and two Glendale favorites are on the list:
Sarkis Pastry

Glendale's first Armenian pastry shop, which opened in 1983, sells baklava in every guise: bourma with glistening whole pistachios, shredded kataifi filled with walnuts, finger baklava rolled around ground cashews. The display cases span the Middle East with zulubia (squiggles of deep-fried dough) and yards of cookies; walnut-stuffed nazuk, macaroons, tahini. Less-mainstream specialties include a transporting ashet-sarayan, a layered bread pudding lined with the rosewater-scented pastry cream called ashta and smothered with crushed pistachios, and halawet el jibn, pinwheels of sweet cheese and ashta drizzled with syrup.

1111. S Glendale Ave, Glendale, 818-956-6636

Porto's Bakery

Guava has yet to make inroads in American cuisine (although the trees grow well in L.A.), but its jam is elemental in Latin American pastries. Porto's, the 38-year old family owned Cuban restaurant and bakery, showcases the fruit in crescent-shaped empanadas, sugar sprinkled turnovers, and high touted pies. The postres deserve all the message board praise they receive, but they aren't the only sirens here. We're suckers for the elephant ears, their myriad layers pressed into a sweet, crunchy substantiveness, and for the luminous coquitos en almibar - Ping-Pong balls of coconut paste encased in a golden candied shell. The shortbread kisses, filled with dulce de leche, melt on impact.

315 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, 818-956-5996
My new favorite item at Porto's is the apple strudel. It concentrates all that is good and pure about every slice of homemade apple pie you've ever eaten into four transcendent, buttery bites.

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