Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chasing Concha

Everytime I mention to my Argentinian friends that I just love Conchas, they get a big laugh out of it. In fact, they can't stop laughing when I say it: Concha. Concha. Concha.

Somehow, I don't think we're speaking the same language...

As I was seeking out the famous Chicken Rico, I stumbled upon a Mexican panaderia that someone had mentioned to me but that I had forgotten.

Never one to pass on eating concha, I had to stop in and see just what my money could buy.

Hermanos Navarro is an interesting place. It's a taco joint, a bakery and pastry shop all in one. Not only did they have the usual assortment of Mexican baked goods, their menu lists such classics as Enchiladas Suizas, Camarones Encebollados, Vuelve a la Vida, tacos al pastor, tacos cesina, milanesa de pollo torta, pozole, arroz con leche y rebanada de pastel tres leches. It's a veritable Mexican feast. And...ay chihuahua! They've got chilaquiles on the menu!

Looks like a more thorough investigation of their meal is in my near future.

But I'm here not for the chilaquiles - although I could be... I'm here for the concha and, dammit, I'll take a couple of those sprinkle cookies, two chocolate frosted donuts, a cream-filled donut, that fried round thing and that bread that looks like pan de muerto. Nine dollars and seventy-five cents later, I was out the door munching on a chocolate donut.

The chocolate donut is deep fried in an oil I'm not used to. It tastes strongly of the oil and I'm wondering just what kind of oil it is. I'm worried that I'm tasting the oil because it's too old, but I forge on to honor you, gentle reader. The chocolate is dark. Much darker than anything Dunkin Donuts is willing to put on their donuts, and it's good. That bittersweet chocolate does the trick. Plus it's flaky with a nice texture but it's falling on my shirt and I hate that.

Later, I find myself at Woodberry Kitchen (go figure) and bring one of the conchas to try. I avoid telling Mariano I've got a concha because he's one of the Argentinians that can't stop laughing at me. At least the Mexican contingent at Woodberry understands.

Readers of this blog know that I've been searching for a concha that rivals the ones I had in Mexico City. So far, it's been a tough dough to knead but digging into this one from Hermanos Navarro was like being in Mexico City all over again. Soft, tender, supple, lightly sweet, airy - just delicious. Perhaps just a hair short of Cafe Bondy, but damn good.

I think I've found my place for conchas.

Hermanos Navarro
3712 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224

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