If you’ve never tried pan dulce (dull-chay), or Mexican sweet bread, and want to try this authentic Mexican staple, you must try La Gloria. Located on North Broadway, in a building easy to miss, it looks too small to host an actual bakery.
Walking into La Gloria, the senses are filled with the unmistakable smell of fresh-baked goods. I went there twice, and both times I saw tall baker’s racks sitting off to the side, filled with tray after tray of goodies.
I walked up to the racks, which held sheet pans still warm from the oven, and took in the aroma.
The first time I went, I noticed the jalapeno cheese bread ($1.50 each). These are maple-bar-sized individual loaves of bread with cheese and a few jalapenos inside. With a braided look, they are baked to a brown crust and sprinkled with a few sesame seeds.
I brought a few home and they were a hit. If you don’t get them hot from the bakery, heat them at home for just a minute or two — oh, man!
If you have ever been to a Mexican market, you have probably seen those puffy round loaves that look like a cross between bread and cake. The fact that they are often brightly colored yellow or pink makes you think cake, but the texture is like bread. The sweet flavor is unforgettable.
Once I pulled myself away from the racks, I went to each of the two huge display cases. One opened like the doors of a milk display case and had racks of the pan dulce, plus a dozen other Mexican pastries in all shapes: twists, bars, muffins, cookies, loaves and turnover triangles.
There are long tongs and trays available so you can make your selections, then carry them to the counter.
The counter is a glass case, chest high, that holds another inspiring display of treats. All of the cases are full and the choices are many; I think it is the variety and the bounty that dazzles.
In this second display case are several kinds of cookies ($.25 each for the small): cinnamon hearts, round almond cookies, sugar cookies with jelly, cookies with sprinkles, and then cookies the size of salad plates.
These large cookies were tri-colored triangle shapes and covered with powdered sugar. There were thick brown cookies shaped like pigs ($.85) and made with molasses (really good!). The prettiest cookies were the palmiers ($.75 each). These cookies of French origin are made with layers of puff pastry with sugar and baked till crisp. La Gloria’s are the size of your hand. If you say you are going to eat only one cookie, pick this one.
Don’t be dismayed by a possible language barrier and the authenticity of this Mexican bakery. I asked what flavor a cookie was and the gentleman behind the counter went into the back to fetch a young baker in who answered my question.
During both visits, I saw a La Gloria van being loaded with racks of goods. I did not ask but can imagine that they supply some of the Mexican markets with those familiar colorful breads.
For a freshly baked treat, come right to the bakery and get them from the source.
Panaderia La Gloria Bakery
2120 Broadway, Everett; 425-304-0848.
Specialty: Baked goods.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Plenty.