WINNER: Mi Tierra Café & Bakery
218 Produce Row • (210) 225-1262
> Menudo is many things to many people — including both scary to the newbie and essential after an evening of hard drinkin'. This brick-red and brothy norteño stew is also good at any time, day or night, which makes always-open Mi Tierra the perfect place to either dispel demons or convert a non-believer into the personhood of honeycomb tripe and calf's foot. Add as many of the traditional condiments (chopped onion, chile, lemon wedges ... ) as the bowl will stand, roll up a tortilla (we'd take corn, but flour's fine, too), take a deep breath to appreciate the aroma, and have at it. This may not be a pretty bowl, so forget the 'gramming, but it's the essence of earthy and elemental.
There are perfectly justifiable reasons that Mi Tierra perennially wins best pan dulce: The selection is huge, the offerings are classic, the empanadas de camote are addictive and the inevitable line seems to move swiftly. First-timers should just let their eyes be their guide and order at least one of anything that appeals — including pan de huevo in all of its topping colors (nevermind that the taste doesn't change that much). Cuernos, the Mexican version of croissants, are a must, with or without sugar; semita de anis is delicately perfumed with the namesake seed; we can't resist the crumbly, shortbread polvorones; and, somehow, despite their tooth-aching potential, a few pecan pralines, wedges of candied pumpkin and even the tri-color banderilla de coco manage to make it into the bag. If you're lucky, some second-hand mariachi music will accompany the purchase totally gratis.
2. Tellez Tamales & Barbacoa
3. Las Palapas
2. La Popular Bakery
3. La Panaderia
8305 Broadway • (210) 375-6746