Feast on Modern Mexican Coffee and Pastries at La Monarca

Friday, October 14, 2016 | 3:50 am

National Coffee Day is right around the corner – September 29 – and falls right in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month. These two celebrations blend together at La Monarca Bakery in South Pasadena. This hybrid bakery-cafe is on the forefront of modern Mexican cuisine and offers a palate-pleasing array of traditional sweets, drinks and savory items.

La Monarca is a healthier version of a Mexican panaderia which focuses on pan dulce and contemporary sweets. Owners, Ricardo Cervantes and Alfredo Livas, started La Monarca to bring the flavors of Mexico to Los Angele while keeping health in mind. Their recipes are all scratch-made and free of lard and preservatives – they even include some vegetarian options on their savory menu including tortas and molletes.

“They showcase the pastries they remember from their childhood to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access,” said Natalie Woyshner, who heads marketing for La Monarca Bakery.

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La Monarca is part of the growing trend to embrace and promote creative Mexican-influenced cooking in Los Angeles, explained Woyshner. Mexican cuisine and flavors have become more prominent from street food style vendors to regional cuisine restaurants specializing in Oaxacan or Yucatan dishes to fine dining and spirits like tequila and mezcal.

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The bakery has iconic pastries like conchas, empanadas dulces and Mexican wedding cookies as well as specialty coffee drinks. The focus on flavors like cinnamon, dulce de leche and guava in both their pastries and drinks. Recently, they reinvented their concha selection with the Cinnamon Concha, Wedding Cookie Concha, Butter Walnut Concha and Agave Raisin Concha. These shell-shaped pieces of pan dulce have a crumbly cookie crust and traditionally come in vanilla and chocolate.

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In addition to the myriad of sweets, La Monarca has a noteworthy beverage program. Their coffee is made from organic, Oaxacan beans and is available by the bag. Their signature Cold Brewed Cafe de Olla is made by soaking beans overnight with cinnamon and brown sugar to produce a less acidic, slightly sweet brew – you get the dark, fruity coffee without the bite.

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Their Cafe Oaxaca is another standout beverage and a testament to La Monarca’s commitment to detail. This drink combines cocoa nibs with steamed milk, cinnamon and a topping of whipped cream. This combination of flavorful Mexican hot chocolate and coffee is made even better by the fact that La Monarca sources and roasts their own organic cocoa nibs to achieve the perfect to coffee to cocoa ratio.

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La Monarca is located at 1001 Mission Street, South Pasadena. Call (626) 403-6860 or visit http://www.lamonarcabakery.com.

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