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La Concha

La Concha Bakery & DeliIn a word: The meals can be great or average but the bakery really shines.

The specs: #0315
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, WiSJ, Ruppert Food Blog and again, gastropacalypse, TDPF; Table Talk with el Jefe, La Concha Bakery on Urbanspoon

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JM ate three tacos de carne asada.
John ate the torta milanesa de pollo with an horchata.
Nichole ate the eggs a la Mexicana with an horchata.
Nichole and JM also got a chocolate chip cookie, a cream-filled flaky pastry, and a pumpkin empanada.
The bill was $25, or $8.33/person.
John gave La Concha an A; JM and Nichole gave La Concha a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Horchata and cookie"Bustling" is a great word to describe La Concha. At least, that's how we found it this evening. The big draw were the mounds of fresh pan dulce and cases and cases of baked goods that lined the walls. To the uninitiated (us included) it's a little intimidating, but once you get the protocol (1. grab a tray and tongs 2. load yer tray 3. pay at the counter) it's awesome. The bakery items were about $1 each, and included gorgeous cookies like this one.

"Eggs a la Mexicana"We did things in reverse this visit - bought dessert first, and Nichole, for her entree, opted for a breakfast item, the "eggs a la Mexicana." It was a simple scramble of eggs, tomatoes, onions and plenty of jalapeños that made for a great combination of flavors, especially with some tomatillo salsa splatted on top. The beans with queso fresco were likewise well prepared and had a nice stand-up consistency.

Torta con pollo milanesaJohn's torta con pollo milanesa was a HUGE breaded chicken sandwich that has become his regular order at Mexican bakery-delis. The ingredients, from meat to veg, were well-balanced. Both John and Nichole tried the horchata, which had a delicious nutmeg note and was thicker than usual.

While we yummed it up at the time, we both had a little gastric distress later in the evening - nothing too disruptive, just a heavy, starchy feeling in the gut. We're pretty sure it was the horchata, since - in a highly controlled set of variables, for once - we both had dinner leftovers for lunch to no ill effect.

Steak tacos

JM's steak tacos were "cilanterrific." Which is a minus. Also not so great was the tepid, verging on actually warm, glass of water and a lack of beverage choices. On the upside, the tacos themselves (underneath the greenery) were very tasty and the meal was a great size for the price.

Nichole also nibbled a pumpkin-filled empanada, the dough of which resembled nothing so much as a teething biscuit. The filling was like underspiced pumpkin pie. The cookie pictured above was also quite good and a little chewy, which is a good thing.  Of course with that many chocolate studs, it's hard to resist. Furthermore, the flaky layer pastry Nichole indulged in next day's breakfast was better than the cream puffs at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Our poor Spanish-reading and -speaking skills led to a little bit of confusion - nothing worse than Nichole accidentally getting a piece of cream cake plated when she was trying to buy a cup of yellow Jell-o (which she thought was lemonade) - but in the end it was all good. It's important to stretch yourself once in a while. If you can do it without leaving home, so much the better.

Comments

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Better than State Fair cream puffs? Them's fightin' words! ;)

I stand by 'em - at least until August. This pastry was so flaky, so light, so good. The cream might be the weaker of the 2 parts.

"nothing worse than Nichole accidentally getting a piece of cream cake plated when she was trying to buy a cup of yellow Jell-o (which she thought was lemonade)" ---- haha that's brilliant! i've always wanted to try this place. i'll have to swing by soon.

I was in there just yesterday. It is an eye-popping spectacle! I have never seen so much freshly baked stuff and they were still rolling out cart after cart.

Fortunately, I don't find Mexican bake goods all that tasty. This stuff is very beautiful and BIG!

Definitely worth a visit just for ethnic bakery edification. Bring your kid who is studying Spanish. No English anywhere.

I love Mexican baked goods and I love this place. They aren't as sweet as american baked goods, but I like it anyhow. Some of the custard filled pastries are amazing. The sandwich I had was pretty good too.

However if you go, do not miss the tres leche cake. Out of this world.

Holy crow is that place awesome! Prompted by this review, I stopped in tonight. Being 7:30 at night, the bakery cases were empty, but there was still a respectable selection left on a huge table in the middle of the place. I got a bunch of pastries that reminded me of when I used to visit my aunt as a child (she lives in a heavily Dominican area of the South Bronx). I also got a torta cubana, which was to die for - the thing weighed over two pounds (which I know because it was just so heavy I couldn't resist weighing it when I got home). The husband said he can foresee many more tortas cubanas. I'll have to brush up on my Spanish.

Yup, finally made a date with me and the torta cubana for lunch today (no library patrons = go elbow deep in a notoriously messy sandwich at your desk).

It's incredible, although I think I could do without the hot dog-esque sausage component.

FYI, there is a significant lunch rush, and an even more significant 4:30 sweets rush. Wait until 7:30 (kat) or even earlier, and you're likely to face some empty shelves.

The in-house printed menus are in English, albeit with some charming malapropisms ("flower tortilla").

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