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Pancho’s Bakery

Posted on March 21, 2012 by in Kensington Market

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3 Stars

- I heart churros.  At least that’s what the button said that was given to me by the man behind the counter at Pancho’s Bakery.  After noticing the small collection I have attached to both my bag and jacket, he was quick to give me a new addition.  I was hesitant to let it join the ranks, after all “I heart” anything is a pretty bold statement, and to be honest, as of that moment, I had never had a mind-blowing churro experience, or at least one that would have me declaring such strong feelings for them.  The only time I ever ate a churro was at an establishment once promoted by a talking Chihuahua, so you can understand my hesitation.  I pocketed the button, as its fate would be determined later.

Pancho’s Bakery makes up a portion of what is titled the Latin American Food Court in Kensington Market.  The tiny little storefront on Augusta Avenue is deceiving, as it houses more businesses than I would have guessed.  Assuming it was only Pancho’s in the building, I was surprised (and excited) to see a stall selling tacos, another dealing in empanadas, and the infamous pop-up Agave y Aguacate.  Pancho’s itself occupies the space right up front, across from the Korean dumpling stand… I’m not sure exactly how they fit in.  Apparently the Latin American Food Court doesn’t discriminate, and why should they?  Dumplings are tasty, and well, I’m sure another vendor only helps pay the rent.

It was around twelve o’clock on a Friday when my friend and I decided to check out Pancho’s. Neither of us had eaten, but we couldn’t quite justify having churros for lunch. We are of the mindset however, that believes dinner shouldn’t be the only meal followed by dessert, so our afternoon repast that day would have a churro chaser.

Full of carnitas tacos, and kimchi empanadas (Korean dumpling cart influence!), but not too full to pass up deep-fried dough, we made our way back to Pancho’s.  I was promptly questioned as to the whereabouts of my button but I quickly placed my order as a distraction.

The churros at Pancho’s are piped out in the front window, and brought to life for all to see, before quickly being led to their delicious demise in the deep fryer.  They are served hot, either plain or filled with your choice of chocolate, dulce de leche or strawberry syrup.  We ordered four, one of each flavour, and a plain.  At my servers recommendation I also grabbed some bread pudding and traditional Mexican concha bread.  As we had lost our seats (there aren’t many to begin with) and the sun was shining, we took our treats to go.

We started with the chocolate, moved on to the dulce de leche, followed by the strawberry, and thus ended anticlimactically with the plain. They were crispy and sugar-coated on the outside, while soft and (with the exception of the plain) accompanied with a burst of sweetness from within. Churro rookies be warned… a churro is a like a deep-fried dough straw.  Any filling that goes in the top, will ultimately come out the bottom.  We left a sticky trail through the streets of Kensington that led back to Pancho’s.  If Hansel and Gretel only knew about these, they would have rethought the breadcrumb idea.

Later at home, I popped the bread pudding and concha into the oven.  Concha is a sweet bread that resembles a clam shell, hence the name.  It tasted a little of brown sugar, but overall it was bland.  I think the idea however is to serve it alongside a cup of café con leche or hot chocolate and get to dunking.  I could see this working in its favour.

The bread pudding however (traditionally served around this time of year to be eaten for Lent) was delicious.  Dense, but very moist, and just sweet enough, my girlfriend went nuts over it. Apparently she doesn’t have a problem with dessert after other meals either – and this time it was breakfast.

Now I’m not a fan of donuts, and the churro is essentially the donuts Spanish cousin, but I would take a Pancho’s churro over a donut any day, and these are what I will return for.  As it turns out, I really do “heart” churros after all.  Now where did I put that button?

- Rebecca

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